Close Grip Dumbbell Press Muscles Worked

Close Grip Dumbbell Press Muscles Worked

Written by Ben Bunting: BA, PGCert. (Sport & Exercise Nutrition) // British Army Physical Training Instructor // S&C Coach.

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Question: Close Grip Dumbbell Press: Muscles Worked and Benefits

Answer: The close grip dumbbell press primarily targets the triceps, but it also engages the chest and shoulders to a lesser extent. This exercise is great for building strength and size in the triceps, and can also help improve overall upper body pressing strength. 

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The close grip dumbbell press is an effective exercise for targeting specific muscles in the upper body.

How to perfrom the Close Grip Dumbbell Press

By understanding the muscles worked during this exercise, you can incorporate it into your workout routine to build strength and definition in your upper body.

The close grip dumbbell press exercise works the muscles in the torso and back, as well as the shoulders and arms.

To do it effectively, you should engage your back and hips to press the weights down to the sides of your chest.

You should also tuck your elbows in toward your body. This allows you to maximize the tension in your back.

The bottom of the press should be performed with your shoulders slightly depressed or retracted to maintain upper back stability. You should also avoid letting your elbows flare out directly.

Close Grip Dumbbell Press Exercise Overview?

The close grip dumbbell press is a variation of the traditional dumbbell press exercise, where the hands are positioned closer together on the dumbbells.

This exercise primarily targets the triceps, which are the muscles located on the back of the upper arm.

Additionally, it also engages the chest muscles (pectoralis major), shoulders (deltoids), and the muscles of the upper back (rhomboids and trapezius) to a lesser extent.

By performing the close grip dumbbell press regularly, you can effectively strengthen and define these muscles in your upper body.

Benefits of incorporating the close grip dumbbell press into your workout routine

The close grip dumbbell press offers multiple benefits when incorporated into your workout routine.

Firstly, it primarily targets the triceps, which are often a secondary benefit in traditional chest exercises.

By strengthening and defining the triceps, you can improve the overall appearance and strength of your upper arms. PLus it ca help with other 'push' exercises such as chest and overhead press.

Additionally, the close grip dumbbell press also engages the chest muscles, shoulders, and upper back to a lesser extent, providing a comprehensive upper body workout.

Proper form and technique for performing the close grip dumbbell press

To perform the close grip dumbbell press with proper form and technique, start by sitting on a flat bench with a dumbbell in each hand.

Place your feet firmly on the ground and keep your back straight. Hold the dumbbells at shoulder level, with your palms facing each other and your elbows bent at a 90-degree angle.

As you exhale, push the dumbbells up towards the ceiling, extending your arms fully.

Keep your elbows close to your body throughout the movement. Pause for a moment at the top, then slowly lower the dumbbells back down to the starting position, inhaling as you do so.

It's important to maintain control throughout the exercise and avoid using momentum to lift the weights.

Focus on engaging your triceps and chest muscles to perform the movement.

Start with a weight that allows you to complete 8-12 repetitions with proper form, and gradually increase the weight as you become stronger.

You can also adjust the repetitions depending on what you would like to achieve such as more strnegth or more endurance.

Remember to always warm up before starting any exercise routine and consult with a fitness professional if you have any concerns or questions about proper form.

Variations and modifications of the close grip dumbbell press for different fitness levels

The close grip dumbbell press is a versatile exercise that can be modified to suit different fitness levels. Here are some variations and modifications you can try:

1. Beginner level

If you're new to strength training or have limited upper body strength, you can start with a lighter weight or even just use your body weight. Perform the exercise on a stability ball or bench to add stability and support.

2. Intermediate level

Once you've built some strength and confidence, you can increase the weight of the dumbbells. You can also try performing the exercise on an incline bench to target your upper chest muscles.

3. Advanced level

For those looking for an extra challenge, you can try performing the exercise on a decline bench to target your lower chest muscles. You can also incorporate supersets or drop sets into your routine to increase the intensity.

Remember to always listen to your body and adjust the weight and intensity as needed.

It's important to maintain proper form and avoid any pain or discomfort during the exercise.

Consulting with a fitness professional can help you determine the best variations and modifications for your fitness level and goals. 

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Neutral-grip dumbbell bench press

A close-grip dumbbell bench press is an effective exercise for strengthening the arm and chest muscles.

Other muscles that are involved in this exercise include the rotator cuff, the subscapularis, teres minor, and supraspinatus. 

Triceps

The close grip dumbbell press is a great variation of the basic dumbbell press. It works the entire chest, but it works the triceps more than other versions of this exercise. This exercise uses a narrow grip, and you need to be able to maintain a lockout position before lowering the weights.

The close grip dumbbell press is an exercise that targets the triceps. Keeping your elbows close to your body can make this exercise much more difficult.

The close grip dumbbell press also works the pecs, which are the main group of chest muscles. 

