Hand Placement on the Bench Press

The bench press is not only the most popular exercise in the weight room (just look around gym floors everywhere on a Monday), but it is also the most dangerous. With hundreds of pounds hovering overhead, it's absolutely vital that hand placement be properly administered. Above all else, do not -- we repeat, DO NOT -- use a thumb-less grip. Someone, somewhere, may have told you that "this will add pounds to your lift," but he or she obviously did not have your best interest in mind: your safety... Once your thumbs are securely wrapped around the bar, you can fully squeeze it, thus helping increase the lift's efficiency. By firmly gripping the weight, a more rigid system -- your hands and arms -- can be anchored to the barbell, and your ability to fire more motor neurons through your upper-torso and into your arms can best be achieved. When the bar is in the hands, it should not roll backward onto to the finders; this creates a mechanical disadvantage, as the bar is no longer over the bones of your forearms and is instead being supported by compromised wrists. When the bar is on the back of the palms (over the forearm bones), the greatest forced can be exerted. As you lift the weight, be sure to maintain a powerful grasp on the barbell so that it does not shift during your repetitions.

Jason Harle