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1/3/2015 2:54:41 AM - Eric
Hello, everyone! I've benched close grip incline, exclusively, for the longest time. I'm 5'11" with longish arms. I've been stalled on bench for a good while, running 5/3/1.

Well, today, I progressively moved my grip outward working up to 5x5@70%. Felt A LOT stronger than times I'd tried wide grip on flat bench in the past. Why is this?

And do you think it's a good idea to bench wide, if your leverages for it are strong/shoulders feel good? My middle fingers were on the outer rings. Just looking for a little wisdom in regard to a wide(r) grip bench. Thanks much!

Eric

Eric,

Glad to hear you are having some progress with your bench press using a different variation.

I would think that this has begun to feel better because you have taken the time to work on a harder variation of the lift you were trying to work around. I know personally, when I improve my close grip strength, my bench press (competition grip) is usually soon to follow. It's why I usually have a week where I focus on my competition grip and then a week on my close grip. This prevents me from not only getting stale, but giving my triceps some extra work. Bench pressing involves a ton of tricep strength. Look at some of the best benchers of all time and they usually have some massive triceps (and upper backs). So I think what you were doing was just really getting strong at a mechanical disadvantaged lift, and now that progress is showing since you brought your grip back out.

Now if you have longer arms, you will likely have a bit wider of a grip, and this will help shorten your stroke and probably just fits your build better. It's all about finding what works best for you, so if you like the new change, I would run with it and just see what transpires. Obviously if you are going to compete you will want to make sure you hands are still within legal limits, but other than that, I don't see a problem with you having a wider grip. You'll just really want to make sure you strengthen up your lats to be able to help you get the bar moving off your chest.

Keep up the great work!

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