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The Affect of Grip Width on Bench Press Performance and Risk of Injury

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summary: 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. (C) 2007 National Strength and Conditioning Association
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The Affect of Grip Width on Bench Press
Performance and Risk of Injury
Carly M.Green,CSCS
Sports Injury Specialist Clinic, Gidea Park,Romford, United Kingdom
Paul Comfort,MSc,CSCS
London Sports Institute,Middlesex University,Queensway, Enfield, London, United Kingdom
© National Strength and Conditioning Association
Volume 29,Number 5, pages 10–14
Keywords: bench press; injury; performance; glenohumeral joint;
pectorialis major
Weight training, as an increas-
ingly popular culture, was es-
timated to attract more than
40 million Americans in 1998 (18), with
an increase in the number of athletes
and coaches using resistance training to
supplement their sport-specific training
regime and regular gym users training
for aesthetic purposes. The bench press
is a very popular exercise, especially for
individuals seeking aesthetic improve-
ments. However, due to incorrect tech-
nique, individuals are at risk from acute
shoulder injuries involving a sudden
traumatic episode, such as a rupture of
the pectoralis major, during the bench
press (4, 20).
The musculoskeletal system of the
glenohumeral joint has to provide a
base of support for the motion of the
barbell during the bench press. The
performance of the bench press may
place the glenohumeral joint in a posi-
tion approaching 90° of abduction, and
the position may include some external
rotation. Ninety degrees of abduction
combined with end-range external ro-
tation (Figure 1) has been defined as
the “at-risk position” that may increase
the risk of shoulder injuries (10). It has
been reported that a hand spacing of 2
biacromial width (shoulder width as
defined by the distance between
acromion processes) increases shoulder
abduction above 75°, whereas hand
spacing <1.5 biacromial width main-
tains shoulder abduction below 45° (8).
However, the level of external rotation
is minimal during the flat bench press,
but increases in proportion to the angle
of inclination during the incline bench
press.
Acute injuries (rupture of pectorialis
major) and chronic over-use injuries
(anterior instability and atraumatic os-
teolysis of the distal clavicle) are com-
mon. The risk of both acute and chronic
shoulder injury may be increased by
repetitive movements performed with
the shoulder close to the 90° of abduc-
tion, as seen during the bench press
when performed with a grip >1.5 times
bi-acromial width (10, 19, 20). This risk
may be increased with a greater level of
external rotation, leading to the at-risk
position.
Mechanism of Injury
During the bench press extension of
the shoulder on the descent phase caus-
es increased traction to the acromio-
clavicular. Technique performance er-
rors (10, 16, 18) increase the risk of
anterior instability, atraumatic osteoly-
sis of distal clavicle, and pectoralis
major rupture (10, 19, 20). Exercises
reported to produce pain include wide-
summary
Bodybuilders, athletes, and recre-
ational lifters select a grip width
during the bench press that they be-
lieve 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 os-
teolysis of distal clavicle, and pec-
toralis major rupture. Reducing grip
width to 1.5 biacromial width ap-
pears to reduce this risk and does
not affect muscle recruitment pat-
terns, only resulting in a ±5% differ-
ence in one repetition maximum.
10 October 2007 Strength and Conditioning Journal
grip bench press, incline flys, and be-
hind-the-neck military press, all of
which position the humerus into ab-
duction and external rotation (10, 16,
18).
The loads, repetitions, and sets per-
formed in weight lifting encourage
over-use, chronic-type injuries as ath-
letes will perform 1–12 repetitions
with loads of 80–100% of the one-rep-
etition maximum (17). A variety of
techniques, such as super sets and com-
pound sets, eccentric contractions, and
forced repetitions to muscle failure, are
used by athletes (7, 18) combined with
a number of different exercises (varia-
tions of shoulder press, pec-dec, pec-
toral flys), leading to muscular fatigue
(10). The use of forced repetitions and
eccentric repetitions increase the load-
ing on the skeletal and musculo-tendi-
nous structures and further increase
the risk of injury, especially if used reg-
ularly. Case studies have indicated that
ruptures of the pectoralis major may
occur during the eccentric loading
phase when the musculo-tendinous
junction is at its highest point of
stretch; therefore, regular use of eccen-
tric repetitions may increase the risk of
this injury (4).
