Everyone loves the barbell bench press. But, like anything in life, repetition can bring stagnancy, and stagnancy stymies growth.
An article on FitnessVolt.com offered a variation on the barbell bench press with the close-grip dumbbell press. Below is an excerpt from that article.
The close-grip dumbbell press is a compound exercise, which means it works several joints and muscles simultaneously. The main muscles involved in the close-grip dumbbell press are:
- Pectoralis major – known as the pecs for short, these are your main chest muscles. Close-grip dumbbell presses work your entire chest, with a slight emphasis on your inner pecs.
- Anterior deltoids – the deltoids are your shoulder muscles. The anterior deltoids are located at the front of your shoulder joint. Working with your pecs, the anterior deltoids are very active in close-grip dumbbell presses. Anterior deltoid activation increases if you do incline close-grip dumbbell presses.
- Triceps brachii – usually called the triceps for short, this muscle is located on the back of your upper arm. Like all compound upper body pressing exercises, the triceps are strongly involved in close-grip dumbbell presses.
- Rotator cuff – the collective term for the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis, the rotator cuff is responsible for stabilizing your shoulder joint.
To get the best from any exercise, you need to do it properly. Correct exercise technique not only means your workout will be more productive, but it should also reduce your risk of injury. Start light and take time to master the close-grip dumbbell press before trying to lift heavier weights. Follow these step-by-step instructions:
- Sit on an exercise bench with a dumbbell in each hand. Using a neutral grip, place and press the dumbbells together. Pull your shoulders down and back, and brace your abs.
- Lie flat on the bench and hold the dumbbells on your chest. Press the weights inward as hard as you can. Tuck your upper arms into your sides.
- Push the weights up and over your chest until your arms are straight but not locked. Keep the tension on your pecs by continuing to press the weights together.
- Lower the dumbbells to your chest and repeat.
- Do not ease up on the inward pressure; keep pushing the dumbbells together for the entire duration of your set.
» ALSO SEE: Executing Deep Knee Bends
The main benefits of the close-grip dumbbell press are:
- Get an effective workout from lighter weights – pushing the dumbbells together increases muscle activation. This is a form of dynamic tension training.
- Less shoulder pain – compared to regular barbell and dumbbell bench presses, close-grip dumbbell presses are much more shoulder-friendly.
- Variety – your body will soon adapt and stop growing if you keep doing the same exercises over and over.
- Bigger triceps – while the close grip dumbbell press is most definitely a chest exercise, it takes your arms through a large range of motion, which makes it a good triceps exercise too.
To read the full story and to see variations of the close-grip dumbbell press, click here.