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Thread: Benching and thumbs: Supposed to wrap thumbs around the bar for safety?

  1. #1
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    Benching and thumbs: Supposed to wrap thumbs around the bar for safety?

    I read something that made sense once, but don't ask me where.

    You are supposed to wrap your thumbs around the bar to prevent the bar from falling onto you if you lose control.

    I'm looking at the "Bench Kings" article (not alloywed to post in the appropriate topic for some reason), and I see that they don't do that.

    I personally prefer the grip shown in the image with thumbs running parallel to the bar. I've successfully unlearned that cuz I heard it was safer, m'kay?



    Any thoughts? Does it matter? Can I go back to benching my favorite way?
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  2. #2
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    It's definitely safer to wrap the thumbs. You'll notice that all the pics from that article show them benching with at least 1 spotter, who I can only assume has a great deal of experience (so do the guys benching, I might add).

  3. #3
    Wannabebig Member lawndarts's Avatar
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    I don't believe your thumb has much to do with bench press. I've read that it all comes down to comfort. As for safety- you can do other things like use a spotter or bench inside the power rack. I used to bench with my thumbs back, but one time the pink dumbbells slipped and gave me a booboo (fabricated story).
    Last edited by lawndarts; 08-31-2010 at 07:29 AM.

  4. #4
    Moderator Off Road's Avatar
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    I just don't think it's worth the risk. You are still at a stage where you can get used to wrapping your thumbs, and it will become comfortable when things get really heavy and dangerous.
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  5. #5
    Shaunton
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    Mostly I would think it would come down to the weight you do, and if you think there is a problem with the way you are doing bench which is unsafe (ie no spotter).

    I personally dont, and probably wont wrap my thumbs, like lawndarts said, could be hurtful lols

  6. #6
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    Look up "bench press accidents" on youtube and you will want to wrap your thumbs around the bar. You'll get used to it quickly. Even if you had a 80lb bench if that slipped out of your hand you could cause some serious damage

  7. #7
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    I bench with a false grip, always in a power rack as well. I am actually stronger that way. I don't remember which article it was but Louie Simmons once wrote/spoke about trying to bend the bar when benching. This helps you to use your triceps more. For me (and a few others) using a false grip does this without having to think about it.

    Hope that helps. BTW, I trust a power rack way more than spotters but you definitely need to use at least one whenever benching, regardless of the grip.
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    I don't see how wrapping your thumbs around the bar is NOT comfortable.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by lawndarts View Post
    I don't believe your thumb has much to do with bench press. I've read that it all comes down to comfort. .

    It can help you guide the bar back into the 'groove' should your form waver slightly. With the thumbs in the ''suicide grip'" position it is more difficult.

    Also http://www.wannabebig.com/forums/sho...he-Bench-Press

    See the last two sentences of the 4th paragraph for relevance to the topic.
    Last edited by Songsangnim; 08-31-2010 at 10:57 PM.

  10. #10
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    i use a thumbless grip. i find it to be far more comfortable although it is more dangerous. even using a grip with thumbs and a spotter, if you lose your groove, odds are your spotter will be completely unprepared (almost guaranteed if its a random) and you will still eat the bar.. having said that, the position of your head relative to the bench rails should be considered.

  11. #11
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    Going suicide grip takes stress off of your pecs and distributes it elsewhere. I'm 90% sure I read that from Dave Tate.
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  12. #12
    big on TONING dynamo's Avatar
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    if your thumbs can stop hundreds of pounds from rolling out of your hands i want them. then it comes to your wrist/forearm, if they can counteract the momentum of weight rolling out of your hands that your thumbs are sure not to let go i want them too and if your shoulders and back are strong enough to restabilize the weight after youre sure your wrist/forearms and thumbs wont give out given the awkward angle you've just placed your arms at i'll take a set of those too.

    Just set up properly keep your head in the game and have confidence. I went from using my thumbs to suicide grip because my thumbs pushed the weight to far back in my hands causing me to put ridiculous stress on my forearms.
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  13. #13
    Super Moderator vdizenzo's Avatar
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    I have benched 605 raw in competition and 820 in a bench shirt. Both were done with a false grip (no thumbs). If the bar is going the wrong way with that much weight, thumbs are not going to help at all.


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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by dynamo View Post
    if your thumbs can stop hundreds of pounds from rolling out of your hands i want them. then it comes to your wrist/forearm, if they can counteract the momentum of weight rolling out of your hands that your thumbs are sure not to let go i want them too and if your shoulders and back are strong enough to restabilize the weight after youre sure your wrist/forearms and thumbs wont give out given the awkward angle you've just placed your arms at i'll take a set of those too.

    Just set up properly keep your head in the game and have confidence. I went from using my thumbs to suicide grip because my thumbs pushed the weight to far back in my hands causing me to put ridiculous stress on my forearms.
    No one has said that. If hundreds of pounds are rolling out of your hands, they are rolling out of your hands. But you can be out of the "groove" slightly and still recover. Bill Starr also advocates using the thumbs for this purpose.

    Now if you are an elite lifter use whatever grip works for you.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Rugg's Avatar
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    10 people a year die bench pressing. Read that again, they DIE while bench pressing. Thats all Im gonna say.

