Proper bench press technique is something I very rarely see done correctly in many commercial gyms. That being said many gym goers are confused by how to complete a bench press and which grip works for them. In this blog I will firstly cover the set up for the bench press, moving onto the 3 types of grips you can use to get the most out of your bench.
The set up
There are 3 main cues to think about when completing a SAFE and EFFICIENT bench.
- The Arch – Yes, this is completely safe to do but very easy to do incorrectly. Arching your back allows you to maximise the use of your chest (instead of your shoulders) and a decreased bar path will lead to more weight being put on the bar. Ensure your arch more through your upper back (thoracic) then your lower back as arching through your lower back will not benefit your bench
- Pinch Shoulder blades – Ensure you plant the upper portion of your shoulder onto the bench during the set up. Squeeze your shoulder blades together like there is a grape in-between them that you are trying to crush. This tightens your set up to protect against injury.
- Bar Path – Ensure you hit a point that is BELOW not on your nipple line and the top of your sternum. Then drive the bar back to the starting position which should be directly above your shoulders.
Types of Bench press grips
Normal – What is considered a normal grip is ring/middle finger over the rings of the bar. This is the most typical grip which will engage your chest, triceps and shoulders. This should be the grip you want to be strongest in, so the close/wide grip bench should be used to complement it.
Close- Close grip bench is approximately 2 finger width in from the rings. This grip is used to further isolate the triceps during a benching movement. Typically if you’re strong off the chest but struggle during lock out this exercise would benefit your bench as the lock out is mostly triceps.
Wide – Finally wide grip bench isolates your chest, this grip is typically 1or2 fingers width from the ring on the bar. This grip is great for someone that struggles with the initial press off the chest during the bench press.
Remember these grips are to help assist your bench press (normal grip). They are either done as a secondary exercise after your bench or on a separate day to work on your weakness.