The Bench Press Grip: What Grip Should You Use?



The first thing to consider is: Are you benching raw or with a power-lifting shirt? The bench press grip is very different when done with shirt on, you would use a very wide grip to minimize the range of motion and be able to lift more, but without shirt you shouldn’t do that, because shirt actually protects you and without shirt you could injury yourself because of the very wide grip.

If you train raw then you should choose between 3 types of grips:
  • Wide grip (pinky on the ring)
  • Normal grip (one thumb length away from edges)
  • Close grip (index finger on edges)
Bench Press: WIDE GRIP

Wide grip is activating more the chest and less the triceps. You will also reduce the range of motion, leading to an increase bench press weight. But you also put more stress on your pecs and shoulders, leading to injuries like pec tears, or shoulder injuries.

Bench Press: NORMAL GRIP

This grip is maybe the more used at the gym and is the safest, you have a full range of motion and you will workout your pecs and triceps at same intensity. You will keep your pecs and shoulder healthy while pressing this way and if you were used to use the wide grip, in a matter of few months you will bench press the same amount of weight using this grip instead of wide grip, time for your triceps to get some strength. Personally I use this grip.

Bench Press: CLOSE GRIP

This grip activate principally the triceps, it is good to build triceps strength and is very healthy for your pecs and shoulders. I use it after my normal bench press grip sets as an assistance exercise, it is a great grip and will develop your triceps to the next level.


It is very important that you keep in mind that you absolutely need to keep elbows out at 45 degrees to your body while benching wide or normal grip because it will keep you away from pectoral tears and shoulder injuries. Placing your elbows out perpendicular to the body is very dangerous and place a lot of stress on your pecs and shoulder, always avoid this form. I know some “personal trainer” recommend to use this form to a complete chest development and it’s totally dumb, anyways let’s say 90% of strength conditioning coach and personal trainers don’t know shit about what they are talking about… They often have zero experience in high level lifting like power-lifting or Olympic weightlifting, and all they do is just guessing based on some books they studied. You should be sure to avoid these frauds, but we will talk about this in another article.

For close grip bench press, try to keep your elbow closer to your body as much as you can, to activate more the triceps.

So as per my experience, I would recommend you to use a normal grip for your heavy sets and then use the close grip for some assistance work. You will build serious strength and volume, will get stronger triceps, and will keep injuries at bay. Go bench now!