How to correctly perform a bench press lying with a narrow grip

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What is the use of this exercise? What muscles work at the same time. Competent execution technique and useful tips.

All athletes know such an exercise as a bench press. This is not surprising, because when it is performed, a wide variety of muscle groups are connected – chest, triceps, shoulders and so on. In practice, the bench press with a narrow grip is one of the well-known exercises. Many athletes work only with a wide grip and forget about the possibility of shifting the center of the load by moving their hands closer to the center of the bar. Let’s look at the features of such an exercise and how useful it is.

A little introduction

A lot has been written and said about the benefits of the “narrow” bench press. Many professional athletes have actively used and use this technique in their training programs. At one time, it was the narrow grip bench press that helped Edd Cohen realize his dream and set an incredible bench weight record.

Who else does not know, Ed Cohen is one of the most famous athletes, a powerlifter. During his professional career, he set new world records two dozen times. His grandiose record – 204 kilograms in the bench press is still remembered. As the athlete himself admitted, in achieving such goals he was helped by a narrow grip on the bench press, push-ups on the uneven bars and a standing press.

Of course, a lot of time passed after Cohen’s achievement, and they managed to break the record, but the attitude to tight grip and other basic exercises remained unchanged – they, as before, are appreciated and used in training. Their main advantage is assistance in the development of triceps muscle mass and strength. In addition, one of the main muscles – the triceps – gets an incredible load.

Again, on the way to success, a whole group of basic exercises is used – a wide-grip bench press, squats with a barbell, pull-ups and so on. But one of the key roles was still played and is played by the narrow bench.

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Many athletes believe that triceps work out extensions much better, which is why the work with the bar with a narrow grip is simply ignored. On the one hand, this is true – the muscles really feel more. On the other hand, for the development of strength and endurance, extension is not the best option. No matter how ideal the technique, to achieve such a result as with a narrow grip, still will not work. The reason is too weak tendon loading when straightening the arms.

So in your program should not only be push-ups on the uneven bars, a classic bench press and extensions. In the “struggle” with the French bench press, give preference to the “narrow”.

Execution Features

An important point in this exercise is the technique, because after all it is an unusual setting of hands. The main thing is to lie directly on the bench and watch your back so that there is no excess deflection in the lumbar region. The presence of even a slight “curvature” can lead to serious injury to the shoulder or spinal column. The neck itself should be at eye level.

Lower the bar so that it falls somewhere to the cut of the chest (you can slightly lower). Optimum grip width is slightly less than shoulder width. At the same time, grasp the bar correctly, because the “monkey” type of grip will not allow you to fully load the forearm area.

To pump triceps efficiently, work without pauses. Just grab the bar, gently lower and raise it without lingering at the top and bottom points. It is advisable that the same rhythm is maintained throughout the exercise.

What are the options?

In principle, a “narrow” bench press is not the only option. In addition to it, you can recall exercises such as partial bench presses or bench presses in the form of extension. Each of the methods has its own characteristics. So, in the case of bench presses, the bar is taken at shoulder level and squeezed to the maximum. In fact, the “positive” part of the bench press is the standard narrow grip, and the French bench press is the negative.

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The partial bench press is essentially the exercise we are considering. The only difference is that the bar drops to the moment when the shoulder of the hands is not parallel to the floor.

implementation approach

The variations described above are good for athletes who are distinguished by a certain professionalism, have an average or high level. If you still do not pull large weights, then it’s better to give preference to standard options, for example, “narrow” and classical bench press, as well as extension. This group allows you to pump triceps, pectoral and other muscle groups well.

If large weights are no longer a problem, and the muscles on the bones are enough to solve more serious problems, then you can apply various variations of the “narrow” bench press. In this case, you do not need to do such exercises in an unusual (powerlifter) mode. The optimal number of repetitions is from 6 to 12 (no more, no less).

How much time should be devoted to tight grip?

From the very beginning of your career, when you do not yet have the necessary experience and knowledge of technology, it is worth paying attention to basic training. In this case, the main muscle groups are loaded without any particular risk to health. Work this way until you do more than five repetitions of the bench press with a barbell of 0.5 of your weight and 15 squats with the same load. Without reaching this level, talking about the effectiveness of extensions and other exercise options is pointless.

It is allowed to exclude auxiliary exercises for triceps in the future. This is true if the standard bench press gives the expected effect, and the mass continues to increase. If the weight stops, then you need to immediately make adjustments to your training program and diversify it.

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So how much time should be devoted to working with a narrow grip? If the main task is to break the world record in the bench press, then such an exercise is always necessary. If there is a desire to add a few tens of kilograms to the bench press, for example, 20-25, then it is worth achieving a free lift of 80-85% of your weight with a classic bench press (with the usual grip).

Those athletes who dream of gaining powerful hands, but cannot do this with the help of ordinary extensibility, the “narrow” bench press will also become an indispensable assistant. In this case, you can choose both the classic version and the variety.

bench press


Finally, here are a few tips to help you pump triceps faster and more efficiently with the narrow bench press:

  • lower the bar on the lower chest, i.e. 3-5 centimeters farther than with a regular exercise. Such a statement is inevitable, because the elbows are pressed to the point (the trajectory is simply more convenient);
  • make sure that between the hands on the neck there is a distance of about 25-30 centimeters. If it is larger, then the elbows will spontaneously go to the sides;
  • the pressure on the hands is much higher than with a conventional bench press. Therefore, always wind up bandages;
  • if you work without an insurer and cannot take the last approach, then lay the barbell on your chest and grab it with a wide grip. In this case, the pectoral muscles are connected to the work, and there are no problems with lifting the bar;
  • with increased loads, the elbows inevitably diverge. To pump triceps well, do not overdo it. It is better to take less weight, but make the exercise better.

Peter Roberts

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