T Nation

Help With Bench Press


hello guys,i've asked a few people and alsop posted here the same question.i'm happy with what i've done except my chest.i've done everything alot said go with a wide grip,so i did hey next day chest hurt like a son of a gun.great,next chest day benched same wayhands about 1 inch past ring on oly. bar,now no chest pain it seems like my shoulders got more of a excerise than anything else they hurt like hell.is it possible to go too wide?i'm really at a loss,and would like a decent chest,diet is ok,thanks alot



Yes, if you go wider, you put more pressure on the shoulder-comples.

Think of it like this. Your arms are supporting the weight. If your arms go straight up (shoulder width grip), you put only vertical pressure on the shoulders.

If you use a wider grip, the vertical component balancing the weight is the same, but the pressure in your arms is higher. And it has a horizontal component in the shoulders. It's like your shoulders are pressed together.

What has been advised (by Dave Tate if I remember correctly) is use less weight but squeeze the bar at the top. Like you want to move your hands closer together (without actually doing it of course). This will isolate the chest.
It's like a bench-press combined with a cable flye.


MARK982, I would try these options, first, when your benching, either flat, or inclined, do not lower the weight all the way down to your chest, and then again when pressing upward, do not fully extend to lockout. This will keep the tension on the entire chest and front shoulder areas, giving you a real good workout. Secondly, you can do Supersets, like flat bench barbell, then immediately flat bench dumbells, and so forth. This will really get the blood pumping, and allow you to add weight as you deem necessary.


Using soreness as a guide idea isn't a good way to judge if an excersise is effective.

For my chest I do alot of varied lifts, including dumbell presses, different grips, flys, dips and pushups.... dont be afraid to get out from behind the bar and try some other things :slightly_smiling:


My chest blew the first 15 years of training, and it's only been the last 3 years that it's become a decent bodypart. What's helped me personally...

1)Proper alignment is the most important thing. Squeeze the shoulder blades together, stick out & flex your chest (without arching), and keep the elbows wide, with the hands slightly angled in holding the bar. I hear people say keeping the elbows wide can cause shoulder injuries, but many times I don't think they're talking from real world experience. I had shoulder pain BEFORE I started flaring my elbows. Now my shoulders never hurt, and I lift heavier than ever.

2)Lowering reps on chest work. For way too many years, I did chest work in the 6-10 rep range. Once I lowered reps to 3-5 with high sets (6-10), my chest finally grew.

Somebody mentioned isometrically pushing inward on the barbell. That's worked well for me too, especially on incline presses. 1 1/2 reps have been successful too, with the 1/2 rep being in the bottom.

Cable bench presses (X Presses), where you go wide at the bottom and cross the hands over at the top are effective, as well as DB presses with low pulleys attached to your forearms with cuffs. These look goofy, but they work well.

And as odd as this sounds, deadlifts have added thickness to my chest.

Hang in there and don't give up. Even if your chest is behind the rest of your body genetically, there's no reason you can't build an impressive chest.


i took your advice and i seem to have less pain i keep my grip wider so i can flare my elbows seems like all these years i kept my elbows closer in with a narrower grip i developed pains....thanks