T Nation

Proper Bench Grip

I have a problem with my bench grip: until recently, I’ve benched with bent wrists. Then I read that’s bad. So then I tried with completely straight wrists. My thumbs almost fell off. Then I tried to make the barbell rest in the heel of my hand. However, I need to rotate my hands to achieve this grip, so I can’t get a nice, tight grip.

Ok, so how DO I grip the bloody bar?

use straight wrists. Crush the bar in your hands

If I understand this correctly, you may be still trying to wrap your thumb around the bar. DON’T! The grip you need is overhand (i.e. thumb on same side as fingers). Then use the grip mentioned with the bar in the heel of the hand (effectively this WILL give you a straight wrist). Takes a little practice, and you may find you have to drop the weight a little at first. However, due to the power benefits of a straight connection between chest/arm and bar, very soon your lifts will push past your previous max. You’ll find that your hand heel becomes more fleshy and muscular to hold the bar in the correct orientation easily. I think if I remember correctly Ian King has written some great articles on pressing technique. Do a search. Good luck. SRS

SRS’s advice says what I was gonna say. However, had to comment- by your last sentence I can only guess you’re either a Brit, or an Ozzie. I’m originally from the other side too. Every time I use the old B… word, I get some stupid wise cracks from my friends here in US!

If you have ever had a bad day in the gym where you are not concentrating properly or are thinking of powerlifting I would NOT recomend using a thumbless grip. While I have heard that it does help keep the bar in a better position (ie the line from the elbow through the forearm bones to wrist to weight is straighter), I have seen people drop the weight on their chest because they did not have their thumb around the bar. Also if you powerlift it is an ILLEGAL grip. I dont know why it is illegal but it is. There was a big discussion about this on the supertraining list a while ago.

SRS - thanks man, I realize now that I shouldn’t hook the thumb. Much appreciated.

DocR - actually I’m Canadian, but thanks for asking. I just like the word “bloody”.

Bleedin’ yanks. Lot o’ bloomin tosspots. Wouldn’t know propah bloody English if they ‘eard it. Butcherin’ the Queen’s English. It’s a crime, it is.