Does the Decline Close-Grip Bench Press Work the Triceps Better Than the Wide Grip?

A close grip emphasizes your triceps on decline, incline and flat bench press.
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Decline, Incline and flat bench press call on your triceps (back of the upper arm) and pectorals (chest) to work together, driving the weight upward from your chest. These pressing exercises also involve your deltoids (shoulder) and trapezius (base of neck) to stabilize your body and the weight during your lift. Because the pectorals are typically stronger than the triceps, the chest normally provides the initial drive and power for presses. The triceps normally kick in to extend the arms and finish the lift.

Wide-Grip Presses

In weight-lifting terminology, “medium grip” on a barbell is defined as hand placement at shoulder width. Technically, a “wide grip” is hand placement wider than shoulder width. When an intermediate or advanced weight lifter talks about a wide grip, he typically means a grip as wide as he can comfortably lift. The wider your grip, the more that lift will emphasize your pectoral muscles.

Close-Grip Presses

A “close grip,” also known as a “narrow grip,” is hand placement narrower than the shoulders. When an intermediate or advanced weight lifter talks about a narrow grip, she typically means hand placement as close together as she can comfortably balance the weight throughout her lift. The narrower your grip, the more that lift will isolate your triceps muscles. Close-grip decline bench presses then, will work your triceps harder than a medium or wide grip.

The Triceps and Close Grip

Because the pectoral muscles are typically stronger than the triceps, wide-grip lifts tend to be more productive in generating gains on decline, incline and flat bench presses. The value of close-grip lifts is the development they can bring to the secondary muscle group in decline, incline and bench presses: your triceps. Using close-grip presses to augment wide-grip exercises can help lifters of al levels make additional gains in strength training on their pectorals and triceps.

Other Lifts and Triceps

Close-grip decline, incline and flat bench presses are a few of many options for emphasizing triceps in your strength-training workouts. You can also add training intensity for your triceps with cable pushdowns using a straight bar, angled bar or thick rope handle. If you’re an intermediate weight lifter looking to add several triceps lifts to your routine, your options include body-weight dips, weight-belt dips and close-grip pushups among many other lifts. Learn new lifts and build a workout that helps you push yourself to new gains.

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