Time and time again for years I have witnessed athletes and the casual lifter alike set up to work on bench press and use the same grip placement over and over.
One of the keys to making gains and hitting new PRs is maximizing muscular recruitment as you train with each and every lift. The underlying principle behind all resistance training is knowing how to contract and recruit muscle. Today’s example is grip placement with the bench press.
The bench press is often used as one of those “marker” lifts that many strength coaches use to gage the progress of an athlete’s strength gains over time. There are many methods and technical aspects to making gains with the bench press. So many, in fact, I could write a book on bench pressing alone. However, today I’m only going to speak to grip placement.
The short answer to all of this is the closer the grip is toward the center line of the bar the triceps work more, and the wider grip progressively places the pecs on an island with very little assistance from surrounding muscle groups and you run a greater risk of compromising the integrity of the shoulder joint. Thus, your training needs to be calculated regarding how much load and volume you should train with relative to the grip placement.
Making strength gains on the bench are directly influenced by how well you have trained your ability to recruit muscle during a lift. Utilizing four different grip placements (from close to wide) during a training cycle will enhance your ability to maximize muscular recruitment and significantly increase the possibility of achieving a new PR on your next max day.
Meet the Author
Rob has over 30 years of professional experience in strength and conditioning. His know-how on Tsunami Bar products and how to implement them will take your fitness to new heights.