Hand Spacing on Raw Bench

I have always had my best bench (still relatively modest at that) using a of grip of my pinky probably an inch or inch and a half inside the rings. i’m about 5’9" and about 200 lbs and relatively average limb length, chest etc for a powerlifter that size. i watched some dave tate benching videos and decided to try something a little different.

I went a little wider yesterday with less than stellar results. (tried pinky on ring,middle finger on ring and index finger on ring)

At my peak, my close grip (index finger adjacent the smooth part of texas power bar) was about 90% of my best bench and equal to my inclince.

Where do other raw benchers grip?

What muscles should i focus on if i want to give a wider bench a good try?

or is it just a technique change?

I wouldn’t worry about changing anything. Just use the form that allows you to move the most weight possible. That’s what powerlifting is.


A very wise man told me early on to assume a “powerful” push-up position where everything felt tight from the bottom of the movement through the top and from lats through chest…look at your hands, that’s your best hand placement to bench from raw.

wide false grip thumbs on rings.

thats how i bench.

[quote]HARA wrote:
A very wise man told me early on to assume a “powerful” push-up position where everything felt tight from the bottom of the movement through the top and from lats through chest…look at your hands, that’s your best hand placement to bench from raw.[/quote]

A very wise man indeed. That how I ended up with my current hand position!

I bench with a pretty close grip, pretty comparable to a pushup position. I started doing it that way to bring up my triceps and I quickly got stronger on that bench grip than I was with my index fingers on the rings or pinkys on the rings like I had been doing in the past. I am stronger and it is easier on my shoulders, win win.

Moral of the story: do what works for you.

i usually bench with index fingers on the rings. now im doing pinky on rings and it feels good. 2 weeks of it so far and feeling strong. will see where this gets me.

Raw benchers don’t always need to be super wide, unlike most shirted benchers. The wide grips seem to be the best for thicker lifters with shorter arms. Most feel it is a bit safer on the shoulder joint to lift with a closer grip as well. I rarely go outside pinky on the rings except for some light weight rep out stuff. It is not that uncommon for your closegrip to be about 90% of raw bench, that is pretty standard assuming you train the lift. My closegrip is way better than incline but I haven’t inclined in a long while.

BTW I read your post on Mike Robertson’s article, your strength level is fine to compete and it doesn’t matter about age or any of that shit, if you really want to do it then do it, if not so be it. At the very least go to a meet and watch one and you will realize everybody there is supportive and helpful and it is not just about the guys lifting the most weight. I am just giving you a gentle nudge because I know you will like it. I helped a guy do a meet last weekend that squatted 280, benched 155, and deadlifted 350. Not incredible numbers but good for him and he loved it and had a great time and he did well for where he was at in that moment and time and that is all anybody can ask and no one laughed at him, let me assure you of that. Try it, you will not regret it.

Personally I put my pinky just inside rings. But it’s all preference. Experiment.

I am relatively short 5’6 and I have terribly short arms (kills my deadlift hahaha)… Anyways, I bench full grip with index finger on the rings. I find it is more efficient given the short press and if you get a good arch and tuck, the shoulders stay very healthy. That being said, my close grip is not that far behind my full grip because strong triceps is obviously key to shirted benching.

Middle finger on rings for both raw and shirted. I prefer benching with a more narrow grip but tend to ding my bicep tendon in that position. Wider is actually easier on my shoulders.

Been moving mine out for the last 4 months a finger at a time. Tried putting it out to index on the ring this past week and managed to set 3 PR’s.

I have long arms and I’ve always been way more powerful with between index and middle finger on the smooth. Not only do I not have to move the bar as far, but I’ve always felt way more powerful from that position. Granted, most of my training is with a close or medium grip so my supraspinitus doesn’t constantly scream bloody murder.

For 1-5ish reps, on Reverse grip bench (my strongest style), pinkies about an inch outside the rings, so pretty damn wide. For regular bench, index fingers on rings. For higher reps, I bring it in an inch or two.

I’ve always done middle finger on the rings, but I’ve felt stronger now that I’ve moved my thumb to the ring.

i bench ring finger on the ring… thats why it’s called a ring finger, right??

[quote]Steel Nation wrote:
Wider is actually easier on my shoulders.[/quote]

x2. I have pretty long arms and closer grip just hurts…

I have really long arms. 6foot9 etc etc 7foot wingspan

I used to do close grip or medium grip = tightness in traps/shoulders, and very low numbers on bench due to the bar always coming out of the proper bar path.

Now I do pinky on rings, same amount of arch, and am lifting more weight, the bar path is a lot smoother/technique better and no tightness/pain issues.

This needs to be emphasised as Ive had it drummed in to me that closer grip is safer on shoulders yet this doesnt seem to be my experience

My regular bench grip is about an inch wider than my close grip. Which is about equal to a pushup position for me.