Bench Press Grip Tips

In this video tutorial, we share bench press grip tips including different types of grip (narrow vs wide), the difference between compression and bulldog and more!

Grip Width

The ideal bench press grip width is one that facilitates perfectly vertical forearms when the bar touches the chest. How wide the grip should be is dependent on lifter anthropometry. A thumb’s width off the edge of the knurl is a good place to start for grip width.

The bar should sit as low in the heel of the palm as possible – stacked directly over the forearm bones.

Narrow Grip

A narrow grip (or “close grip bench press”) will cause the elbows to be outside the wrists in the bottom position. This puts greater load on the tricep muscles and produces a larger range of motion.

Wide Grip

A wide grip will cause the wrists to be outside the elbows. This is useful for powerlifters because it reduces the range of motion, and therefore, allows more weight to be lifted.

Compression Grip

A compression grip must keep the barbell as low in the heel of the palm as possible. If the wrists bend back and the barbell rolls up into the fingers, that creates an unnecessary moment arm and an energy leak. If the wrists flex forward, that puts the lifter in danger of dropping the bar out of their hands onto their face or neck. Wrists should be straight, with the bar stacked over the forearm bones. Squeeze the bar like you’re trying to bow the bar, or bend it in half.

Wrist to Elbow Relationship

Keeping the bar low in the hand places the barbell over the radius, the load bearing bone of the arm. The wrists should be stacked on top of the radius, as well. When viewed from the side, the elbows will be slightly in front of the wrists.

Bulldog Grip

Prepare to take a compression grip and place the bar as low in the hand as possible. Instead of wrapping the fingers around the bar, pinch the bar with the fingertips. This is the bulldog grip.

NEVER bench with a thumbless grip, otherwise known as a “suicide grip.” This is incredibly dangerous, because there is nothing blocking the bar from slipping out of your hands onto your face, throat or chest. Always wrap your thumbs around the barbell.

Keep Growing on Your Strength Journey

The Novice Linear Progression:
Why It Works and What To Do When It Doesn’t

The linear progression is the oldest tried and true method of strength training. Start relatively light and add a little bit of weight each time you train. That methodology has been making people strong for centuries, which is why the novice linear progression is one of the most widely used strength training programs around. Many resources can tell you what the linear progression looks like, but few go into how and when to use the program (it’s not just for novices) or what to do when you stop making progress. Below is a complete guide to help you get started with strength training using linear progression:

  • Strength is the foundation of health, body composition, and fitness goals.
  • A simple, hard and effective approach. (Easy doesn’t work!)
  • A sample program to help you get started and what to do after linear progression.


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