T Nation

? of Form: AC, CW, CT

Me and my workout buddy got into a bit of a debate about the correct form for the close grip bench press. My friend is currently studying the ISSA course to become a personal trainer, and despite the fact that i’ve spent more time in my life lifting than he has, because of the damned ISSA course, he thinks he knows everything.

Anyway, this is the issue between us. He says that hand width for close grip bench presses should be 6 inches apart. I said about 10 to 12 inches apart would be better, because it allows better control of the bar, enabling the use of increased poundage. He said you’re better off using a lighter weight but keeping your hands closer together.

Personally, I think that using a heavier weight is paramount to develop powerhouse muscles like tri’s, and think that keeping your hands that close together puts too much of your focus on your forearms and wrists.

I welcome all feedback, but am appealing to the Three Coaches in question because those three happen to be his favorites.

[quote]Jprocrastinator wrote:
Me and my workout buddy got into a bit of a debate about the correct form for the close grip bench press. My friend is currently studying the ISSA course to become a personal trainer, and despite the fact that i’ve spent more time in my life lifting than he has, because of the damned ISSA course, he thinks he knows everything.

Anyway, this is the issue between us. He says that hand width for close grip bench presses should be 6 inches apart. I said about 10 to 12 inches apart would be better, because it allows better control of the bar, enabling the use of increased poundage. He said you’re better off using a lighter weight but keeping your hands closer together.

Personally, I think that using a heavier weight is paramount to develop powerhouse muscles like tri’s, and think that keeping your hands that close together puts too much of your focus on your forearms and wrists.

I welcome all feedback, but am appealing to the Three Coaches in question because those three happen to be his favorites. [/quote]

Form rules all. What would be the point of doing close grip bench incorrectly?

Add more weight when you can “actually” do the lift.

[quote]jbodzin wrote:

Form rules all. What would be the point of doing close grip bench incorrectly?

Add more weight when you can “actually” do the lift.[/quote]

I “actually” thought a 10" grip was correct form, that is how I was taught to do CGBP. After some further research, It appears that there really is no accepted way to do this exercise.
http://www.T-Nation.com/readTopic.do?id=459550

In this article Coach Poliquin advises doing the exercise with a 14" grip, for reasons astonishingly similar to mine. But if you take a look at Poliquin’s pipe-stem arms, he would probably benefit from doing it your way.

You must be twice as wide as me or something, when I do close grip bench my hands are about 6" apart.

Ahh, just read the article. When I use that grip I feel I start to use to much chest.

I think proper spacing is dependent on the person about to do the exercise. I’ve always prefered a shoulder width grip as opposed to anything narrower than that. I do recall seeing a study regarding the close-grip bench press in regards to grip width and comparing elbow and wrist torque for different grips along with activation in the triceps.

I tried to google it the other day and couldn’t find it. The results of the “study” that I can’t find was that too narrow of a grip puts excess stress on your wrists but it doesnt activate your triceps anymore than putting your hands out further i.e. shoulder width.

You and your buddy are arguing about two variations of the same exercise. Neither of you are right or wrong, though you’re right about load being the primary factor for developing the strongest triceps possible. If you’re talking about hypertrophy as the primary concern, though, either or would work fine.

-Dan

If your grip is too narrow, it flares the elbows out. If your grip is too wide - it pulls the elbows out.

IMO - if you are doing CGBP’s as a tricep exercise, the grip should be that which keeps the elbows as close to your side as possible. This allows for maximum load, and minimal chest recruitment.

I know if I used a 6" grip, my wrists would snap off, and I would bleed to death.

[quote]rainjack wrote:
If your grip is too narrow, it flares the elbows out. If your grip is too wide - it pulls the elbows out.

IMO - if you are doing CGBP’s as a tricep exercise, the grip should be that which keeps the elbows as close to your side as possible. This allows for maximum load, and minimal chest recruitment.

I know if I used a 6" grip, my wrists would snap off, and I would bleed to death. [/quote]

Amen!

Thanks for all the feedback. If I Can’t show my friend he’s wrong, I can at least give him some proof that my method isn’t incorrect either.