Barbell Wide Grip Bench Press

Feb 03, 2011
The Barbell Wide Grip Bench press is a version of the common barbell bench press that can be done in conjunction with or as an alternative exercise to help develop the pecs.

The difference between the regular bench and the wide grip bench other than the width of the grip position is that this exercises targets different areas of the chest muscle fibers. Like in a fly the chest is put into more of a stretch and lengthens the pec muscle fibers as the arms out-stretch to the side. Because of the position of the hands in the wide grip bench the pecs are put into a similar stretch but rather than bringing the arms together in the middle as in a fly, your hands are in a fixed position pressing directly up. In many cases because the press back up is a shorter distance you can actually perform heavier weight thus also adding significant increases in your regular bench. The benefit here is that because you can push more weight, this movement overloads the pecs which can lead to increases in both strength and muscle fiber recruitment.

There has been research that has shown that using heavier weight can potentially cause micro muscle fiber tears and overstress the tendons of the pec that could lead to potential tears. If you do plan on going heavier research has shown that going down 3-4 inches from actually touching the chest has little difference in muscle fiber activity than going all the way down to touch the chest but puts significantly LESS stress on the tendons and muscle from being over stretched.

My Recommendation is to use lighter weight if you plan on going all the way down and if you plan on loading up the barbell stay within the 3-4 inches from touching your chest.

-Mike McErlane

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