Bench press grip width and touching point

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ephs
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Bench press grip width and touching point

Post by ephs » Mon May 27, 2013 2:12 am

can anybody please summarize the relation of grip width/touching point and how hard which muscles get hit? thanks in advance.
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Re: Bench press grip width and touching point

Post by Dub » Mon May 27, 2013 2:27 am

Triceps are worked more if your grip is narrow. Also narrower grip seems to produce more activation on the clavicular head of the pecs. Wider grip seems to affect more on biceps and rest of the pecs. Normal grip is effective for both Triceps and Pecs. No difference on delts.

I'm not aware of studies or differences of touching points. But it creates changes in biomechanics and joint loading, and is usually altered by the movement of your elbows. i.e if you touch higher you migth flare your elbows more, because otherwise it would turn into a skull crusher. When going lower you tuck your elbows more.
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Re: Bench press grip width and touching point

Post by ephs » Mon May 27, 2013 6:55 am

i was using straight below my nipple line as touching point, but if the weight is really heavy i almost automatically tend to aim for a lower touching point. i thought it could maybe be the point that shoulders are more involved or chest is less involved as lower you touch. maybe this "automatism" is bad form or i'm just stronger that way. how low can you go 'til it's still a serious bench press?
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Re: Bench press grip width and touching point

Post by Dub » Mon May 27, 2013 10:51 am

It's biomechanics. You align your joints and muscles so that you can apply most force or the path of the weight is shorter (Your arch brings your midsection and chest up). Or both.
Imagine pushing a car. Now the least smart thing would be to do a bodybuilder -type press with elbows flaring and the pushing point being on shoulder level or a bit lower. No, you would push with elbows tucked (around 45 degrees) with hands near the nipple-line or even below. Ain't it right?

It's a serious bench press when you get the weight down and up. There's no reason the bench would be ungood because you touch it lower. Many elite powerlifters have a very low touching point as far as I know. Tucking the elbows usually brings the touching point lower in a good bench press. As long as you have the bar lined with your wrists and elbows, you will get a good amount of force. It also activates the lats and the delts more, so you should be anatomically stronger in this position. If you go too low, the alignment gets broken and the weight will most likely bomb around your waist. It's about the angle of the elbow really. Simple point of balance physics from there on.

Just to point out, I also have a very low touching point, more like in the upper abdominis / Very low chest.
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Re: Bench press grip width and touching point

Post by Jungledoc » Mon May 27, 2013 11:28 am

Higher touch point and narrower grip both cause you to have more elbow flexion at the bottom. That's good if you are trying to emphasize triceps, but not if you want to lift heavy. I've read several places that a combination of grip-width and touch point that leaves the forearms vertical at the bottom of the movement is about ideal. When I teach a newbie to bench I have them take an empty bar (or ever a piece of dowel or PVC pipe, but those never seem to be around), lay it across their chest, then move the hands around (with the elbows at about 45 degrees) until the forearms are vertical. In an experienced lifter, if that is much different than what they have been doing it's a good idea to back way off on weight for a while until you're accustomed to the new mechanics.
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Re: Bench press grip width and touching point

Post by ephs » Mon May 27, 2013 2:30 pm

thanks!

so it could be that a lower touching point is better for me. i'm going to try it in the next benching session.
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