T Nation

Best Bench Press Grip

Today I was doing a fundraiser for my high school’s athletic program and as a football player I had to bench press.People donated a certain amount of cash per pound we could bench press.Anyway I got 285 with a grip slightly outside the little lines on the bar.

Then I failed at 295.A freind of mine suggested scooting my hands in just a tad so my triceps would get more involved.I had always figured a wider grip involves more of your chest which is the bigger muscle,therefore more weight.Since I’m willing to take advice i tried this out and put up 295 without too much trouble.The thing is I had been using that type of grip about a year earlier and changed it to wider one in an attempt to break through a plateau.

This got me thinking what kind of grip is the best for getting the most out of as many muscle groups as possible for a big bench.What do you guys think?

I think that would depend if you were chest dominant or tricep dominant. If you were chest dominant , than obviously a wider grip would benefit. The opposite is true if you have incredibly strong triceps. Many people are more tricep dominant , so a grip inside the lines of the bar would yield bigger poundage.

Are there any ways to tell if you are chest dominant or tricep dominant?

[quote]MAS50 wrote:
Are there any ways to tell if you are chest dominant or tricep dominant?[/quote]

if you flare a lot fail in the top your likly chest dominant

fail at bottom chest speed shoulders laggin try varied grips and see where you fail where your stronger and attack the weak lift

Phill

Raw I usually go pinky/ring finger on the rings.

A much wiser man than me once told me that once you put on a bench shirt you should always take the max legal grip width (index finger on rings) and I have t osay it’s workign so far for me.

That’s interesting.I didn’t know that had a limit on how wide you could grip it.I don’t use a bench shirt or know anyone who does.I’m not one of those people who think your cheating for using it,I just don’t have any need for it.I’m definitely gonna start experimenting with different hand placements.

[quote]Hanley wrote:
A much wiser man than me once told me that once you put on a bench shirt you should always take the max legal grip width (index finger on rings) and I have to say it’s working so far for me.[/quote]

Sounds like we’ve been talking to the same wise man!

Seriously though, this answer really depends on whether or not you compete or plan on competing.

If you’re going to compete, you go max width…that’s just all there is to it.

If you’re training for other reasons, sports, etc, I personally think that you need to vary your grip based on body type and trying to break through weak points. For athletes, I think the more closed the shoulder joint is, the better.

I bench with the the widest legal IPF grip because I’ve got long arms. It follows the same idea as the wide squat which I also use because I’ve got long legs. It’s minimizing the stroke distance.

For sports you should move your grip around. I usually try to go from pinkies on the ring to index finger on the ring for normal benching. Then I also use a lot of close grip. For maxing out just pick out what is comfortable. Do some singles at the end of the workout with different grips to determine this.

The reason shirted benchers use such a wide grip is to maximize the effects of thier shirt. However for raw benchers this can cause more strain on the shoulders. So if the grip hurts your shoulders, you need to move it in.

i think a lot of it depends on how long your arms are in relation to the bar. i personally like to keep my ring fingers on the smooth rings around the bar as that is where i can lift the most weight. when i bring the bar down, that position happens to be the closest to a 90 degree angle of any if that means anything.

i would assume that when measuring strength, the best position depends on where the individual can lift the most and that the position is slightly different for everyone.

and remember, keep the bar above your nipples!!

I’m training for sports.Logically a closer grip makes more sense because as an offensive lineman you block with your hands tight together.I’m 5’8" but my arms are kinda long for such a short height.

I’m 5’8 also. I used to bench all the time with my pinkies inside the rings, later on I went to pinkies on the rings, which felt weird.

Now I’m at my strongest bench and I go ring finger on the rings. It works the best for me, and we’re the same height so maybe it could work for you. I definately think I’m more tricep lifter, my elbows are always tucked in when I bench.

But yeah after heavy bench with the ring finger on rings I always do close grips, so if your concerned with tricep strength just do more of that then too.

i have my pinky about “one finger” in from the ring.

my coaches always tell me to move my grip wider, i tell them to take a hike as i get a new pr.

I tuck my shoulder blades back and have what many consider to be good form, so I’m sticking with it.

[quote]MAS50 wrote:
Today I was doing a fundraiser for my high school’s athletic program and as a football player I had to bench press.People donated a certain amount of cash per pound we could bench press.Anyway I got 285 with a grip slightly outside the little lines on the bar.

Then I failed at 295.A freind of mine suggested scooting my hands in just a tad so my triceps would get more involved.I had always figured a wider grip involves more of your chest which is the bigger muscle,therefore more weight.Since I’m willing to take advice i tried this out and put up 295 without too much trouble.The thing is I had been using that type of grip about a year earlier and changed it to wider one in an attempt to break through a plateau.

This got me thinking what kind of grip is the best for getting the most out of as many muscle groups as possible for a big bench.What do you guys think?[/quote]

For your training I’d take a much closer grip. As a football player if you block with your hands out you’re giving your opponent a big target and you won’t have the power to control him. Get your triceps stronger and you’ll find locking people out is a hell of a lot easier.

Westside Barbell recommends training with closer grips because a close-grip hits the muscles that actually press the bar the best.

I don’t know much about this business where power lifters in actual competition take the widest grip possible but it seems to make sense to me since you then have to press the bar the shortest length and thus do less work.

You should just bench-press where you think you’re the strongest. That should be your guideline for when you go for a max.

I’m glad I started this thread.After we started spring I realized that I’m definitely gonna be better off moving my hands in.I had to block our DT who was 6’4" so obviously he had an armlength advantage.After practice I talked to my head coach about overcoming that disadvantage and he explained the best hand placement for situations like that.Sure enough hands close together benching into the opponent’s chest.Pretty much what daltron said.Thanks for all the help guys.