The 60 degree Incline Close Grip Bench Press is an excellent exercise for strengthening the clavicular fibers of the pectoral muscles (upper pecs), and all three heads of the triceps (lateral, medial and long heads). Additionally, the serratus anterior, coracobrachialis, and subclavius, along with the external rotators in co-contraction, serve as synergists in this exercise.
Bench pressing – as opposed to dumbbell pressing – improves the structural balance of the shoulder by challenging the central nervous system to synchronize the motor units of the two sides of the body to move a single bar through space. Due to lower level of neurological demand in bench pressing, higher loads can be used, which in turn stimulates the central nervous system. Incline bench pressing in particular is one of the most important reference lifts for determining readiness in speed-oriented sports.
To perform the exercise, set the bench at a 60 degree incline inside a power rack. Make sure the height of the rack uprights are appropriate for the height of the bench – slightly lower than your hands will be when your elbows are in the locked position. In any kind of bench press, a close grip is one that puts the hands just inside the width of the shoulders. To figure out where to hold the bar in the close grip, lay back on the bench and extend your arms upward in a direct line with your shoulders. Where your arms cross the bar is where your hands should grasp the bar.
Having established the grip width, take the bar off the rack and hold it at arms’ length directly over your face. Your arms should be perpendicular to the floor in this position.
Inhale, and lower the bar to your clavicles. Once the bar touches your chest, exhale and you press the bar upward and backward until the bar is over your face again at arms’ length.
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