We disassemble the narrow grip barbell press – technique, variations, mistakes

ByJoe Louis

Apr 3, 2021
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For a good workout of the triceps, trainers recommend using the bench press with a narrow grip. It is easy for the untrained eye to confuse this exercise with the reverse grip barbell press or the classic press. But the differences are enormous, let’s see for ourselves.

Muscle work

When using a narrow grip, the load on the muscles is distributed as follows:

  • Triceps (lateral, medial and long bundles) – do the bulk of the work.
  • The pectoralis major muscles – work in synergy with the triceps. When the grip is changed to a wider one and the elbows are abducted to the sides, they take the load on themselves.
  • Deltoid muscles (anterior bundle).

Also in This exercise works the muscles that stabilize the body and arms. It is somewhat more difficult to hold the shell with a narrow grip so that it does not walk, than with a wide one.

Home analogues of the press with a narrow grip

The simplest A way to repeat the close-grip bench press without a barbell is to push up off the floor or horizontal pipe with your palms close together. Thus, you can work on triceps outside the gym, but limited to your own body weight.

Another option is to take dumbbells, get comfortable on an incline or horizontal bench (you can put stools in a row) and do a press with a narrow grip with them. It is also a good option, however, it is quite difficult to control the movement.

Still, it is optimal to perform the exercise with a barbell. Let’s get back to it.

Place of exercise in training

What day should you do the exercise and how should it be?

Жим на трицепсы

It all depends on your training goals:

  • Typically, the triceps press is done on the day of the muscles of the same name (chest and triceps) after the classic bench press, incline bench press or push-ups on the uneven bars.
  • If you decide to allocate a separate day for the triceps, reducing the load on the chest , then you can start the entire workout with this exercise. Having performed first a bench press with a narrow grip, you can do a French press and extension of the arms on the block, and then finish off the muscle by bending the arms with dumbbells behind the head.

The technique is very simple, but still requires attention. As elsewhere, there are nuances here.

Some of the restrictions include the following:

  • Not it is worth doing a barbell lift with a narrow grip on shoulder day, as this can lead to their injury.
  • It is also not recommended to do similar presses on an incline bench at an upward angle. Use only a horizontal surface or a slight negative slope.

Techniques for the press with a narrow grip

Barbell presses can be observed in gyms narrow grip in different designs. Below are two different techniques.

Triceps press

First of all, you need to prepare a place for the press: put the stands at the desired height, hang up an empty bar for warm-up.

  1. Lie correctly on the bench: the pelvis, back of the head and shoulder blades should be pressed against its surface.
  2. Grasp the bar so that between the hands is 25-30 cm, the grip is straight.
  3. Straighten your arms by removing the bar from the racks. Move him to a position so that he is against the middle of the chest.
  4. When you start lowering the weight on your chest, your elbows should be close to the body. If you spread them to the sides, the load from the triceps goes to the pectoral muscles. When lifting, we extend our arms completely.

We do a warm-up approach of 10-15 repetitions. We hang up the working weights and start exercising: 3 sets of 10 reps.


Not only the work of the triceps will depend on where you will lower the weight, but also the degree of load on the anterior bundles of the deltoid muscles. The nuances are as follows: lowering the barbell to the bottom of the chest, you maximize the use of both triceps and shoulders. There is a damage to the latter. The surest technique in this case is lifting the barbell from the middle of the chest. Try to lower it there.

If you feel pain in your shoulders, stop this exercise immediately.

Press on the inside of the chest

We originally talked about the press with a narrow grip in relation to training the triceps. The same option is designed to accentuate the load on the inner part of the pectoral muscles.

The barbell will need to be taken with an even narrower grip than in the previous case.

  1. Lie down so that the back of the head, the pelvis and shoulder blades were pressed against the bench.
  2. Spread your legs so that your position on the bench is stable.
  3. Now grab the bar so that your arms are 8– 10 cm.
  4. Spread your elbows in opposite directions. Remove the bar by straightening your arms.
  5. Lower your weight on your chest (between your diaphragm and collarbones).

Do 10-15 warm-up reps. Hang up a working weight (light) and do 3 sets of 12 reps. This will work the inside of the pectoral muscles.

One of the common problems with this bench press is that it is difficult to hold the bar with this grip on the bar. In addition, your wrists are in a rather uncomfortable position. These are perhaps the only serious drawbacks of the exercise.

This version of the press should not be performed on an incline bench at different angles – only lying in a horizontal position.

Гриф на середине груди


In any exercise, there is one way to get it right and many ways to get it wrong. Pay attention to popular mistakes and try to avoid them.

Heavy weight

When a person has taken too much weight, from the outside it looks like this:

  • Lifting the bar is not done smoothly, but with the help of a jerk and bend of the whole body.
  • The bar sways and walks not along a given trajectory, but at random.
  • Lowering weight occurs very quickly, the bar falls on the chest and absorbs from it.

Naturally, in this case, the technique will be dangerous for muscles, joints and ligaments. It is easy to get a dislocated shoulder. And the lower you lower the barbell, down to the abdomen, the greater the load on the shoulders. And the triceps, on the contrary, will lose it.

Wrong position of the elbows

The degree of load on triceps. The elbows should be pressed to the body and move strictly up and down, but not to the sides.

In this case, you will achieve maximum load on them.

Using an incline bench

There is no point in working at positive angles. This willnot change the load on different sections of the triceps in any way. Therefore, you do not need to work on an incline bench. Just place it horizontally. Or, alternatively, use a bench with a slight negative slope.

Using locks of different weights

This subtlety is not entirely obvious, but still .

It is important that the barbell locks weigh the same. A difference of 200-300 grams is enough to make it possible to lose balance, especially in the last repetitions, when there is practically no strength.

When you do a barbell lift, because of this difference, one hand will be able to squeeze the weight, and the other will not. As a result, the bar will go to the right or left. Be careful with matching locks on both ends of the bar.


Don’t make it hard for yourself – breathe right.

Ascending is carried out on exhalation, weight is lowering on inhalation.

Exhalation occurs through the mouth, and inhalation through the nose. This is because you can exhale more through your mouth than through your nose. This means you can lift more heavily.

Too light

Choose the weight so that the last 2-3 reps in each set are given it’s hard for you. If you still have strength, then the weight is too light. This is only permissible at first, when you start training. After a month of introductory workouts, you need to gradually increase the weights to abandoned in order to effectively spend time in the gym.

What not to do

In- The first is to check how much you can squeeze out at a time. The close-grip bench press can be dangerous for the elbows and shoulders when used at maximum weights. Triceps press is needed for pumping muscles, not for demonstration performances.

Secondly, work without a good warm-up. Always pre-heat your muscles.

Техника жима штанги на трицепс