Bench Press Touch Point

This has been bugging me, and I feel like I’m missing something very simple and obvious.

I always understood that you need your wrist over your elbow at all times; and your forearm to be perpendicular to the floor at all times.

Now, to achieve this you have to touch your chest in the right spot - but that is going to change depending on how tight you tuck your elbows and how wide you grip, isn’t it? This is where I get confused.

My brain says that closer grip = more tuck = lower touch and vice versa.

Even now having written this I’m confused.

I think you have the right idea except "forearm to be perpendicular to the floor at all times. " With a wide grip your forearm won’t be perpendicular to the floor at lockout, but the strongest position on your chest is precisely as you say, forearm perpendicular to the floor. Also, you don’t want to tuck your elbows too much if you lift raw, that cue is mostly for equipped lifters to be able to touch the bar to their chest in a tight shirt.

Greg Nuckols has a bench guide on his site, probably better than any advice you will find here.

1 Like

I think finding the happy medium there is going to be key for me because tucking feels very natural.

I’ll have a look at the Nuckols piece. He puts out great stuff, I just find a lot of it hard going to get through.

What do you know, he made a short video too


I was checking out some info from Kaz on Benching.

He said that with a close grip( 1 finger “in”), you tucked Elbows more and touched lower. This alignment let you use your back and gave you power out of the bottom. After that, it challenged and built up the triceps.

With a medium(28 inches) grip, the bar went sort of straight up and down. Elbows would be “in the middle” or beginning to flare. With this grip you were most powerful in the middle of the range of motion. He said the pecs and shoulders were in the best position to work with this grip. Strong delts would help you most here.

A wide grip (1 finger “out”) required you to keep your Elbows out, and touch higher on your chest. This naturally required/allowed you to flare the elbows more at the top. This would challenge/develop your upper chest. And help you refine your “elbow flare.”

Kaz said you had to take the bench apart like a puzzle, and work on each piece. So a bench press workout was 3 sets of medium or competition grip.

Then 3 sets of wide grip benches. Kaz even made an effort to do each set of wide benches to a different “high” point on his chest.

Then 3 sets of close grip benches. The idea on the close grips was to keep constant tension on, and stop an inch or 2 off the chest. This was to keep the triceps “in the groove” without having to bother touching low.

He didn’t specifically say he used all the different grips to teach him how to use the best elbow position for each phase of the lift. But that was my take-away.


Tucked and low

Flared and high

@FlatsFarmer with the gold again. That makes sense.

@chris_ottawa that’s a very good video. Makes sense. I think that’s what I’m starting to do, but now it’s something I’ll very definitely focus on.

What made me especially happy was that his touch point and grip width were very similar to mine.