Pectorals

Close grip dumbbell press is an effective way to work the pectorals and triceps. In this exercise, you lie on your back with your palms facing each other and extend your arms. When you press the weights upwards, make sure to bend your elbows slightly but not too much so that your upper chest isn't strained.

Another advantage of a close grip dumbbell press is that it doesn't put as much stress on your shoulders as a standard bench press or wide grip. People who are prone to shoulder pain are recommended to use this exercise because it doesn't require them to lift heavy weights.

Close grip dumbbell presses are often referred to as the crush or squeeze press. They are very effective for working the upper chest, but they can be difficult for some people. Fortunately, there are many variations on this exercise. Listed below are a few variations of this exercise.

Another great variation of the close grip dumbbell press is the skull crusher. This exercise emphasizes the triceps, but it also gives you a much larger range of motion. This exercise also requires a little more strength from the elbows, so make sure to focus on this area before trying to lift the weights.

Close grip dumbbell presses are an excellent way to strengthen the pectorals and build the triceps. The key to gaining muscle is variety, and the close grip dumbbell press works both the pecs and triceps at once.

Anterior deltoids

The closed grip is an important tool in building deltoids. It activates muscles in both sides of the shoulder as well as the supraspinatus, and the infraspinatus.

This exercise also works the middle deltoid, which is rarely used during big compound movements. This deltoid is mostly involved in exercises like upright row, seated rows, and reverse pec deck. You can also include rear-delt flyes to work this muscle group.

The front deltoid is the largest deltoid muscle in the shoulder. It is responsible for raising the arm outward and away from the body.

During a close grip dumbbell press, this muscle is more active than the side deltoid. The posterior deltoid is more active when performing pulling movements, such as pulling the arm behind the body.

The posterior delts are also active during close grip dumbbell presses. These exercises are more effective than barbell presses, which only activate the anterior delts.

Re-cap

1. Pectoralis Major

The close grip dumbbell press primarily targets the pectoralis major, which is the large muscle group located in the chest. This exercise helps to develop and strengthen the upper, middle, and lower portions of the chest, giving it a more defined and sculpted appearance.

2. Triceps Brachii

The triceps brachii, located on the back of the upper arm, is also heavily engaged during the close grip dumbbell press. This exercise specifically targets the long head of the triceps, helping to build strength and size in this muscle group.

3. Anterior Deltoids

The anterior deltoids, or front shoulder muscles, are activated during the close grip dumbbell press. This exercise helps to develop and strengthen the front portion of the shoulders, contributing to a well-rounded and balanced upper body.

4. Serratus Anterior

The serratus anterior, located on the sides of the ribcage, is also worked during the close grip dumbbell press. This muscle group helps to stabilize the shoulder blades and assists in the movement of the arms, making it an important muscle to target for overall upper body strength and stability.

5. Traps

The trapezius muscles, located in the upper back and neck, are engaged during the close grip dumbbell press. This exercise helps to strengthen and develop the upper portion of the traps, contributing to improved posture and overall upper body strength.

6. Rhomboids

The rhomboids, located between the shoulder blades, are activated during the close grip dumbbell press. This exercise helps to strengthen and develop these muscles, which play a crucial role in maintaining proper posture and shoulder stability.

7. Biceps Brachii

Although not the primary muscle worked during the close grip dumbbell press, the biceps brachii, located on the front of the upper arm, are also engaged to a certain extent. This exercise helps to strengthen and develop the biceps, contributing to overall arm strength and definition.


By incorporating the close grip dumbbell press into your workout routine, you can effectively target and strengthen these key muscle groups, leading to improved upper body strength, muscle definition, and overall fitness.

Conclusion 

There's no doubt about it: the regular barbell and dumbbell bench press is a fantastic exercise for building chest muscles, as millions of lifters have used it to achieve impressive physiques while increasing strength.

But for maximum muscle development and to prevent adaptation and stagnation of workouts, adding close grip dumbbell presses may provide another form of stimulation to avoid plateauing or adaptation - especially during long training programs.

Close grip dumbbell presses are an effective alternative to regular bench presses that target inner pecs and triceps, providing a variation without using cable machines or performing the same exercises over and over again.

They are suitable for beginners looking to add variety to their chest training routine while experienced lifters looking to hit inner pecs without repetitively performing one type of exercise are likely to find this exercise effective as well.

You can perform it on any type of bench - flat, incline or decline benches are suitable. You can even perform this exercise anywhere - perfect if performing just one type of chest exercise without cable machines!

Although primarily performed as a chest exercise, close grip dumbbell presses also benefit triceps with increased activation from pushing them closer together during pressing motion to increase range of motion and activate more of your triceps muscles.

Close Grip Dumbbell Press Exercise can also reduce shoulder strain compared to traditional bench press exercises, providing relief for some lifters suffering from shoulder pain.

However, for maximum safety it must still be performed correctly in order to lower risk of injury and avoid unnecessary strain or pain during this type of lift.

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