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Thread: Bench Grip Width

  1. #1
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    Bench Grip Width

    I've tried running a couple searches on bench grip for powerlifting training, but I am still confused on how wide your grip should be. Below is an image (not the best, but you are just able to see the smooth rings)



    Currently, my index finger is on the smooth ring for wide bench, is this too wide (for maxing and doing low reps)?

    I've gone from having my pinky on the smooth ring, to my middle finger on the smooth ring, to finally my current position which is index finger on smooth ring.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Anthony's Avatar
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    I'm pretty sure the widest you're allowed is 81cm, but it's good to vary your grip during training sessions (close, med, wide).
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    Jack's Utter Surprise Saturday Fever's Avatar
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    The wider your grip, the more you have to focus on the bar staying directly over your wrists and elbows. This will force you to keep your elbows tucked. This being just a safety heads up.

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    I wannabebig!
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    for more pec stimulation is it better to flare the elbows out or keep them closer to your sides?

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    By elbows being tuck, do you mean so that they never go past your wrists and palms?

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    Jack's Utter Surprise Saturday Fever's Avatar
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    By tucked I mean not flaring outwards. When you lift big (I unfortunately bench very small) flared elbows will lead to shoulder injury and torn pecs.

    Lay on the floor with your arms out wide as if you were benching. Now bring the imaginary bar straight down. As you do so, keep the bar, your wrists, and your elbows all in a straight line. Your elbows will naturally tuck. This is all assuming you're using a solid arch and bringing the bar to your sternum, true to PL form.

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    I did that little experiment of yours Saturday Fever with an actual bar (no weights), I use a fairly wide grip I believe, and when I brought the bar down its as if my arm made an 80-85 degree angle with my forearm, is tihs correct tucking form, or is this still considered flaring?

    Thanks again.

  8. #8
    Jack's Utter Surprise Saturday Fever's Avatar
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    http://66.235.16.23/training/2004_we...ench-555-3.wmv

    Watch that video. The camera angle makes it look like the bar is moving down his body as it descends, but try to focus on how his elbows stayed tucked. Hope that helps.

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    Senior Member Anthony's Avatar
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    Big Swinging Dick dxiw's Avatar
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    your grip needs to be wide enough so that you make a perfect recatangle with bar and forearms.. easy way: lower it to your chest - now grip it so that your forearms are perpendicular to the ground...problem solved and on the elbows.. never flare them outward if you do proper form which is a straight line over the nipples your elbows willl never flare out anyways..

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    En botella whey! Max-Mex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saturday Fever
    http://66.235.16.23/training/2004_we...ench-555-3.wmv

    Watch that video. The camera angle makes it look like the bar is moving down his body as it descends, but try to focus on how his elbows stayed tucked. Hope that helps.

    It is moving down his body. Hits his belly. I've never really understood that style of lifting. To me it seems the path is much longer that just going up and down.

    Anyhoo, elbows tucked will prevent stress on the shoulders as SF mentioned.
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  12. #12
    The BACK supirman's Avatar
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    While in that movie clip the movement of the bar to the abdomen is certainly exaggerated, a slight arc (convex to your head) follows the natural kinematics of the body. If you were to "just go up and down" as stated, your elbows will flair, thus reducing power and providing undue stress on the shoulder joints. After I learned the "proper" way to bench for weight from a friend, my bench skyrocketed.

    just my two cents
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    This is a quote from an article written by Dave Tate which contradicts what you just said supirman:

    4 – Push the bar in a straight line.

    Try to push the bar toward your feet. The shortest distance between two points is a straight line, right? Then why in the world would some coaches advocate pressing in a "J" line toward the rack? If I were to bench the way most trainers are advocating (with my elbows out, bringing the bar down to the chest and pressing toward the rack) my barbell travel distance would be 16 inches. Now, if I pull my shoulder blades together, tuck my chin and elbows, and bring the bar to my upper abdominals or lower chest, then my pressing distance is only 6.5 inches. Now which would you prefer? If you want to push up a bar-bending load of plates, you'd choose the shorter distance.

    Here's another important aspect of pressing in this style. By keeping your shoulder blades together and your chin and elbows tucked, you'll have less shoulder rotation when compared to the J-line method of pressing. This is easy to see by watching how low the elbows drop in the bottom part of the press when the barbell is on the chest. With the elbows out, most everyone's elbows are far lower than the bench. This creates a tremendous amount of shoulder rotation and strain.

