T Nation

My Close-Grip Bench is Much Stronger


yeah, it's weird...I can easily put up more weight, with better form, and more controlled, doing a close grip bench, then a standard or even a wide grip. I've never been a fan of the flat barbell bench anyway, I always find it awkward and I never could hypertrophy from it


How close are we talking here?

I use a fairly close grip - index fingers about 2" outwards from the central knurling. Wide grip benching is typically a BB thing as far as I know, and is not usually the best for putting up huge numbers. Some of the PL guys may wish to correct me on that.


Wide grip, elbows tucked, in a bench shirt or raw I guess, can reduce the range of motion, the increasing how much weight that can be pressed.


I remember a video where Dante uses a super wide-grip on incline smith so it's almost pure chest getting the workout. Doesn't use full ROM, but there's no reason to in that style.


The body is not stupid (usually) about protecting itself: it may be that your output for non-close-grip is limited by that factor.

Myself, I wish I had quit standard bench presses much sooner than I did, or better yet had never done them at all, though if never doing them, there would have been no way of learning I am not suited to them. There is nothing wrong having the hands about 14" apart (on most bars, inside of hands at the transition from smooth to knurled.)

Not that there is anything wrong with wider than that either, for those whose structures allow that safely.

On a related topic, there is also nothing wrong with keeping the range of motion an inch or two above the chest if one's structure is such that going all the way to the chest leads to shoulder problems or for whatever reason doesn't produce hypertrophy as well as the slightly reduced range press. Particularly if this inch or two above the chest still has the elbows dropping to bench level or under.


Yeah, it's at hands about 14" apart....I agree Bill, the standard bench has not done much for me at all. Even when I was younger, in high school and didn't have much knowledge of training, my biggest hypertrophy gains in my chest were from dips.

Not benching. I just am not suited for a standard grip. but close grip is just so much easier. Anyway, it looks much more badass to be putting up big weight with a close grip than a super wide one.