The repetitive nature and use of heavy
loads in weight training may provide a
fertile environment for chronic injuries
(18), and it is normal for athletes to
push themselves to the highest weight
limit possible in spite of pain (16),
thereby increasing the risk of injury.
A grip of more than 1.5 biacromial
width increases shoulder torque by 1.5
times that of a narrow grip (8), thus
increasing the risk of injury. Research
has also demonstrated that altering
grip width from 100% biacromial
width up to 190% does not signifi-
cantly (p> 0.05) affect recruitment of
the pectorialis major or the anterior
deltoid; however, the narrower the
grip, the greater the activation of the
triceps brachii (6).
It is the general consensus that the use
of a narrow grip during the bench press
produces less stress for the acromio-
clavicular joint, the inferior gleno-
humeral ligament, and the pectoralis
major (8, 11). By adjusting hand spac-
ing to no more than 1.5 biacromial
width, the component angles of abduc-
tion can be decreased. This in turn will
decrease the peak torque and stress oc-
curring at the shoulder joint (8, 11),
thereby potentially decreasing the risk
of injuries to these structures. It is in-
teresting to note that one article de-
tailed that the narrow grip caused pain
for patients with osteolysis of the distal
clavicle (2); however, as this was not
noted in any other research and because
the exact distance of the grip was not
expressed, it is possible that the nar-
rower grip was still greater than 1.5 bi-
acromial width.
The major mechanisms of injury sug-
gested within the literature are:
Hand spacing >1.5 ×biacromial
width (1, 8, 13).
High or intolerable exercise dose or
repetitive strain (2, 5, 10, 18).
Altered proprioception (postinjury)
(8, 15).
Common Injuries
Anterior Glenohumeral Instability
Anterior glenohumeral instability, de-
fined as the inability to maintain the
humeral head centred in the glenoid
fossa, appears to be the most common
shoulder injury experienced by competi-
tive weight lifters (19). Anterior shoul-
der stability is largely dependant on the
inferior glenohumeral ligament (IGHL).
The IGHL is found attached to the ante-
rior inferior aspect of the humeral head
and to the anterior glenoid and labrum.
The IGHL is responsible for restraining
anterior translation at 90° of abduction;
if the IGHL is damaged, the shoulder be-
comes more susceptible to anterior insta-
bility (19).
Anterior instability is considered a
chronic condition that may occur in
individuals who regularly perform
weight-training exercises with the
11
October 2007 Strength and Conditioning Journal
Figure 1. At-risk position.
shoulder approaching 90° abduction
and may be increased with external ro-
tation (10). However, losing control of
a heavy load during a lifting exercise is
the most common mechanism for
acute subluxation or dislocation and
concurrent instability (16).
Atraumatic Osteolysis of the
Distal Clavicle
A stress-failure syndrome of the distal
clavicle is a pathologic process of bone
destruction to the subchondral bone
of the distal clavicle (2). The injury
appears to be a chronic condition
mostly caused by repetitive weight-
training exercises, as seen in body-
builders and powerlifters (20). The
weakness of the clavicles makes this
area of the shoulder girdle highly sus-
ceptible to trauma (11). The extension
mechanism of the shoulder during the
eccentric phase of the bench press ex-
cessively stresses the acromioclavicular
joint and is thought to contribute to
osteolysis of the distal clavicle (18)
caused by repetitive microtrauma dur-
ing weight lifting (20).
Atraumatic osteolysis of the distal clavi-
cle appears to be caused by repetitive
movements performed with the shoul-
der at 90° abduction, which is ap-
proached during the bench press when
performed with a grip >1.5 times biacro-
mial width (10, 20) and worsened if ex-
ternal rotation also occurs, as seen in the
inline bench press and behind neck
press.
