T Nation

Q on Close Grip Bench


I've read that the close grip bench is a great exercise for increasing your bench, but whenever I try them, my wrists hurt like hell. Is it a form issue, or is it just that some people can't do close grip benches?

My wrists also give me trouble if I do straight bar curls or skull-crushers. Maybe I have bad wrists.


How close are your hands? If they're super-close, you might want to move them out a little.


See how my arms and wrists look in this photo? That's the type of form you should use. Also, I am small and have narrow shoulders, so I put my pinkies on the edge of the knurling and the rest of my hand is inside the smooth part of the bar. If you are bigger, this hand spacing would be too close for you and you will need to move out to about 14".


My hands are usually about where Nate Dogg's are in his picture. I'll try moving my hands out a little and see what happens.


It's not a very natural position for your wrists, especially under heavy loads. Warm-ups and stretching will help. I often use an EZ-curl bar to do both skull crushers and close grip bench. Try doing your set of crushers with the EZ-bar, then rep out on close grip presses to failure. You'll feel that in your triceps the next day!


If you use the hand spacing shown in the photo, you will strain wrists more if you also use the elbows out style. Keeping elbows in will minimise the wrist strain.


In the bottom position, your thumb knuckles should be at your nips. This should apply to whatever shoulder structure you have.

Knuckles to Nips!


Thx to everyone. My grip was WAY too narrow, and I wasn't keeping my elbows tucked enough.


Aside from finding a width that doesn't hurt, try squeezing the bar for the entire set.

I frequently have strains in my wrist and thumb and I find if I use a tight grip, the pain subsides.

Play around and find what works.


NO Spotter? Man hard core... Drop the damn camera and help me!!!


I use the ez bar sometime if my wrists are hurting that helps me any ways..


I don't use a spotter unless I'm trying to test my 1RM. I know when to stop short of failure, even if I'm going for a triple or double. :wink: