Bodybuilders, athletes, and recreational lifters select a grip width during the bench press that they believe will produce a greater force output. Research has demonstrated that a wide grip (> 1.5 biacromial width) may increase the risk of shoulder injury, including anterior shoulder instability, atraumatic osteolysis of distal clavicle, and pectoralis major rupture. Reducing grip width to ≤1.5 biacromial width appears to reduce this risk and does not affect muscle recruitment patterns, only resulting in a ±5% difference in one repetition maximum.
Carly M. Green is a Graduate Sports Rehabilitator, Strength and Conditioning Coach, and the Founder and Director of Sports Injury Specialist Clinic (SISC).
Paul Comfort is a Senior Lecturer and Strength and Conditioning Coach, London Sports Institute, Middlesex University.
© 2007 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association