    Now try the same thing with the elbows tucked and shoulder blades together while bringing the barbell to your upper abdominals. For most people, the elbows are usually no lower than the bench. Less shoulder rotation equals less strain on the shoulder joint. This means pressing bigger weights for many more years. I've always been amazed at trainers that suggest only doing the top half of the bench press, i.e. stopping when the upper arms are parallel to the floor. This is done to avoid the excess shoulder rotation. All they have to do is teach their clients the proper way to bench in the first place!
    I find this highly confusing because I've read in some places to do the "J Lift" but others saying push in a straight line. I've also read that you should use the "J Lift" when you are struggling with your weight only, but timing is critical. Maybe I should just experiment and see which I can use to push more weight with?

  14. #14
    The BACK supirman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alaric
    This is a quote from an article written by Dave Tate which contradicts what you just said supirman:



    I find this highly confusing because I've read in some places to do the "J Lift" but others saying push in a straight line. I've also read that you should use the "J Lift" when you are struggling with your weight only, but timing is critical. Maybe I should just experiment and see which I can use to push more weight with?
    With the excessive arches they use to bench, pro lifters certainly won't 'do the j', but I dunno, I think I use a very slight j and I bench a decent amount... I say do what works and doesn't hurt ya!
    Big? Not really. I'm 5'7" 196 lbs.
    Strong? Like a bull!

    Bodyfat currently at : dropping
    Personal Records:
    Bench - 440 (raw)
    Squat - 600 (belt & wraps)
    Deads- 585 (belt)

    ----------------------------------------------
    It’s a bird… It’s a plane… nope, it’s me soarin’ past everybody.

  15. #15
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    decent? I'd say 440 qualifies more as "pretty decent."

  16. #16
    Senior Member Anthony's Avatar
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    Alaric, there's a difference in bench styles between Westside and Metal Militia. I think the video shows the MM style, while a straight line would be Westside style.
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  17. #17
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    A lot of this is shirt-dependant as well. With a shirt it's easier (well, nothing is easier in a shirt) to keep everything in and tight, as the pecs are largely taken out of it. Raw benchers tend to bring the bar a bit higher on their body and flair more.

    I'm really focusing on bringing my elbows in, flairing is one of my (many) benching flaws. When they do stay in nice and tight, everything feels so much more comfortable.
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  18. #18
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    i've read that to determine your grip for benching you should place your hands apart the same distance they are when you go to the ground to do a push up. i guess whatever that grip is is what your natural strength is

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    Ah ok thank you for clarifying that Anthony.

    Borris - I've never tried putting on a shirt, nor do I own one because I do not lift competively. I believe I flair out my elbows just a bit too, but I'm going to get someone to double check this tomorrow when I do my negatives.

    Jazer80 - I read that too, the muscle media bench program outlines this.

  20. #20
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    ha that's where i read it (wait that's the one 'increase bench by 50 lbs' right?)

  21. #21
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    yeah the 50 lb bench program in 7 weeks.

  22. #22
    The BACK supirman's Avatar
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    You guys should realize that nearly everything in the magazines is crap and most likely won't work. The magazines are owned by supplement companies and they just want you to buy their stuff... plain and simple.

    Speaking of muscle media though, a friend of mine graced the cover a few times as well as some other magazines in the past. His cousin is JM Blakely of westside barbell (700+ lb bencher). JM taught him how to bench, and Dan in turn taught me. When I employed that form he taught me, my bench skyrocketed.

    IMO, form will help your lifts much more than "a super special training method."
    Big? Not really. I'm 5'7" 196 lbs.
    Strong? Like a bull!

    Bodyfat currently at : dropping
    Personal Records:
    Bench - 440 (raw)
    Squat - 600 (belt & wraps)
    Deads- 585 (belt)

    ----------------------------------------------
    It’s a bird… It’s a plane… nope, it’s me soarin’ past everybody.

  23. #23
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    i never said i actually did it, i do wbb and think it works fine. i just saw a link somewhere and gave it a peek (not with the intent of trying it). but ya the supplement companies are the fuking devil (though at large nutrition seems to have lots of cred around here). they hype up the most useless products, let us not forget 80$ for 20 days of arginine, or 60$ for creatine and sugar, etc. etc. i see this **** first hand every day cuz i work at gnc. i laugh when people come in and spend like over 100$ on a month's worth of muscle tech protein/creatine

  24. #24
    Senior Member Canadian Crippler's Avatar
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    I usually put my ring fingers (aka the fingers beside my pinkys) onto the ring. I think as long as your arms make around 90 degrees when bent, than its all good. Dont take my work for it though..
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  25. #25
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    well position on the bar doesn't matter because that is only a position relative to your shoulder width / arm length. by the way, after shock - are you're shnoop right?

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