Bench Press – Wide Or Narrow Grip?
Bench press remains one of the most popular and efficient ways to build chest muscle. There are a number of variations to this exercise including dumbbells, barbells and resistance machines. You can even alter the angle at which your chest moves the weight (otherwise known as flat, inclined or declined bench).
This where we reach the final variable – grip position. Everyone has their own opinion on it when it comes to lifting, with some sticking to a grip which is most comfort and others who completely ignore any biological explanation. If you’re undecided on where to place your hands, then be sure to cross over to Fitness Beans, where they discuss the pros and cons of both wide and narrow grips:
Simply speaking, if you select a close grip position, with both hands being slightly less than shoulder width apart, you significantly shift the load offered by the resistance away from your chest muscles and onto your triceps muscles.
It is also important to note that this close grip position also significantly reduces the load placed through the shoulder region but enhances the stress placed on your wrists.
Conversely, the wide grip position places the triceps muscles into a position of disadvantage where they are unable to exert as much against the resistance offered.
This position however, emphasizes the chest and shoulder musculature to a significantly greater extent and places these two power muscle regions into a position where they are able to exert their effects maximally.
So in conclusion, you’re really better off doing a mixture of both. A wide grip will place more stress on the chest and shoulder joints, whilst a narrow grip will emphasize the triceps muscles and add extra weight onto the wrist joints. Keeping your workouts varied will help you to consistently push your body to its limits.
About Matt Lawson Matt Lawson is a UK based sports journalist who covers all the latest football (soccer) news and matches for the Press Association. A keen Newcastle United fan, Matt is usually found either watching or playing the beautiful game.