Mausehund, L, Werkhausen, A, Bartsch, J, and Krosshaug, T. Understanding bench press biomechanics—The necessity of measuring lateral barbell forces. J Strength Cond Res 36(10): 2685–2695, 2022—The purpose of this study was to advance the expertise of the bench press exercise by complementing electromyographic (EMG) with net joint moment (NJM) and strength normalized NJM (nNJM) measurements, thus establishing the magnitude of the elbow and shoulder muscular loads and efforts. Normalized NJMs were determined as the ratio of the bench press NJMs to the maximum NJMs produced during maximum voluntary isokinetic contractions. Furthermore, we wanted to assess how changes in grip width and elbow positioning affected elbow and shoulder NJMs and nNJMs, and muscle activity of the primary movers. Thirty-five strength-trained adults performed a 6–8 repetition maximum set of each bench press variation, while elbow and shoulder NJMs and EMG activity of 7 upper extremity muscles were recorded. The results show that all bench press variations achieved high elbow and shoulder muscular efforts. A decrease in grip width induced larger elbow NJMs, and larger EMG activity of the lateral head of the triceps brachii, anterior deltoid, and clavicular head of the pectoralis major (p ≤ 0.05). An increase in grip width elicited larger shoulder NJMs and nNJMs, and larger EMG activity of the abdominal head of the pectoralis major (p ≤ 0.05). In conclusion, all bench press variations may stimulate strength gains and hypertrophy of the elbow extensors and shoulder flexors and horizontal adductors. However, greater adaptations of the elbow extensors and shoulder flexors may be expected when selecting narrower grip widths, whereas wider grip widths may induce greater adaptations of the shoulder horizontal adductors.