  16. #16
    Super Moderator vdizenzo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rugg View Post
    10 people a year die bench pressing. Read that again, they DIE while bench pressing. Thats all Im gonna say.
    This can be very misleading if you are making the argument for the standard grip. Are they using a standard grip or thumbless? Also, where is your source.


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  17. #17
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    Just use your thumbs

  18. #18
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    Ultimately the choice is yours...just know the dangers involved. If you don't then do a youtube search for the former USC player Stafon Johnson...this guy had a spotter while using the suicide grip and dropped 275lbs on his neck.

    For a guy like me with unimpressive numbers, the risk does not justify the rewards. Obviously I will continue to challenge myself because I believe weight training, more than any other sport, is all about personal responsibility because it is such an individual pursuit.
    Last edited by riptied1; 09-07-2010 at 07:41 AM.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by riptied1 View Post
    Ultimately the choice is yours...just know the dangers involved. If you don't then do a youtube search for the former USC player Stafon Johnson...this guy had a spotter while using the suicide grip and dropped 275lbs on his neck.

    For a guy like me with unimpressive numbers, the risk does not justify the rewards. Obviously I will continue to challenge myself because I believe weight training, more than any other sport, is all about personal responsibility because it is such an individual pursuit.
    I am certain more than grip had soemthing to do with dropping the bar on his neck in that situation. The bar shouldn't be anywhere near your neck except for the racking process, unless something goes terribly wrong. Which again, points to the spotters and safety aspect more so than the grip used.


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    Cardio bunny Alex.V's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Songsangnim View Post
    No one has said that. If hundreds of pounds are rolling out of your hands, they are rolling out of your hands. But you can be out of the "groove" slightly and still recover. Bill Starr also advocates using the thumbs for this purpose.

    Now if you are an elite lifter use whatever grip works for you.
    Kind of where I am on this. If the weight's just out of position a bit, the thumbs can put 40-50 pounds of pressure to stop a roll, or give you the leverage to keep it in the groove. 400 pounds is only putting about 30 pounds of pressure on your thumbs at a 5 degree angle... much past that and you're toast anyway.

    For newer lifters, the extra control the full grip gives keeps some discipline to the movement.

    For elite lifters... all bets are off. You know how to bench, you know how the bar behaves, and if you lose it it'll likely be for some other reason.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by joey54 View Post
    I am certain more than grip had soemthing to do with dropping the bar on his neck in that situation. The bar shouldn't be anywhere near your neck except for the racking process, unless something goes terribly wrong. Which again, points to the spotters and safety aspect more so than the grip used.
    Honestly I can't put blame on the spotter in that situation...Aren't we always advocating that spotters keep their hands off the bar until they're absolutely needed? I realize that a bar slipping out of the lifters hands qualifies as "absolutely needed" but is it fair to expect someone to catch the bar slipping out of the lifter's hands? The reaction time would have to be superhuman. The responsibility of the spotter is to help the lifter if the weight becomes more than he/she can handle. I'm sure we all recognize the dangers involved with lifting so some responsibility must fall on the lifter.

    I do agree with you about the safety aspect. All bench press benches should be equipped with roll bars like those in the Dave Tate bench form video.
    Last edited by riptied1; 09-08-2010 at 07:32 AM.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Rugg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vdizenzo View Post
    This can be very misleading if you are making the argument for the standard grip. Are they using a standard grip or thumbless? Also, where is your source.
    I originally heard that figure in a Rippetoe video on bench pressing. But here is a document with some interesting numbers.

    http://www.cpsc.gov/LIBRARY/FOIA/foi...f/weightlt.pdf

    While my original post was sensationalized for effect, the intent was to illustrate that unless you're a professional power lifter who actually gains some benefit from the suicide grip, using the standard hand position is probably safer considering just how many accidents are attributed to this particular exercise.

    Case in point:

    Video


    Last edited by Rugg; 09-08-2010 at 09:34 AM.

  23. #23
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    Thumbs and bench pressing

    I also was worried about my suicide grip- so I dropped the weight and tried to build back up with the wrapped thumb grip.

    At a certain weight- probably anything over 225- I get painful pressure through my elbows and shoulders.

    My positions are very strict and limited due to shoulder surgeries.

    So- I just make sure my safety bars are set properly and go suicide when the pain kicks in.

    One size does not fit all

    *** advice please on head position- I had read an article that stressed keeping the head firmly preesed back into the bench and then noticed that I was lifting my head during the lift.

    Is it OK to jam a pad under your head or does that still negate the positives by keeping your head pressed flat ?
    Last edited by BROWNTBDD; 09-09-2010 at 08:23 AM.

  24. #24
    Super Moderator vdizenzo's Avatar
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    From the vid I guess I can see some point, but I just can't understand how that happens. I have a crazy tight grip on the bar even though I don't use my thumbs. I can do reverse curls without wrapping my thumbs with over a 100 lbs.

    Here's a public service announcement for anyone who wants to use a false grip "Squeeze the bar into your palm with your fingers."

    By the way, sensationilizing something is better known as lying. Please stop exaagerating. Also, not one of those deaths is attributed to false grip benching. See how much thumbs being wrapped helped the guy below. There are plenty more vids where this one came from.

    Video
    .
    Last edited by vdizenzo; 09-11-2010 at 12:39 AM.


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