How to Do Close-Grip Bench Press: Muscles Worked & Proper Form

Close-grip bench press

Muscles Worked in the Close-Grip Bench Press

Muscles worked in close grip bench press exercise

Primary muscles worked:

Secondary muscles worked:

How to Close-Grip Bench Press

  1. Lie on the bench, pull your shoulder blades together and down, and slightly arch your back.
  2. Grip the bar narrower than in a regular bench press so that your hands are directly above your shoulders or even closer.
  3. Take a breath and hold it, and unrack the bar.
  4. Lower the bar with control until it touches your chest somewhere where the ribs end.
  5. Push the bar up to the starting position while exhaling.
  6. Take another breath in the top position, and repeat for reps.


The close-grip bench press is a variant of the bench press where you transfer more of the work to the triceps, and away from the chest and front deltoid. This means that most people will have to use less weight in the close-grip bench press than in the regular bench press.

Many use the close-grip bench press as an assistance lift for the bench press in order to strengthen their triceps. For certain shoulder issues, the close-grip bench press might serve as a viable substitute for regular bench presses.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Close-Grip Bench Press

How Narrow Should You Grip the Bar?

It depends on your anatomy and the purpose behind why you’re doing the exercise. Most people find it comfortable to grip the bar somewhere around shoulder-width apart, or slightly wider.

Does Close-Grip Bench Press Work the Triceps?

Yes, the close-grip bench press emphasizes your triceps muscles more than the regular bench press. It primarily trains the lateral head of your triceps. In order to build all three heads of your triceps, you should probably add a triceps extension exercise.

You can read more about this in our article Does the Bench Press Work Your Triceps? and also in our triceps training guide.

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