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Why Is No One Benching Like the Golden Era Guys Anymore?

You look at how Arnold benched in Pumping Iron. Really wide stance and using suicide grip (thumbs not on the other side of the bar), I tried every way of benching and nothing ever felt as good as this, I never went back. Is it because it is way harder? I honestly can bench way more using medium stance and non-suicide grip but I don’t because I am here to build my chest in the most efficient way possible, not to just move weights around. People say wide grip can cause more injuries but I disagree, if you are lifting what you can’t handle then yes.

Now that u mention it there’s less and less of that combination of styles going around.

For wide grip styles anecdotally, anatomically and scientific research wise there’s a fair amount of evidence of greater risk of injury. Still it’s used often enough maybe with less volume/intensity/frequency maybe by individuals who have anatomy or shoulder health favourable to benching in that style.

Suicide grip may have some benefits but most people have decided it may not outweigh the increased risk of dumping the weight on yourself.

So seperate aspects but similar reasons for them being less popular It boils down to risk v reward: bodybuilding and other barbell disciplines benefit from consistently being pain and injury free (not dying in the case of suicide grip lol) while also being able to push yourself sustainably without fearing any of those taking you out of the game for any period of time. It’s not a mega high risk at the end of the day though so many choose to bench wide and suicide grip to get some benefits.

I personally love wide grip. I managed to see the likes of a personal PR of 205lbs, using strictly wide grip when I went for 1RMs.

I would say injury wise it’s dependent on the individual. I didn’t really notice anything out of the ordinary with wide grip, but lately I’ve doing a wide-somewhat-medium grip, and my shoulders occasionally get stiff and cranky.

I think rotating this variation in has its benefits though.


I’m not a strong bencher, but I align my ring finger to the smooth ring on the bar which, if I’m not misremembering, is wider than maximum-allowed width in a competition (not that it matters to me). If I use a more narrow grip, my scalenes will tighten up after a single session, which also affects all my overhead movements. And so, wide-grip it is.

With regards to the squat, deadlift, bench and overhead press I only wrap my thumb around the bar on the deadlift, i.e., I suicide grip pretty much exclusively. I will, however, hook-grip a clean or a snatch.

To be fair, I have long arms, 190cm, at a height of 186cm.

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Index finger on rings


Max width is that your index finger needs to completely cover the smooth ring at its widest, or strictly put none of the ring can be visible inside your grip.


I used to bench wider when I was more interested in size than strength. (Or more specifically, when I didnt know i liked strength training more) and definitely bummed up my shoulders. Typically I work my way in and out the bar over time, between getting more power and giving my shoulders some reprieve.

Regarding false grip, I’ve had my hands snap forward on me twice, once with false grip, that was an ugly situation that left a nasty mark on my chest for several weeks. I dont know if this is common or not, but under heavy loads, when I start to get tired my hands have a tendancy to do this.

But, if it’s working for you, just be careful and enjoy what you do

Not sure if this was in reference to me, but suicide grip has so far treated me well. That’s really the only part of my lifting that I don’t see any reason to question.

With barbell benching I feel that my current grip width is “okay”. I don’t think it is costing me that much in the strength department, as I’m not strictly emploring rep ranges primarily conducive to strength anyway. However, I could maybe stand to bring it in a tad. I read somewhere that about 1.5 shoulder width is a good marker for most, so maybe 1.6 for a taller person.

I do have an unhappy shoulder, but I’m not convinced its related to my benching. In fact, I don’t even suspect my benching as a culprit. Physio on Thursday, I suppose I’ll learn what’s what then.

For the life of me I cannot figure out a good grip width on the overhead press. I suck at it whatever width I roll with.

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I have seen two people dump big weights onto their chests using suicide grip. It isn’t worth the risk IMO. Both were fine, but it is something that could result in serious injury or death.

You only saw people who happened to use suicide grip to have the barbell fell into their chest. Truth is people who use normal grip also experienced that. It’s not the one extra tiny finger that can prevent barbell to fall on their chest. If these people were using normal grip, outcome would still be the same

I agree. Strength actually doesn’t decrease much but I felt I am using my chest way more. So I tend to lower the weight a bit more just to not overstretch and hurt my pecs.

I believe these people would not have dropped the weight if using regular grip. I have never seen anyone with a regular grip drop the weight on their chest (and in both cases with the suicide grip it was over 400 lbs, so its not like they were beginner benchers), and 90% or so of people who bench use a regular grip.

So 2 out of about 10 I have witnessed use this grip have dropped weight onto their chest, and 0/100+ using regular grip have not dropped weight onto their chest.

I am not saying not to do it. I think statistically your chances of that occurring are much higher. To me the risk vs reward is obviously not in my favor. Might be different for you.

And yes, that extra finger around the barbell does in fact help keep the barbell in the hands (this should be common sense).


I like suicide grip a lot. But this is hilarious. Yes, the “one extra tiny finger” that is the only finger on the other side of the barbell can prevent barbells from falling on someone’s chest. In general, referring to opposable thumbs as “one extra tiny finger” is a bit reductionist, haha.


Obviously false grip is named suicide grip due to the likelihood of causing harm user, but the hands becoming tired throughout the lift can result in pushing “through” the bar in a sense.

You can see in the video that while some are using a false grip, a lot of them are wrapping their hands fully around the bar and it still slips out. Whether this is due to sweat accumulation or the hands not being accustomed to the load, I have no clue.


If bar is set up to high or low in the hand/palm then I can see this happening with a regular grip

This. Absolutely. I honestly cant replicate how it happens with a full grip. which scares me a bit. But like… if I tried to move that weight forward with just my wrists, I dont know if I could, however its happened as just a literal twitch. Half a second, and almost lost 300lbs on my chest. However, had I not had a full grip l, I would have absolutely dumped it.

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This has happened to me twice with fat gripz. I no longer use fat gripz on the bench…

Maybe I’m just not benching heavy enough, but I’ve never had twitches or scares with either regular or false grip. Can’t quite imagine how it comes about. I’ve failed plenty, been pinned a few times, but always a strength problem, not a.dumped bar.

You’ve probably got in set well low in the palm of your hand. If it was in ur fingers…

This scene came up on my suggested YouTube videos. Fucking creepy bastards.

Anyway, the grip is nowhere near as scary as that bench lol Imagine unloading that monstrosity, it’s gotta have taken our a few dozen guys lol