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In the quest to develop a grand upper body, it’s good to incorporate compound exercises that target numerous muscles simultaneously. A compound exercise that targets the triceps and the chest, and secondarily the shoulders, is the close grip press or tricep bench press.

Below we’ll look deeper into close grip presses and we’ll cover the following:

  • Muscles involved in close grip presses
  • Benefits associated with close grip presses
  • How to do cable the close grip press properly
  • Common mistakes when performing close grip presses
  • Video on how to do close grip presses
  • Exercises to complete your tricep and chest workout

What Muscles Do Close Grip Dumbbell Presses Work?

Primary Muscles:

  • Triceps Brachii: The name triceps is due to the fact that these muscles are composed of three muscle strands (the long, medial, and lateral heads). It specifically targets the long head of the tricep. The triceps are involved in forearm and elbow extension, helping extend or straighten the elbow. They are also involved in shoulder adduction and extension, helping pull the arms down. Additionally, the triceps help to stabilize the shoulder joint. Close grip presses target all three heads of the muscle, especially the long head.
  • Chest Muscles: These are the pectorals, which are divided into the pectoralis major and pectoralis minor. The pectoralis major is the larger one, a fan-shaped muscle comprising most of the chest wall. It keeps your arms attached to your body and is involved in adduction and internal rotation of the arm on the shoulder joint, as well as flapping, pressing, and lifting movements. The pectoralis minor is smaller and flatter. This one lies underneath the pectoralis major and is involved in shoulder functioning.

Secondary Muscles:

  • Deltoids: These are the main shoulder muscles. The anterior deltoid flexes and medially rotates the arm, the lateral deltoid abducts the arm, and the posterior deltoid extends and laterally rotates the arm. The anterior deltoids are very active in close-grip dumbbell presses and much more in an incline position.
  • Rotator Cuff: A group of muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint (supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis) and are responsible for stabilizing your shoulder joint.

Benefits of Close Grip Presses

After knowing what muscles are involved in close grip presses, it’s time to look at the numerous advantages associated with the exercise:

  • Aesthetics: Close grip presses work your chest, triceps, and shoulders, helping sculpt a great-looking upper body.
  • Hypertrophy: They help you increase muscle mass in the triceps, chest, and shoulder areas.
  • Efficiency: Since this is a compound exercise, it trains several muscles simultaneously, making close grip presses highly efficient.
  • Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Health: Close grip presses, like other resistance training exercises, improve lung capacity and airway flow while working on your heart and circulation.
  • Strength: Performing close grip presses strengthens your tris, chest, and deltoids, amplifying your ability to lift heavier weights during other exercises. As your triceps get stronger, you can lift more, and your chest gets stronger. Plus, the triceps get the chance to move a lot of weight here since they are assisted by powerful pectoral muscles.
  • Fat Loss: Performing this compound movement allows you to burn more fat than when doing isolation exercises since you recruit multiple muscle groups at the same time.
  • No Machines Necessary: You don’t need access to a gym or tons of equipment. All you need is a dumbbell and a bench. But a bench is not mandatory, you can use a stepper, a stability ball, or just a mat on the floor.

How to do Close Grip Dumbbell Press:

  • Lie down on a bench or a mat. If you are using a small stepper (as I’m doing on the video) or stability ball, plant your feet on the floor and rest your back, neck, and head fully supported while keeping your hips stable.
  • Grab a pair of dumbbells with a neutral grip – palms facing in – and rest them by your chest area.
  • Tight up your abs and pull your shoulders down and back.
  • As you exhale, tuck your upper arms into your sides, press the dumbbells together, and push the weights up and over your chest until your arms are straight. Don’t lock the elbows at the top.
  • Hold for a second or two as you keep the tension on your pecs by continuing to press the weights together.
  • As you inhale, slowly lower the dumbbells to your chest.
  • Repeat these movements 8-12 times for three sets.

Close Grip Dumbbell Presses Mistakes

  • Not keeping the dumbbells pressed together: Keep the dumbbells together for the entire duration of your set so you can feel the benefits in your triceps and chest.
  • Moving the weight unevenly: If one side of your body is stronger than the other, you may see one arm extending further over your chest or bringing the weight up faster than the other. So, you should be mindful of this and aim to move both arms simultaneously.
  • Bouncing the weights off your chest: This can happen when you are trying to push very heavy weights up with momentum. This can injure your sternum and decrease the engagement of the muscles that you are trying to target. Close grip presses should be performed in a slow controlled manner. This ensures correct form and the activation of the appropriate muscles.

Close Grip Dumbbell Press Video

Close Grip Dumbbell Presses

Tricep and Chest Workout

You can complete your tricep and chest workout by performing the following exercises:

As you can see the close grip dumbbell press is a wonderful tricep and chest exercise. It offers tremendous benefits associated with hypertrophy, strength, endurance, and aesthetics. Now that you know how to properly perform close grip presses, you can avoid the most common mistakes and enjoy their benefits. Remember, whether you want to lose weight, tone your body, or gain strength or size, all muscles must be trained.

Lift, Burn more Fat, Get Stronger, and Live Healthier!

To a Fitter Healthier You,

Adriana Albritton

The Fitness Wellness Mentor

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