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Close Grip Dumbbell Bench Press

Close grip dumbbell bench press

Getting bored of the same exercises you do on your push day? Try this out! The Close Grip Dumbbell Bench Press is an exercise that will burn out multiple muscles, including the chest, shoulders, and triceps. This version of the bench press has a grip closer to the shoulder than the standard bench press. It is also an excellent mass builder for the arms and core. So grab a pair of dumbbells and a bench to lie down on and lets begin.

Related Reading: Decline Bench Press Alternative and Leg Press Foot Placement

Muscles worked While Performing the Close Grip Dumbbell Bench Press.

The exercise uses three primary muscles when which including the pectoralis (Chest) , anterior deltoid (Shoulder) and the triceps.

  • Because of the narrow grip, this exercise focuses more on the triceps muscles. It’s actually the primary focus during this exercise leaving the chest and shoulder as secondary muscles.
  • Chest muscles are also worked during this exercise with a bit more engagement on the inner pecs.
  • The anterior deltoid (shoulder muscle) is also involved during this exercise and if you want more engagement of this, do this exercise on an incline angle.

This exercise mainly focuses on the triceps and is an amazing exercise if you want to increase strength and build your triceps brachii. However because it also involves your chest and shoulders to a great degree, this exercise goes straight into my workout routine.

How to Perform the Close Grip Dumbbell Bench Press?

With all this, how do you actually do this exercise?

  1. Lie down on a bench, with your back against the surface and your legs together.
  2.  Hold two dumbbells with your palms facing each other, then press the weights together close to your chest. Lower the weights down to your chest and fully extend your arms.
  3. Pause briefly and press the weights back up to the starting position.
  4. Proceed to the next repetition while following the same procedure as above.

Benefits of the Exercise With Close Grip Dumbbell Bench Press

There are many benefits of this exercise and its not just increase in muscle strength, although that is a huge benefit. Let’s explore some of the key reasons why you should do this exercise.

Builds Strong Triceps

This is an excellent exercise for developing strong triceps. The main difference between the standard dumbbell press or the bench press is the narrow grip. Try it out when you go for your next gym session. What will notice? You will notice that there is a greater degree of tension on your triceps when doing the close grip dumbbell bench press. It will maximize muscle development of your triceps and provide a greater definition.


Don’t you get bored doing the same exercises every time? In fact, this is the primary reason why people lose motivation. The lack of variety! So make a list of exercises that target the chest and triceps for your push day and keep changing which exercises you do.

Reduces Stress on the Shoulders

The close grip dumbbell bench press effectively reduces stress on your shoulders while still getting an excellent chest and triceps workout. Unlike the barbell or dumbbell bench press, positioning your arms next to your sides while using a lower weight significantly releases stress on your shoulders. So if you are if you have an shoulder injury or you get shoulder pain while doing bench press, try this variation of the close grip dumbbell bench press.

More Upper Chest Activation

It is common to grip the barbell with your hands shoulder-width apart when bench pressing. This positioning will activate the chest muscles, triceps, and front deltoid muscles. Moving the hands closer together (a close grip) increases the activation of the upper chest muscles. You can do it with a barbell or dumbbells. The close grip bench press is an effective way to target the upper chest muscles.

When performing this exercise, you will want to keep your hands close together and your elbows tucked in. It will help increase the activation of the upper chest muscles. The close grip bench press is an excellent way to build size and definition in the upper chest muscles and improve bench press strength. Give this exercise a try and see how it works for you.

Some Alternatives and Variations

The close grip dumbbell press is a highly effective exercise for developing the upper chest and triceps muscles. However, it can be difficult for some people to perform because of the shoulder angle. Here are a few alternatives and variations of the close grip dumbbell bench press that can be useful to target these same muscles.

  1. The first alternative is to use a barbell instead of dumbbells! A barbell will allow you to lift more weight and challenge your muscles differently.
  2. Another alternative is to do incline-close grip bench presses. This variation will place more emphasis on your upper pectoral muscles. You can also decline close grip bench presses to target your lower chest muscles.
  3. If you wish to make the exercise more difficult, you can try adding weight by using a weighted vest or chains. You can also increase the range of motion by doing pushups in a decline or incline position.
  4. It is also possible to try performing explosive reps or plyometric pushups as an alternative to the Close Grip Dumbbell Bench Press.

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Shalin Anam

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