T Nation

Close Bench Compared to Normal Bench


I was trying to fit in some extra exercises at the end of one of my lactic acid training sessions. I sat down to hit a few on my chest since I could use an extra set or two a week. I was doing wide grip bench at 200lb and thought I would try close grip since I never do.

I totally sucked.

Maybe it was because I was tired by the end, perhaps my form. Hands were only about 8" apart from the center. I've started to do skull crushers and have done dips for quite a while...... so its not like its a new muscle group.

So that made me wonder. I've never done close grip and don't know how it compares to normal flat so I wanted to ask about it. Should my close grip be about the same at my flat bench? Or 80% of?


My close-grip is about 80% of my normal bench.


A close grip on a flat bench is going to hit your triceps more. Ergo you're not going to move as much weight as on a regular flat bench.


No offense folks, but I call bullshit. I bench more close grip (12-14 inches apart) than I do with my hands wider. I'd say about 120%.

Principle of specificity: Your body becomes good at what it does. If you train one way, you'll be good at that, and perhaps not so good at other things.


I trained close grip exclusively for a while,so it's till stronger than my wide grip bench.


Uh, 14 inches apart is not that close. I think around 6 inches is the norm for close-grip bench press.


14 sounds about right to me - that'd place your index fingers on the smooth part of the bar


Most pictures I see have hand placements closer than 14. The way I see it though, the closest you can place your hands without inducing wrist injuries is the best. It wouldn't seem to me like 8 inches would really hurt, but then again I haven't done close-grip presses.


A good rule of thumb for close grip bench would be to have your hands on the bar at about the exact width of your torso. It'd minimize unnecessary wrist strain and would insure your triceps would be the primary mover (if you kept your elbows in like you're supposed to).



I'd say if you can comfortably slide your elbows next to your lats on the up and down, you're close grip. Going closer than that can hurt your wrists, and as far as I can tell, will have no added benefit.


Wouldn't that principle also imply that if you neglect to do something, your body will become bad at that? I mean, are you sure that its fair to that your close grip is stronger when it may be more accurate or at least equally accurate to say the your bench has become weaker, relatively?

I would wager that most people who train wide grip and close grip bench presses equally will be able to bench more with a wider grip, not only because of the shorter bar path but because of the larger involvement of the pecs. I know that when I used Westside for about six months almost all of the bench press variations I used were with a close (14") to medium (pinky on rings) grip by my strongest grip was always wide (index finger on the rings). Then again I always sucked at benching either way.


Although it's possible, there are multiple considerations. First, there is more chance of a shoulder injury with wide grip. If you are getting heavy, this becomes more of a concern. Second, look at how powerlifters push. I think that if they thought they could put up bigger numbers using a wide grip, they'd do it. But I don't know of any that lift with a wide grip...

I usually do encorporate a wider press when I do dumbbells, so that I can keep my chest in the equation, but I began lifting close grip barbell press in April, and I must say that I now prefer it (I did wide grip for about 12 years).


So you've never done them, but feel the need to give completely baseless reccomendations based on some pictures you have seen.

There is no reason to go closer than 12"
on close grips. It doesn't help your tri's at all and could lead to wrist injury. If you're wider than normal, you may even have to get wider on these.

By the way, the incline version of these are great!


Index Finger on the smooth part would be a narrow grip. Close grip would be pinky/ring finger on smooth part


Wow, who would've guessed? Good to know, I suppose. I guess I'll try to remember to recommend narrow grip and not close grip :confused:


I guess I am wondering if my triceps are my weakest link since I did so poorly. Again, since I'm cutting I'm sure that posed negative results. Also being at the end of my work out, that too. But I was wondering what relationship there is to regular flat to narrow.

Can anyone post for me what their 1rm for normal bench versus their 1rm on narrow grip?


Errr...I think I said close grip in the previous post. I meant narrow. How does your narrow grip compare to the normal or even wide grip bench?

And I'll keep that in mind to do only 12" for narrow (to work tris).
Thanks -T


6 inches seems way too close...



So is there any real reason that a person should ever use a close grip? That helps cause it felt like my wrists were getting wrecked while doing 8".


Not that I'm aware of. Stick with narrow grip :slight_smile:

BTW, the numbers you asked for: Well, I rarely do wide grip, but I'd guess I'm around 280. My narrow grip is 315ish. I'd try close grip, but I think my wrists might shatter :slight_smile: