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Article by Infofit

Understanding the Bench Press Grip

Take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of different grips.

Bench Press Hand Grips

André Noël Potvin shares the difference between the over-hand and under-hand bench press grips while performing a bench press lift and the changes on the muscle groups that are being worked during the lift.

Note: When using the alternate bench press grip during any lifting exercise (one hand gripped over and one hand gripped under), be aware that your back is at risk due to the torque placed upon the spine. So it is vital that you have a strong core before attempting to lift significant weight.

As a personal trainer, be sure to emphasize the importance of routinely changing the grip on the bar to your clients. By ensuring the grip is continually changing, it will ensure that the spine is bilaterally worked. The grip can be changed every rep or equally changed every few reps.

Open Grip Vs Close Grip

Following the understanding of the bench press grip, Andre Noel Potvin takes a look at the advantages and disadvantages of the open grip (thumbs wrapped under the bar) vs. the close grip (thumbs wrapped around the bar) when executing a barbell bench press.

-An open grip on a bar is generally used by advanced lifters in order to generate more power in the lift with less energy/focus devoted to the ‘squeeze’ of the grip on the bar.

-More attention may be transferred to the use of the chest muscles in order to maximize the proficiency of the work-out, however, the risk of injury increases due to instability and less control of the bar. The open grip is not recommended for beginner of intermediate lifters! Open grip can be very dangerous, even by pro lifters. A pro power lifter had died when the bar slipped from his open grip hands, 400Lbs fell on his chest. He had spotters but it happened so fast all because of an open grip. The bar smashed upon his ribs, tore his diaphragm and had died from a heart concussion.

-A close grip may minimize the overall focus on the chest muscles during the lift but in regards to safety, it is highly recommended that ALL lifters use a close grip while executing a bench press in order to ensure a safe and productive work-out.