T Nation

Using a Thumbless Grip for Benching


I usually wrap my thumbs around the barbell when benching. I workout with a friend and he uses a thumb less grip. I've told him that its kind of dangerous to do so, but its not like we're benching a ton of weight anyways (210 lbs ish). I do agree with him on one thing. When using a thumb less grip it feels like I do have more power under the bar.

I was wondering what most people do?


The basis behind it (as I understand) is that thumb less grip forces you elbows to be tucked in (a bit) allowing your triceps to help in the lift compared to you elbows being flared out. Just my understanding about it many would have different opinions.

I use thumb less grip with close grip bench and rows. I feel like I have a better grip on it as well (If that makes any sense in which it shouldn't due to the thumb locks the grip).

Hoped I helped.


i lock thumbs in, but after the USAPL meet, i think i might make some changes, cuz theyre rules are so damn stupid!


1st post!!

I am far from a pro (strength wise I'm a beginner in my eyes) but from my experiences with both grips, the thumbless grip can put a lot of stress on your wrist when you start to go up in weight. The thumbless version helped a lot in HS as I was able to bench well over 400lbs with that grip. I began encountering many shoulder injuries and began tweaking my form in many ways (elbows closer in, legs tucked under) but nothing helped until I changed my grip. My lifts began going up and my wrist and shoulders feel great.

The "locked" grip may feel uncomfortable when transitioning from the thumbless version but if you can keep the bar place low in your palm (close to your wrist) it will help you keep your wrist straight and allow you place more force onto the bar.


That reminds me, I do use a thumb less grip on my pull-ups and feel like its okay. If I do happen to slip I'll fall about 1 foot to the ground anyways.


It's also known as a suicide grip. Here's why:


When pressing using suicide grip it forces you to extend the wrist which, when using a heavy weight isn't too smart. Sure you can handle a decent amount of weight when starting out but as you approach your max potential the little things start to matter.

You can put more force through a straight wrist joint than a bent one which is why you see a lot of power lifter wrap their wrists. A stable joint is a strong joint. Get your form right now so you don't have to bother re learning the lift later.


I watched someone drop 225 on there chest it was not funny. wrap your thumbs! There is no benifit to suicide grip


I personally witnessed this very thing happen to a guy who had 405 on the bar. He ended up in ICU for a night but was fortunate to have no serious injuries. I changed my grip from that day forward.


So what would you call this grip?

Accidents happen with both grips!


That accident had nothing to do with grip.


Dave Tate recommends wrapping your hands around the bar and squeezing the shit out of it (this means you use your thumbs around the bar). Since he benches WAY more than I do, I'll stick with what he preaches.


Most of the really big strong guys I've seen lift (either in person or on YouTube) use a thumbless grip. This is what made me first try it..I like it alot but have only used it on incline bench so far.