T Nation

Bench Press Hand Placement


What exactly is contest hand placement in regards to the rings on the bar? Is it pinky on the ring or index finger or is there some leeway. I have narrow shoulders and it hard for me to get that wide so any advice for that would be a great help too. Thanks, Drake.


Different for every federation, for IPF is 81cm between index fingers


That's the max. You can grip narrower.


Like the guys said above the index finger on the rings if you bench with a regular grip; if you do the reverse grip thing for some reason you can have your pinkies out to the rings I believe. But read the rule book!

You need to find the grip width in which you are the strongest if attempting to lift a max weight. What I did is put a bar in the floor with a 2.5# plate on each end to hold the bar up a little bit. Then I did push ups at various grip widths until it felt the easiest. I typically use that grip on the bar. So what's the difference in doing it that way vs just benching until it fells good? IDK but with the push ups I could feel all the back muscles and all that working together. Maybe something about laying on your back dulls that feeling? Maybe some of the smart m*ther F^cker$ on here can shed some light on that.

Hope this helps.


What's strongest for me has changed slightly over time. Since my lats and tris have gotten stronger I brought my grip in from index finger to middle finger on the ring. Doesn't sound like much, but it's made a big difference for me.

I have narrow clavicles too so maybe it's something else that makes you want to bench a little narrower. I'm really not so sure though.


Every one of us has different measurements. So why should we base our grip on the arbitrarily set rings on a bar, besides not going wider than the rings, I mean?

SD is right on the money with finding what works for you. How I prefer to do it and how I prefer to help someone else find their right width is to figure out how wide you can go while still retaining lat drive and keeping elbows and wrists in line I'm very broad shouldered and have a freakish wingspan (7-ish, and I'm only 5'11" or so), so you'd think I'd grip as wide as possible and be done? Naw, not so much. I actually do best with a ring on ring grip.


I don't know if I'd call them arbitrary Nikhil,The rings are there mainly for reference so that you get equal distance between the collars but. There has to be a max grip for a contest I suppose. I might be one of those guys with alligator arms and a barrel chest. If I could go suuuuper wide I'd have a 2" range of motion and would prolly kick ass. IDK
I'm a ring finger / middle finger on the rings (81cm apart rings) guy. That happens to be where I'm the strongest on a typical day.


what I meant was the width of the rings is arbitrary. I'd be a flailing mass of poop without rings--and have proven this when I've had to use bars without them. But, I've seen so many coaches demand that their lifters put index on rings so that the distance is as short as possible. Short Distance+crappy leverages


And be aware that ring position on gym bars may differ than on bars used at meets. I learned this one the hard way.


I carry a tape measure with me and mark the 'competition' distance on bars with chalk at the gym when they aren't the same.


I'm really glad I'm not the only one who's done this...


I suffer from the same neurosis.


It's all about being the anal retentive powerlifter. I think there's meds available. It's worsened since I started reading the IPF technical manual to take the ref's test :slight_smile: