Origin Of The Maximum Bench Press Grip Width

Create: 12/02/2005 - 14:36
A poster at Go Heavy wonders where the current rule for maximum width of a bench press grip of 32 inches/ 81 cm comes from. Rickey Dale Crain offers up the only answer to this point, even though it's far from definitive. I'm sure others will follow.

i have checked with people who were around when the rules were written in the 60's and this number was just decided on...no one seems to know why though..

If you can add any more information, be sure to head on over there.


Many powerlifting rules came from Olympic lifting. The hand spacing on the bar for the bench is the same as the rule for hand spacing on the snatch in olympic lifting. The hand spacing serves no particular reason today. Many of the heavier lifters have hands so large that their hands won't go wider any way, unless we start using wider benches and bars.

Submitted by admin on
That's interesting, thanks for contributing irondawg. Any idea why that was the width set for the snatch? Personally, I could move my hands out quite a bit farther if the rule was eliminated.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
I can't say where I remember reading this, but I recall that the max width grip for bench press is the same as that of the snatch (oly lift). I guess powerlifting adapated it. U could check to see if they are the same width. I believe they are since a lot of us lift with "olympic" bars.

Submitted by admin on
If it is arbitrary or borrowed from Olympic lifting, maybe it's time to reconsider the rule. At least one federation is doing just that. The WNPF has made a rule change for next year allowing for a 34" wide grip.