How to do the close grip bench press for the triceps correctly. The Close Grip Bench is one of the multi-joint exercises used to stimulate the triceps muscle in the gym.
To date, attending an average fitness center, what is still unclear is when this grip should be tightened.
Very narrow, at a distance of two inches, shoulder width, the possibilities are varied and each one is associated with the most varied theories. Let’s try to make a little order.
A quick biomechanical analysis of the various possibilities of grips on the barbell present to date in the tool room will allow us to understand which is the best from all points of view, from muscle to joint benefit.
Correct Execution Of Close Grip Bench Press
Statistically observing the weight room with an external eye, the most frequently recommended execution involves a very tight grip as a magic trick to stimulate the triceps more whether you are performing a Close Grip Bench Press but also when you are struggling with the tight Push-Ups.
The general indication is to hold the barbell with your hands only two inches apart or, if you are doing Push-ups, with your hands placed on the ground in a ” diamond ” shape.
First of all, it is good to begin to understand why by tightening the grip there should be an intensification of the work on the triceps so as not to always take everything at face value and start laying the foundations for some important reflection.
Taking for granted how the classic flat bench has performed the plane of movement concerned and the muscles are involved, using a tight grip, we immediately notice two changes:
- As we tighten the grip, the range of movement shifts from transverse to sagittal and the movement performed becomes more of shoulder flexion and less of horizontal adduction;
- The tighter the step of the hands increases the flexion of the elbow in eccentricity and this increases the demands of work on the triceps in the act of extending the elbow.
The result of this change, therefore, involves a reduction in the work on the sternocostal bundles of the pectoral and an increase in work on the triceps, which in practice translates into a drastic drop in the potentially liftable weight on the barbell.
How Tight Is This Grip?
Listening to the fanatics of “diamond” bendings it would seem very tight, essentially with hands almost in contact one above the other.
Let’s analyze well what happens with such a tight grip, first of all observing the implications from a muscular point of view.
Excessive tightening of the grip appears at first glance to be a ploy to increase the eccentric elbow flexion and thus increase the activity of the triceps.
However, a consequent factor should not be overlooked: in the act of bringing the barbell to the chest, at a certain point of the descent, if the grip is very tight, the forearms will come into contact with the torso and the elbows will “push” out.
This determines a change in the plane of movement of the humerus from sagittal to transverse with greater involvement of the pectoral, a consequence that goes in the opposite direction to those that are the real objectives of the exercise, i.e. greater stimulation of the triceps.
As if that weren’t enough, some doubts about tightening the grip too much arise even if we consider the point of view of joint health.
All with the thanks of the wrist for the cutting forces to which it responds promptly, but which it would like and could gladly do without.
Why Is It Important To Use A Flawless Bench Press Technique?
What is the ideal compromise to activate the triceps more while protecting the joints?
The answer can be found in the width of the grip that manages to correct both defects of the one previously analyzed.
Definitely a subjective width but which must precisely:
- Keep the elbow and wrist in axis and keep the forearm perpendicular to the ground while pushing the bar or your body;
- Prevent the elbows from “widening” during the descent to preserve the sagittal plane which decreases the intervention of the pectoral and simultaneously increases that of the triceps.
The width that allows all this is that of your bust. Before gripping the bar or placing your hands on the ground, check for yourself how wide the grip will be.
At Chest Press the problem does not arise, the vertical supports are already positioned and there are no alternatives in the width to be implemented: the latter will in any case be optimal and will not involve the problems I have described above.
Ultimately my advice is to abandon the “diamond” push-ups or the very tight grips on the barbell, so to speak those that are often recommended with the distance of two inches. As seen, more and better can be done to safely recruit triceps.