Bench Press Grip

since a lot of focus has been on bench & Squats, what grip does everyone use for Bench Press?

Some have their middle finger on “the rings”, some like their ring finger, and those who like to blast their triceps have their pinkie on the rings.

I’m sure Dave Tate & the Westside guys have an opinion on this.


One point to make is different bars have the rings in different places on the bar. Some bars the rings are quite close to the end of the knurling though most that I’ve seen are a little further out. I have my athletes vary their grips from set to set so as to change the workload distribution among the involved muscle groups. One set close, one set wide, one set moderately wide, etc.

Westside, normally train with their grip within the rings - as they are focusing on the triceps, and puting less stress on the shoulder joints.

On their dynamic bench speed day, they generally use 3 differents widths (all within the rings).

for years i used the “index finger on the ring” grip but i have a pretty wide shoulder girdle and pretty long arms for a guy who is 5’9. my bench, generally has always sucked with this grip. i finally moved outside the rings and my bench got a lot better and i found there was less stress on my shoulders.

i go a thumb length away from the start of the grip on the bar. i’m 6’3 and have long arms but this helps me use more of my chest.

Pinky on the rings feet solid on the floor back on the bench. Head focussing on bar.

I keep my pinky fingers on the rings. I used to be a bit wider, but my understanding is that narrower saves your shoulders…this is bourne out by my own empirical observations: every guy that I know that used to bench wide and heavy now has given up benching because of shoulder problems. Those guys with narrower grips seem to be doing ok.


I couldnt agree more xlr8!!!

Athony Clark used a reverse grip for bench. That is krazy. :mrt:

I use a 14inch grip, thumbs touching the smooth area

Apart from saving your shoulders/cuffs its more functional too, and more sprint/sports specific :slight_smile:

How often does one push or run with the arms and elbows flared to the side? think about it :smiley:

There is also a longer range of motion. Longer ROM = good in my book


i seem to remember you saying on dr. squat (i could very well be wrong) that you werent benching anymore, and doing wieghted dips instead. true? if so, how is it going?

Yes, I needed to fix my cuff impringement from benching “wrong”

So I’ve been doing dips instead while I did my rehab exercises etc. And reworked my bench form.

It’s going great, cuff impingement is almost totally gone - see another thread here about that. Dipping is going strong and is helping my overhead pressing strength and should boost my bench as well. I’m up to rock bottom upright dips with 25lbs attached for multiple sets of 6.
Going up 2.5lbs every session

Delts and triceps have really gotten much stronger - larger as well I might add :slight_smile:

anyway my new bench form is more along the lines of what powerlifters do, I use a 14inch grip, tuck and squeeze my shoulder blades together to give a better platform and to take the shoulders in so that you don’t extend them off the bench at the lockout position. I lower the bar to my upper/mid abs, and direct the bar straight up, instead of back towards the uprights.
Also I mentally push my body away from the bar, instead of it pushing it up - there is a difference in feel. I don’t arch my back or use leg drive like powerlifters though.

I’m only using benches (light) as a warmup for dips however at the moment

Some people just aren’t built for benching, I feel I’m probbaly one of those.

If you agree that the strengthening effect of the bench press is more of a general effect upon the entire organism, I don’t know why one particular grip would be more important than any other. The only exception, as far as I know, would be in the case of injury and having to work around them with adjustments in grip widths. There might be some relevance or, I hesitate to add this, a small degree in specificity from the grip width to the hand width in the set position.

I use a clean grip, which for me is about three centimeters outside the smooth part of an olympic barbell. I use this grip on clean and jerks, clean grip deadlifts, leg raises, bench presses, bent-over rows, military presses and pull ups. I find it helpful to use the same grip on bench presses that I use on most of my other exercises.

Reverse grip bench is often done by those who are suffering from shoulder impingement problems. Feels strange at first, but once you get the hang of it, it’s not difficult to get close to the loads you use with overhand grip.