The incidence of osteolysis mimics the
increase in the number of athletes using
strength training, although large num-
bers of weight-lifting subjects with oste-
olysis do not seem to exist (2).
Pectoralis Major Rupture
A rupture of the pectoralis muscle oc-
curs mainly during strength training
and especially during the bench press
(11). It is characterized by a sudden
acute injury often occurring during the
eccentric loading phase when the mus-
culo-tendinous junction is at its highest
point of stretch (4). Due to the twisting
orientation of the inferior pectorialis
fibers that converge onto the proximal
aspect of the humerus, the inferior fibers
of the pectoralis major are at a higher
risk of trauma (11). The injury occurs
during the concentric phase after the ec-
centric lowering that stresses the inferior
pectorialis fibers as the humerus con-
trols the barbell up to finish the press
(1). When the glenohumeral joint is in
extension during the descent phase
where the bar touches the chest, the pec-
toralis muscle is stretched and contract-
ed and it is the load in this position that
forces the inferior pectorialis fibers to
tear. The inferior fibers are lengthened
disproportionately during the final 30°
of humeral extension, creating a me-
chanical disadvantage during the eccen-
tric phase, resulting in an increased risk
of injury (21).
Ruptures occur commonly at the tendi-
nous insertion on the humerus after ex-
cessive weight is applied to a maximally
contracted muscle (5). Prior research
noted that 24 out of 33 subjects suffered
a pectoralis rupture during power lifting
and bodybuilding with a bench-pressing
mechanism (1).
Bench Press Performance
The bench press should be performed
with a grip <1.5 biacromial width,
lowering the bar in a slow, smooth,
controlled manner to the lower por-
tion of the pectorals (Figure 2) to re-
duce the level of abduction and rota-
tion at the shoulder. The bar should
move through the same plane of mo-
tion during the lifting phase, but
should be more rapid.
The action of the bench press has a var-
ied kinematics pattern (13). The more
experienced lifter will control the bar to
and from the chest following a path that
keeps the lever arm closer to its center of
gravity (using a narrow grip <1.5 biacro-
mial width, lowering the bar to the
lower portion of the pectorals), which is
created by the support base of the gleno-
humeral joint. The experienced lifter
will also take longer to complete the ex-
ercise, therefore resulting in a decrease
12 October 2007 Strength and Conditioning Journal
Figure 2. Mid-range bar position.
in force exerted on the musculo-tendi-
nous junction (13).
Research has demonstrated a nonsignifi-
cant difference ±5% (p> 0.05) in one
repetition maximum with a grip width of
100% and 200% biacromial width, (3,
12). Electromyographic results showed
that grip width did not significantly af-
fect activity of the sternocostal head of
the pectorialis major (p> 0.05). Howev-
er, the narrow grip significantly in-
creased the activity of the clavicular head
(p< 0.01) and the activity of the triceps
brachii (p< 0.05) compared to the wide
grip (3, 12). Therefore, this demonstrat-
ed that force is not dramatically reduced
and neither is there a reduction in the
contribution of the pectoral muscles
when grip width is reduced.
It may also be advisable to avoid incline
variations of the bench press, unless the
angle is specific for sports performance,
as this will lead to a greater level of exter-
nal rotation and possibly an increase in
the risk of injury. Research has also
demonstrated that the level of inclina-
tion does not alter activation of the clav-
icular (upper) portion of the pectorals,
but does decrease activation of the ster-
nal portion, resulting in a reduction in
force (9).
Recommendations
To potentially minimize the risk of in-
jury, the bench press should be per-
formed with a grip 1.5 biacromial
width to maintain shoulder abduction
within 45° (8, 10). It has been suggested
that the descent phase should finish 4–6
cm above the chest (11), and the nar-
rower grip width could potentially re-
duce the risk of injury by reducing the
level of stretch on the inferior pectorialis
fibers. However, this would only be ap-
plicable to the recreational lifter, as
competitive power lifters must lower the
bar and touch the chest prior to the lift-
ing phase. The adjustments to the grip
width will decrease the angle of abduc-
tion and possibly external rotation at the
shoulder, in turn potentially reducing
the risk of shoulder injury without alter-
ing the benefits or performance of the
exercise (3, 6, 12).
