The narrow grip bench press is the proper exercise if you’re looking to build your triceps. This workout is a variant of bench press and is effective for beginners and weight enthusiasts looking to work their triceps and delts.
The narrow grip bench press or close-grip bench press is a compound exercise that targets your upper body. It strengthens and builds your triceps and also works on the chest.
The difference between this exercise and the traditional bench press is that the narrow bench press uses a closer grip.
You will need a bench and barbells to perform this exercise.
HOW TO DO NARROW GRIP BENCH PRESS PROPERLY
- If you’re using the rack, position the barbell in the right level where you can reach it. Also, load the barbell with the correct weight, depending on your fitness level.
- Position the bench and lie down on it, facing up with your feet flat on the floor. Push your shoulders back and down. Also, maintain your head in a neutral position with your chin tucked. You can also lift your chest and lat slightly for a more composed posture.
- Hold the bar with a narrower grip (shoulder-width) and push the bar straight up. Don’t forget to engage your core.
- Inhale, and with your wrists straight, bring the barbell slowly down to the bottom of your chest. Your elbows should slightly break 90 degrees (To ensure that you don’t tuck your elbows too much).
- Exhale and push the bar straight up. That represents one rep. You can do five reps, but this also depends on your fitness level.
WHAT MUSCLES DO NARROW GRIP BENCH PRESS WORK?
The narrow grip bench press primarily targets the triceps. The secondary muscles worked are the upper chest and the fronts of the shoulders (front delts).
The triceps is the large muscle found at the back of your arm. It’s primarily responsible for extending your arm and helping prevent the humerus’s displacement.
You increase shoulder strength and stability when you work these muscles. It also helps increase the arm’s functionality, power, and endurance.
The clavicular head (upper pec) and sterna head (lower pec) form the pectoralis major, the main upper chest muscle. The chest muscles help stretch your arms, moving them up and down, and other movements such as flexion, adduction, and rotation.
Exercising the chest gives you strong pecs, which helps stabilize your shoulder joints.
In addition, this exercise will provide you with a good posture, strengthen and lengthen your chest muscles to improve breathing.
A narrow grip bench press helps build a strong chest and gives you an aesthetic physique.
The front delts are the muscles located at the front of your shoulders and connect to the clavicle. They are responsible for moving your arms forward, like when reaching something on a shelf.
Besides giving you an aesthetic appearance, strong front delts help prevent injuries to the shoulders, provide stability to shoulder joints, and improve your posture. In addition, a narrow grip bench press promotes healthy hand movements.
NARROW GRIP BENCH PRESS BENEFITS
Including the narrow grip bench press in your exercises benefits your shoulders, triceps, and chest significantly.
1. ENCOURAGE MUSCULAR HYPERTROPHY
Weight lifting is one of the best ways to increase muscle strength and muscular size. In addition, a narrow grip bench press helps tone and enhances muscle definition, especially on the triceps.
Muscular hypertrophy enhances muscular strength and endurance, resulting in high performance during exercises and sports.
Also, if you’re working towards improving your appearance, having additional muscle improves your upper body looks, which boosts your confidence levels.
2. BUILD STRONG MUSCLES
The narrow grip bench press is a lighter form of the bench press exercise that helps increase muscle strength and endurance. This is an excellent exercise for preparing your upper body for more advanced heavy lifting activities if you’re a beginner.
This exercise also keeps your shoulders, arms, and chest strong for your daily pressing, pulling, and any other activities involving arm extension and rotation.
3. PREVENTION OF INJURIES
This workout has shown to be effective for reducing shoulder strains, especially the ones experienced when doing bench press exercises.
In addition, research shows that a wider grip during bench presses has a high risk of shoulder injuries, and reducing the grip width minimizes this risk.
4. IMPROVES LOCKOUT STRENGTH
When doing this exercise, it’s good not to lock out your elbows. This helps in maximizing your range of motion.
Also, when weightlifting, there’s the last part where all parts involved should be fully extended, known as a lockout. The narrow grip bench press helps increase the lockout strength.
Lockout strength improves shoulder health by reducing the risk of injury and aiding in recovery. Having a strong lockout also helps to break the bench press plateau.
ALTERNATIVE TO NARROW GRIP BENCH PRESS
If you’re looking to diversify from the narrow grip bench press or you’re not able to do the exercise for some reason, here are some excellent alternatives.
CLOSE GRIP DUMBBELL PRESS
This exercise is a variation of the dumbbell bench press. It activates chest muscles, Anterior deltoids, rotator, and the triceps.
- Lie back flat on the bench, feet firmly positioned on the floor and the dumbbell close to your chest.
- Lock the dumbbell together and push them straight up.
- Lower the dumbbells back to your chest
A burpee is a strength training exercise that works your entire body. Since burpee is a full-body exercise, it works almost all muscles in your body, including shoulders, chest, and triceps.3
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Lower into a squat position with your back straight.
- Lower your hands to the floor, just in front of your feet, and shift your weight to your hands.
- Push your feet back to land on your toes and be in a push-up position.
- Alight your bodies from your head to heels then do one push-up.
- Jump and bring back your hands to your hands. Stand up while reaching over the head.
- Jump quickly and lower yourself to the starting position (Squat).
NARROW GRIP BENCH PRESS MISTAKES TO AVOID
THE WRONG GRIP ON THE BAR
This is a common problem with beginners. The correct grip on the bar is key to an effective narrow grip bench exercise. Avoid gripping the bar with hands too close, which can cause wrist pain.
It’s always good to change your grip position if you notice pain or discomfort that won’t go away even after several workouts.
Also, the right grip on the bar prevents the risk of dropping the bar and causing you injuries.
LIFTING YOUR HIPS FROM THE BENCH
Body posture is crucial even when doing this exercise. For example, a mistake people make is lifting their hips when pressing the bar. Instead of raising the hips, you can lift your chest and lats to get the correct posture.
Also, ensure that the weights are correct for your fitness level because lifting your hips may indicate that the weights are too heavy.
TUCKING THE ELBOWS TOO MUCH
Unlike in traditional bench press, you might find yourself tucking the elbows too much because of having the grip close. However, folding the elbows excessively may cause shoulder discomfort and pain.