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Narrow Grip vs. Regular Grip Bench Press- Which is better for Development?

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The narrow-grip version of the bench press stimulates the pecs just as well as the regular bench press

Shoulders injuries in strength sports often implicate that bench presses are no longer an option. Bench presses are just too stressful for their shoulder joint. But that does not mean that they can not train their upper body properly. The alternative to bench presses, the narrow-grip bench press, which is most commonly used in case of shoulder injuries, stimulates the pecs practically as good as the regular bench press.

Study

Norwegian sports scientists, affiliated with Sogn and Fjordane University College, published a study in 2017 in the Journal of Human Kinetics, in which they experimented with 12 successful powerlifters.

The researchers had the Norwegians do bench presses in different ways, with a weight with which 6 reps were possible.

On one occasion the subjects had the barbell fixed in the standard way [wide-grip]. There was a little more than 80 centimeters of space between their palms. The other times, the test subjects held the barbell with a medium grip or a narrow grip.

The narrow-grip version of the bench press stimulates the pecs just as well as the regular bench press

The researchers had put electrodes on the upper body of the powerlifters, with which they could measure the activity of the muscles under the skin.

Results

Regarding the activation of the chest muscles, shoulder muscles and triceps, there were no significant differences between the effects of the different bench press versions.


The narrow-grip version of the bench press stimulates the pecs just as well as the regular bench press

Conclusion

This is good news for unlucky people who, due to a shoulder impingement, are no longer able to bench press. They can, while working on their recovery, often without any problems do narrow-grip bench presses - and continue to develop their pecs.

Source:

J Hum Kinet. 2017 Jun 22;57:61-71.

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