It is also essential that altering technique
loads are reduced to allow increased lev-
els of proprioception and perfection of
the new technique (10), especially if re-
habilitating postinjury, as this can result
in reduced proprioception, and the coac-
tivation of rotator cuff muscles can be al-
tered greatly, leading to an increased risk
of recurrent instability (15).
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Carly M. Green is a Graduate Sports Re-
habilitator, Strength and Conditioning
Coach, and the Founder and Director of
Sports Injury Specialist Clinic (SISC).
Paul Comfort is a Senior Lecturer and
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14 October 2007 Strength and Conditioning Journal
Green
Comfort
... 11,12 Even so, a brief review recommended that bench press should be performed with a grip of 1.5 BAD to maintain shoulder abduction within 45°, in order to be highly effective and to prevent injuries. 13 These conflicting results were supported by the variation in myoelectric activity with different grip widths. 9,11,13,14 The different grip widths seem to affect the recruitment of specific muscles, such as the triceps brachii, which seems to be highly activated when a narrower grip is used. ...
... 13 These conflicting results were supported by the variation in myoelectric activity with different grip widths. 9,11,13,14 The different grip widths seem to affect the recruitment of specific muscles, such as the triceps brachii, which seems to be highly activated when a narrower grip is used. 9 Barnett et al 11 found that triceps and clavicular head of pectoralis major decreased their activity with wider grips, while the sternocostal head of the pectoralis major's muscle activity did not change. ...
... This would be more evident in lighter loads, where the velocities are higher. 15 Moreover, knowing that the activity from pectoralis is fundamental for bench press exercise, 13 it can be suggested that the higher level subjects from the current study are able to early activate and effectively use this muscle group, with lower loads and with wider grip widths. ...
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Purpose: To verify the effects of using different grip widths in bench press performance in Paralympic powerlifting athletes. Methods: Twelve experienced Paralympic powerlifting male athletes (25.40 [3.30] y, 70.30 [12.15] kg) participated in the study. Maximal dynamic strength and maximal isometric strength (MIS) were determined. Then, mean propulsive velocity (MPV) using 25%, 50%, and 100% of maximal dynamic strength load and time to achieve 30%, 50%, and 100% of MIS were assessed with 4 different grip widths, specifically the biacromial distance (BAD: 42.83 [12.84] cm), 1.3 BAD (55.68 [16.70] cm), 1.5 BAD (63.20 [18.96] cm), and 81 cm. Electromyographic analysis was performed during MIS assessment in the pectoralis major sternal portion, anterior deltoid, triceps brachii long head, and pectoralis major clavicular portion. Results: Large differences were found between MPV performed with different grip widths using 25% of maximal dynamic strength load (P = .02, ηp2=.26). The 1.5 BAD grip tended to show greater force generation and MPV. Moreover, the time needed to achieve 30%, 50%, and 100% of MIS differed between grip widths (P = .03, ηp2=.24), with the lowest values obtained in the 1.5 BAD. Despite the nonstatistical differences that were found, grip widths caused moderate effects on muscle myoelectric activation, showing greater values for pectoralis major clavicular portion and pectoralis major sternal portion, for the 1.3 BAD and 1.5 BAD, respectively. The 1.5 BAD the grip width tended to show greater MPV values and faster contractile responses. Conclusions: These results highlighted the importance of choosing the specific grip width for improvement of performance in Paralympic powerlifting athletes, by increasing velocity of movement and force production in a shorter time, with greater activation of primary muscles.
... Powerlifters are known to use a different technique than recreational resistance training practitioners 3,5 . They perform the bench press with a maximum or near-maximum grip width (81 cm), allowed by the International Powerlifting Federation rulebook, to shorten the range of motion 6 , which could be a factor leading to shoulder injury due to the abducted and externally rotated shoulder position 3,5 . ...
