Grip Width When Bench Pressing

I was recently reading the article titled “The affect of grip width on bench press performance and risk of injury” that was published in the strength and conditioning journal in 2007.  As an avid weight trainer myself and having seen many clients who regularly undertake the bench press as part of their strength and conditioning training program, grip width is often discussed with regards to finding ones optimal grip width, how grip width impacts on ones bench press and the muscles used in the movement and whether there is any link to increasing ones risk of injury.

Below is a short summary of some of the key take home messages that I took from the article:

  • Acute injuries such as a rupture of the pectoralis major and chronic injuries such as anterior instability and osteolysis of the distal clavice are common with bench pressing.
  • Individuals who bench press with their arm in a greater abducted and externally rotated arm may have an increased risk of injury.
  • Exercises that place ones humerus into an abducted and externally rotated position i.e. wide grip bench press, incline fly’s and behind the neck military press may increases ones risk of developing pain in ones shoulder girdle.
  • Training approaches that include forced repetitions and eccentric repetitions increase the load on the skeletal and musculo-tendinous structures and may increase ones risk of injury.
  • Wider grips have been shown to increase shoulder torque by as much as 1.5 times compared to a narrow grip.
  • Wider grips do not significantly alter the recruitment of the pectoralis major or the anterior deltoid.  A more narrow grip is likely to recruit the triceps brachii.
  • A narrow grip is more likley to produce less stress on ones AC joint, inferior glenohumeral ligament and pectoralis major.

The bullet points listed above are key take home messages that are relevant to those looking to reduce their risk of injury or perhaps reaggravation of existing shoulder complaints.

This blog post was written by osteopath Heath Williams of Principle Four Osteopathy.

Principle Four Osteopathy

Principle Four Osteopathy is one of Melbourne City CBD leading Osteopathy clinics. At the clinic we treat a wide range of clients, ranging from the office worker, exercise enthusiast to athlete. We have 3 experienced osteopaths working across both of the clinics.

The Melbourne City CBD clinic is located at 29 Somerset Place (basement), close to the corner of Elizabeth St and Little Bourke in the Melbourne City CBD. Our premises adjoin the Jon Weller Personal Training Studio, a fully-equipped training space which allows clients to combine their osteopathy treatment with exercise tutorials or specific training programs and rehabilitation.

The Docklands clinic is located at 717 Bourke St (Ground Floor), beneath the Channel 9 building near the walkway from Southern Cross Train Station to Etihad Stadium. Our premises adjoin Pilates on Bourke, a fully-equipped pilates and yoga training space which allows clients to combine their osteopathy treatment with exercise tutorials, pilates or specific training programs and rehabilitation.

To speak to an Osteopath or book an appointment at Principle Four Osteopathy, please book online or call 03 9670 9290.