The Effect of Grip Width on Bench Press Performance

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Loree L. Wagner
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Sharon A. Evans
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Joseph P. Weir
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Terry J. Housh
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Glen O. Johnson
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The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of grip width, chest depth, limb lengths, and bar path on the performance of a maximal bench press. Subjects were 24 experienced male weight trainers. Bench press performance was assessed at six different grip widths (G1–G6). Repeated-measures ANOVA with Tukey post hoc comparisons revealed that bench press strength values at the two moderate grip widths (G3 and G4) were significantly greater than either the narrow or wide grip widths. First-order partial correlations showed no significant relationship between strength values and anthropometric variables when adjusted for differences in body weight. Standard two-dimensional cinematographic procedures were used to film a subsample (n = 6) while bench pressing using G1, G3, and G6. The results of the statistical comparisons of bar path indicated that as grip width increased, the horizontal and vertical distance from the bar to the shoulder decreased.

The authors are with the Center for Youth Fitness and Sports Research, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE 68588-0229.

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