T Nation

newbie question....but confused.

When i bench, is it nessecary to place my hands with my index finger on the olympic ring? Would this isolate my chest the most? Also when benching with my hands positioned like so it seems that my hand is going to get cought by the bench brackets? Sometimes i think im on the wrong ring.

(h)|  |  |------|  |  |(H)

H is where my hands are and the gap in the middle is obviously the smooth part of the bar.

I usually place my pinkie on the o-ring, or sometimes my index finger. A wider grip obviously targets your “outer” pecs, whereas a narrower grip will target your “inner” pecs. Although we all know there is no such thing as outer and inner, anecdotally it seems to be the case. Try using 3 grips: narrow, medium and wide.


jwright is right! Once you grab that bar both your inner and outer pecs will get about equal work.

However, when you take a more narrow grip your Triceps will get more of the work over your chest.

What are your particular goals in doing Barbell Bench Presses? Pure strength? Hypertrophy? Conditioning for a particular sport?

The above is important to know as it will determine not only where you hold the bar but also your set, rep, time scheme.

I have used to use the pinky on the ring, over the past couple of months I have started using a slightly narrower grip, about an inch inside of the 0-rings

I agree with Jwright, mix your grips. I started doing this last month and I have seen a decent increase to my Bench.

I alternate using a differnt grip each set, inside the rings, to just outside. Sometimes you risk crushing your fingers or smacking your elbows, so it can take some time to find your groove.

My goal is raw strength. I will use my index finger on the o-ring because im a bigger guy with longer arms. Thanks people.

Yeah, I forgot to add that height and arm length matter. Taller people obviously need a wider grip for the same effect as a shorter person. Still, if I’m going for raw strength and I’m pyramiding, I use only 1 grip: Wide. If I’m doing a speed workout or going for hypertrophy, I use all 3 grips.

The ring is only there as somewhat of a “navigation” point to let you know where your hands are on the bar. Go with whatever feels the most comfortable for you(a narrow-medium grip is probably the way to go).

A narrow/medium grip will train my triceps, why would i want to do that on a chest day? I’ll go with the medium/wide. and train my triceps when i do dips.

Sounds like majoring in minor things. just pick a grip that is comfortable for you and get to work. Your pecs will get a workout.

Mike Mahler

The grip you choose is individual. Length of one’s arms alone would change the grip.

Where do you feel comfortable?

In the end, it’s probably best to vary your grips, depending on what your goals are.

sometimes the rings are different on different bars.

If your goal is raw strength, I would stay away from narrow grip and focus more with a wider grip. So once again use the ring as more of a landmark, that way you each time you bench you can use the same spot.

I’ve seen different bars with the rings in different places. I just try and grip so that when the bar is down on my chest my arms are roughly perpendicular to the ground. I’m a little over six foot tall so my arms aren’t short. That puts my index finger on the rings on most bars though some days I go a little wider for variety’s sake.