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C-18 Free Communication/Slide - Resistance Training: MAY 28, 2009 8: 00 AM - 10: 00 AM ROOM: 3AB

Does Grip Width Really Affect Muscle Activity In The Bench Press?


May 28 9:30 AM - 9:45 AM

Duffey, Michael J.; Challis, John H.

Author Information
Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: May 2009 - Volume 41 - Issue 5 - p 63-64
doi: 10.1249/01.mss.0000353463.52566.7f
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PURPOSE: Popular weight training theory suggests that widening the grip when performing the bench press increases the activation of the pectoralis major and decreases the activation of the triceps. The purpose of this study was to determine if altering grip width in the bench press affects peak or mean muscle activation in novice lifters.

METHODS: Eight male and three female recreational lifters were recruited and asked to perform a maximal bench press at freely chosen grip width. Subsequently each participant completed submaximal lifts (75% maximal lift) at each of five predetermined grip widths positions (100, 125, 150, 175, 200 percent shoulder width). Peak and mean electromyographic recording (EMG) of the pectoralis major, the anterior deltoid, and the triceps were compared across the five grip width conditions.

RESULTS: The table below shows the peak EMG value (normalized to the peak value for each muscle during the maximal lift) for the anterior deltoid, pectoralis major, and tricep for both the decent and lift phases of the bench press. No significant differences were detected across grip width conditions for either mean or peak values.


CONCLUSION: The results of this study show that muscle activation in the bench press varies by muscle and is different during the descent and the lift phases, but the novice lifters in this study did not alter muscle activity in response to a change in grip position.

© 2009 American College of Sports Medicine