T Nation

Reverse Grip Bench Press


Was thinking about giving these a try. I have done them before, although kind of sporadically. My intent is to do them for tri's primarily, although I have seen some do them on bench day. I remember that powerlifter Anthony Clark used to use a reverse grip when setting records, unbelievable.

For those that do them how wide is your grip? I'm guessing I shouldn't go too wide if focusing on tri's. Then lower to sternum and just press straight up. I never take a liftoff on bench, but I guess you would need one for these, at least until you get used to them.



Hmm, having second thoughts now, based on this article. Although this is more from a powerlifting perspective...


I have been doing these for a little while now as a triceps exercise and am a fan so here are my suggestions:

  1. Do them in a smith. If your smith is on an angle, face the bar in the way that when you press you are pushing towards your feet.

  2. I use a pretty wide grip myself and still find it hits my triceps. I place my hands on the outside of the rings on the bar.

  3. I recommend gloves as you go up in weight as I have found that my hands start to slip.

  4. Use a thumbless grip.


My thoughts are... Since you mentioned reverse grip record benching... From what i have read, reverse grip benching came in favor very quicly because a few were able to set records by reverse benching more than anyone could traditionaly bench. This is because if you take a wide grip your range of motion is less than a traditonal bench. But powerlifting banned it in competition because there were a lot of injuries. Wide grip reverse benching caused injury after injury. But.. from also what I have read if you keep a more shoulder with grip its a great tricep exercise.


I implemented reverse wide-grip Smith presses 3 weeks ago as one of my triceps staples, and I'm loving them. My set up is actually the exact same as the above, except I don't use gloves and I use my thumbs.

I think these do a better job hitting the tris than close-grip bench presses. One reason might be that when I start getting tired on the CGBPs, my elbows start to flare out, and I begin to use my pecs more. When you're doing the reverse wide-grip presses, it's tough to use much chest because your elbows are tucked in big time.


When doing this exercise I find it pulls in a lot of use from the front delts as well.
I use a narrow, thumbless grip.
Feel them a great deal more than regular close grip bench


I use a narrow, thumbless grip. I find it brings a lot of use from the front delts as well as the medial head of the tri.
Works well with my program.


In my experience, the closer the bar is to your head, the more your front delts will be activated. I've noticed that when I bring the bar down to around the middle of my sternum, I can really feel it in my front delts (in addition to my triceps), but if I bring the bar down to my upper abs, I hardly get any delt activation.

However, like you mentioned, it all depends on what muscle group(s) you're trying to hit.


I do the DC SRGBP (Smith reverse grip bench press) because of my shoulder problems flaring up right now. I find it is a suitable replacement for lockouts I normally prefer, although I use more weight with lockouts.


For bodybuilding purposes:

  • in the smith
  • wide to very wide grip
  • only grip the bar with thumb and index finger(perhaps middle finger too, if you want), the other fingers just sort of hang around.
  • Let the bar lie in the crease that the flesh of your hand makes.
  • Wrist wraps help.
  • Scapulae retracted etc, the whole standard setup, though DC trainees like to alter that a little by placing the bench so that only the shoulders/upper back and the low back are on the bench, not the butt.
  • Think of it as squeezing the bar up (albeit rather fast) instead of just pushing or lifting the weight.

IMPORTANT: Instead of just pressing upwards, press towards your feet (try to) against the smith's rails as well as up. Helps take the strain off the delts and involves the long-head more.