What should be the width of the grip in bench press?

Are you wondering what should be the width of the grip, each time climbing up the bar? Choose a grip that will match your goals, with this simple guide.

Author: Bill Geiger

Perhaps you never really thought how far apart your hands are in the bench press, but simply moving them around the neck to the center or to the pancakes can give an amazing result. Thus, it is possible to redirect the training stimuli from the upper to the lower ones or from the inner ones to the external parts of the pectoral muscles. The width of the grip affects even the range of motion and the fact that you can lift the working weight.

The distance between the hands within 25-30 cm is suitable for bench press lying with a narrow grip during the training of hands. He ideally loads triceps, and at the same time internal fibers of pectoral muscles. The forearms in this position are not strictly perpendicular to the floor; they form a slightly sharp angle (less than 90 degrees). For most people, this grip corresponds to a distance that is slightly less than the width of the shoulders.

When you put your hands as close as possible to the pancakes, the angle of the forearms becomes blunt, and they again are not perpendicular to the floor. The accent is shifted to the pectoral muscles, especially their external parts: the load on the shoulders is growing. In this position, the triceps perform a much smaller amount of work, but you can lift more weight, as you load the chest more actively and shorten the trajectory of the rod. However, many notice that for this gain of force it is necessary to pay off a pain in shoulders.

The standard choice for bench press is an intermediate position between a narrow and wide grip. When the bar is at the lowest point, the forearms are almost perpendicular to the floor. For most athletes, this is the most comfortable width. And the best grip for the overall development of pectoral muscles is one in which you can exercise with comfort from day to day, right?

The fourth option is the reverse grip of the bar. In order for such a grasp to produce a result, the forearms should be strictly perpendicular to the floor, and the elbows should be as close to the sides as possible. This modification actively recruits triceps, but also loads the upper tufts of pectoral muscles.

For each option there is time and place, and it depends on your goals. Do not think that for basic sets only a standard grip is suitable, and the rest are only suitable as an add-on. You can exploit a reverse or narrow grip for one or two cycles. For example, you can use the variation of grip in your training programs:

  • For triceps: narrow or reverse grip


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