Home Blog Coaching the Close-Grip Bench Press

Coaching the Close-Grip Bench Press

Written on October 3, 2014 at 6:39 am, by Eric Cressey

It goes without saying that the bench press is one of the "Big 3" lifts for a reason: it offers a lot of bang for your upper body training buck. That said, the close-grip bench press is an awesome variation, as it can be more shoulder-friendly and offer slightly different training benefits. Unfortunately, a lot of lifters struggle to perfect close-grip bench press technique, so I thought I'd "reincarnate" this video I originally had featured on Elite Training Mentorship. Enjoy!

If you're looking for a more detailed bench press tutorial - and a comprehensive bench press specialization program - I'd encourage you to check out Greg Robins and my new resource, The Specialization Success Guide.


Have a great weekend!

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6 Responses to “Coaching the Close-Grip Bench Press”

  1. Brian Says:

    I thoroughly enjoy reading your work and accessibility. A recurring theme I’ve noticed in a lot of your material is to caution the reader against the humeral head gliding forward. Your reasoning for this makes a lot of sense to me, especially for baseball populations. However, I’ve noticed that in gymnastic populations, this seems like a mechanism that is practically coached. Every time I see a gymnast do a ring dip or even a chest to deck push up, there seems to be this gleno-humeral gliding. In properly coached and progressed gymnast populations, they seem to also be extremely resilient to injury (relative to the stress levels they are exposed to). Any thoughts on these observations?

  2. Scott Gunter Says:

    Love the attention to detail, and great point about adjusting the exercise to the person instead of a one-size-fits-all grip. Separate note, but I love the look of the college shirts lining the walls. What do you use (boxes/cases?) to mount those?


  3. Don Holly Says:


    Great information! When I learned to do these in the late 70’s, we were taught to bring the bar to the lower part of the chest (below nipple line). I find this puts a lot of stress on the anterior delts. Where do you recommend the bar comes down to?

  4. Eric Cressey Says:


    Try going up to meet the bar more, as opposed to just letting it descend. My guess is that you’re rolling into scapular anterior tilt too much.

  5. Jim Nasium Says:

    The best explanation of the close grip press I’ve seen. So many people and even articles tell you to use a 6″ width. It’s my favorite tricep exercise.

  6. Stavros Says:

    i have left the same message on youtube Mr. Eric (in case you don’t see it):

    Hey eric great video, but i don’t understand what u said at 1:54.
    I am pretty new to this exercise, i always take care to have my wrist
    over my elbow, for me that’s about chest width, but i tuck the elbows in
    as u can understand. How is it possible to keep them out around 30
    degrees as u mentioned, during the exercise ? Right this moment i sit
    down and think of it, and the only way to achieve this is to take a
    narrower grip…Should i use a different grip width or what ?

    My 2nd question, is where should one lower the bar ? I mean when u descend, u then push the bar strictly straight up OR up and back ? In your video i noticed that the guy follows a staight line with the bar, i.e. he lowers it to about nipple area and then pushes straight up (not up and back towards his upper chest or sth).


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