Exercise Profile
  • Target Muscle Group
  • Exercise TypeStrength
  • Equipment RequiredDumbbell
  • MechanicsCompound
  • Force TypePush (Bilateral)
  • Experience LevelIntermediate
  • Secondary Muscles
    Shoulders, Triceps
Target Muscle Group


Chest Muscle Anatomy Diagram

Close Grip Dumbbell Press (AKA Crush Press) Overview

The dumbbell crush press is a variation of the dumbbell bench press and an exercise used to build the muscles of the chest and triceps.

The crush press is particularly effective in activating the chest as you’ll squeeze the pecs while pressing the dumbbells together.

Additionally, the crush press incorporates the triceps more so than other bench press variations.

This exercise is useful for bodybuilders trying to establish mind-muscle connection with their chest, as well as other lifters looking to build stronger triceps to assist them in other press variations.

Close Grip Dumbbell Press (AKA Crush Press) Instructions

  1. Pick up the dumbbells off the floor using a neutral grip (palms facing in). Position the ends of the dumbbells in your hip crease, and sit down on the bench.
  2. To get into position, lay back and keep the weights close to your chest. Once you are in position, take a deep breath, crush the dumbbells together, then press them to lockout at the top.
  3. Continue to push the dumbbells together while lowering them under control as far as comfortably possible.
  4. Once the dumbbells touch your chest, push them back to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

**Dropping the dumbbells to the side is discouraged unless you are experienced with the technique or using excessively heavy weights.

**Ideally you should twist the dumbbells back to neutral (palms facing each other), bring your knees up so the ends of the dumbbells are touching your thighs, then use the weight of the dumbbells to rock back to an upright, seated position.

Close Grip Dumbbell Press (AKA Crush Press) Tips

  1. Maintain more tension through the pecs by not locking out the elbows entirely.
  2. Squeeze the dumbbells as tight as possible to improve a phenomenon known as “irradiation” which promotes greater shoulder stability.
  3. Keep your shoulder blades pinched together to ensure the shoulders remain in a safe position.
  4. Think of the movement as a fly combined with a press. Press together while pressing horizontally.
  5. If you’re feeling pain within the shoulder joint itself (specifically at the front), ensure your shoulder blades are slightly retracted and try to keep the shoulder girdle “packed”.
  6. Ensure you maintain some tension in your abs and don’t allow your lower back to excessive arch.
  7. Keep your feet flat on the floor and don’t allow the lower body to move during the set.
Posted on: Fri, 06/24/2022 - 20:18

What does it mean to keep the shoulder girdle “packed”?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 06/27/2022 - 08:51

It means use tense up the upper back and bring the shoulder blades together before you start using your arms. It helps protect your rotator cuffs.

If you're sitting while you're reading this right now, sit straight and tall. Stick your chest out and bring your shoulder blades together. You should notice your shoulders drop a little as well. When you feel those back muscles contracting and the chest is sticking out, you've packed your shoulder girdle.

Posted on: Mon, 06/27/2022 - 13:58

Thank you!

Christopher Ward
Posted on: Mon, 08/12/2019 - 06:04

Would I be correct in assuming that you keep the dumbells touching through the entire ROM?

Posted on: Fri, 01/19/2018 - 14:19

I do this on the floor and it's perfect and not difficult to drop the weights to the side

Posted on: Thu, 06/12/2014 - 13:50

This is really hurting my rotator cuffs, any ideas?

Posted on: Sat, 07/24/2021 - 17:36

Make sure you're keeping your shoulder in place or pulling it down as you lower, I found I was getting pain too and it was because my shoulder was pushing forward as I lowered, put a little focus into whatever shoulder is hurting and make sure it's not pushing forward

Posted on: Fri, 01/25/2013 - 15:22

Keep your sets between 3-4 and do 8-15 reps for triceps.

Posted on: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 16:22

How many set and reps are recommended for mass building?

Posted on: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 16:20

How many set and reps are recommended for mass building?