Get Big Triceps With Close-Grip Bench

The Strong Survive!

By IFBB Pro Johnnie Jackson

Sponsored by ALLMAX

Q: I have a big chest and huge legs, but I look like a T-Rex because my arms are pretty sad in comparison. Actually, my biceps aren’t that bad, it’s my triceps that are embarrassing. Would you recommend close-grip bench press as the bread and butter to bigger tri’s, or another compound movement?


When I was a kid, my older brother, the late Willie Parker, showed me this exercise and told me it would not only get my triceps huge, but it would also help me bench press more weight. Boy, was he right on both counts! Weighted dips are also right up there, but I would rate the close-grip bench press even higher. Don’t take the meaning of the exercise too literally, though. I’ve seen some guys with their hands just a couple of inches apart on the bar. That will wreck your wrists, and it’s not a position where you’ll be able to handle much weight. There is no magic grip width number to follow, but you should be about a hand’s width closer on each side than shoulder width. For a guy of average arm length and shoulder width, that has your hands about a foot apart, but play around with it until you feel your triceps muscle fibers really firing. You can also try a reverse grip. Some guys feel their triceps working more on those. Last tip: you can do these on chest day after chest, or else on a day you only train arms, as long as chest doesn’t fall the day before or after. You might get more out of them training them fresh like that.

Contest Prep: Pain and Suffering

Q: How different is the whole contest-prep process for you now as a veteran pro versus many years ago when you were an amateur, in terms of whether it’s a fun challenge or just a job? I can’t imagine it’s easy to be as excited about getting ready for a show when you’ve done it 50 times!


It was never a “fun challenge” for me. Honestly, dieting was an excruciating process for me from day one, and it still is. It was a little easier in the early days because it was still so new to me. After a while, I knew what to expect, especially in the brutal final weeks, and I started to dread it. It’s like stabbing yourself – you are willingly subjecting yourself to pain and suffering! But I do it because it’s part of being a pro bodybuilder, and it still is cool to see what you look like with all the fat and water stripped away. But fun? Come on now. Anyone that says dieting is fun is out of his or her mind, or else they enjoy suffering.

‘Do you work out?’

Q: Being that you are so heavily muscled that there is just no way you could hide your development even if you wanted to, how often do you get stared at when you are out and about in the world of “normal people”? Do you get silly questions and comments, or are people too intimidated by your appearance?


It’s constant, every day! When you look very different from most people, whether it’s a lot more muscle mass, or if you’re super tall or overly obese’ you’re going to stand out and people will stare. You just have to learn to deal with it and not let it aggravate you, even when the questions are so incredibly dumb, like “Do you work out?” Come on, do they really think someone can just look like this by accident, without any training at all? And of course, I get asked how much I can bench press all the time. I’m one of the best deadlifters in the USA, but no one ever asks me how much I can deadlift!

The only time I get annoyed is when the questions or comments are so random that I wonder what possesses the person to even say anything to me. I was outside the car wash I go to a little while back, sitting at this table while I waited for my car to be done. This guy comes down and sits across from me. Without saying hi or introducing himself or anything, he said, “My buddy can lift 650 pounds, that’s pretty good, right?” He didn’t say what the lift was: a bench press, a squat, a leg press, a shrug? Who knows. He probably didn’t even know, and I really didn’t feel like getting into a deep conversation about it so I just nodded and said, “Yep, that’s real good.”

Running at a Track vs. Machines

Q: I read an old article about you where it said you did actual running at a track for your contest cardio. Do you still do that? If not, why did you stop?


I do it every once in a while because I really do enjoy it, plus it’s nice just to change things up once in a while from the machines and actually go somewhere instead of running in place on a treadmill or climbing stairs that never end! It also depends on the weather. If it’s nice out, I am usually more inclined to want to be outside. There’s a track not too far from where I live, and I will usually do a mile. That takes me 16-17 minutes now. Back in the Army I did a mile in eight minutes, but that was when I was lighter and also because I was running every day.

Instagram @johnnieojackson




1 scoop Impact Pump (helps increase blood flow and transportation of nutrients while significantly helping the focus for mind-muscle connection)

1 scoop Aminocore (prevents muscle tissue breakdown during training)

10g Glutamine (helps with DOMS, insulin sensitivity, gut health, and immune system)

5g Creatine (for that fast-acting, explosive power needed to push weights and helps with muscle hydration)

1 scoop Carbion (50g carbs) (really helps with energy and endurance during workout by giving your body carbs that don’t have to be digested, therefore they are readily available for fuel)



2 scoops IsoFlex (fast-digesting protein with essential amino acids to start the building or repairing process immediately)

10g Glutamine again (helps with DOMS, insulin sensitivity, gut health and immune system)


Give these a try and watch your energy, intensity and pumps dramatically increase in the gym.

ALLMAX is now selling directly to the consumer. Go to

Instagram @teamallmax

Instagram @allmaxtraining

For more information, visit

Learn more about Johnnie Jackson at

©2023 Advanced Research Media. Long Island Web Design