Bench Press Grip Width

Create: 01/02/2006 - 08:00
If you go into any gym and watch a handful of strong benchers bench, you'll more than likely notice them using a number of different grip widths. Which one is right? Is there a right grip width? A poster at Ryan Kennelley's Bench Monster forum asks:

Just wondering how all the strong benchers here decided on how wide of a grip to take. I compete with a shirt, but I am talking raw grip width here. If one wants to maximize their raw bench poundages, how wide should the grip be. the rule of thumb I have always gone by is to have my hands slightly wider than my elbows when the bar is touching the chest. Does this sound reasonable? Some people will say to adjust your grip width based on muscle strengths and weaknesses. I would rather simply correct my weaknesses. Hopefully that rambling made sense. So what do you guys have to say about raw bench grip width??

The answers reveal that the ideal grip width is best determined on a person by person basis:

Where somebody puts their fingers on the bar doesn't tell you much because everybody has different length arms. For me, my lower arm is vertical when the bar is on my chest. Sometimes I will go one finger on each side of that.

I agree that you would want your arms about vertical when on the chest. I would definately say that you wouldn't ever want your hands closer to one another than your elbows are. I guess I would ask you all, how much wider should your hands be compared to the elbows when the bar is on the chest?

One thing I've found is that the closer I bring my grip in, the easier it is to get off my chest, but the harder it is to lock out. A wider grip makes it tougher off the chest and easier at lockout.