... Powerlifters are known to use a different technique than recreational resistance training practitioners 3,5 . They perform the bench press with a maximum or near-maximum grip width (81 cm), allowed by the International Powerlifting Federation rulebook, to shorten the range of motion 6 , which could be a factor leading to shoulder injury due to the abducted and externally rotated shoulder position 3,5 . In fact, shoulder injuries are common in powerlifters and recreational lifters 5,7,8 . ...
... They perform the bench press with a maximum or near-maximum grip width (81 cm), allowed by the International Powerlifting Federation rulebook, to shorten the range of motion 6 , which could be a factor leading to shoulder injury due to the abducted and externally rotated shoulder position 3,5 . In fact, shoulder injuries are common in powerlifters and recreational lifters 5,7,8 . ...
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Background: Isokinetic strength has been useful to assess muscle function related to sports and prevent injuries. The present study measured the isokinetic isometric and concentric shoulder rotators strength, agonist/antagonist ratio, and examined the relationships between isometric and concentric peak torque, and agonist/antagonist ratio in powerlifters compared to a control group. Methods: The participants were divided into two groups: powerlifters group (n=14) and physically active group (n=9). Participants' were evaluated on isokinetic dynamometer for isometric, and concentric (two velocities, 60°/s and 180°/s) strength of shoulder external (ER) internal rotation (IR). Isometric contractions lasted 10 seconds, and concentric modes were 5 repetitions. Results: Bilateral significant differences, between dominant and non-dominant side, were found in ER peak torque at isometric mode in powerlifters group (p=0.021). Powerlifters showed higher IR peak torque at isometric mode in dominant (p=0.040) and non-dominant side (p=0.014) than physically active group. Pearson correlations between isometric peak torque and concentric velocities ranged between 0.49 and 0.89 for powerlifters group, and between 0.73 and 0.93 for physically active group. For agonist/antagonist ratio, pearson correlation ranged between 0.47 and 0.83 for powerlifters group, and between 0.48 and 0.86 for physically active group. Conclusions: The bilateral differences in ER movement at isometric mode in powerlifters suggest that exercises for shoulder rotators must be included on training for joint safety and balance between sides despite isometric shoulder rotators strength in powerlifters was higher than physically active individuals. Results presented positive correlation between both muscle actions, isometric and concentric, in peak torque and agonist/antagonist ratio.
... 8,14,21 Therefore, it is unknown whether the precision in the estimation of the bench press 1RM could be affected by the grip width. Although slight variations in the grip width do not meaningfully affect the magnitude of the 1RM load, 22 the decrease in the grip width has been associated with a lower number of repetitions completed to failure 22 and higher bar velocities 18,23 when lifting the same absolute load. Therefore, it is plausible that the prediction of the bench press 1RM using the lifts-to-failure and twopoint methods could be affected by the grip width. ...
... 8,14,21 Therefore, it is unknown whether the precision in the estimation of the bench press 1RM could be affected by the grip width. Although slight variations in the grip width do not meaningfully affect the magnitude of the 1RM load, 22 the decrease in the grip width has been associated with a lower number of repetitions completed to failure 22 and higher bar velocities 18,23 when lifting the same absolute load. Therefore, it is plausible that the prediction of the bench press 1RM using the lifts-to-failure and twopoint methods could be affected by the grip width. ...
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This study examined the differences in the bench press 1-repetition maximum (1RM) obtained by three different methods (direct method, lifts-to-failure method, and 2-point method). Twenty young men were tested in four different sessions. A single grip width (close, medium, wide, or self-selected) was randomly used on each session. Each session consisted of an incremental loading test until reaching the 1RM, followed by a single set of lifts-to-failure against the 75%1RM load. The last load lifted during the incremental loading test was considered the actual 1RM (direct method). The 1RM was also predicted using the Mayhew’s equation (lifts-to-failure method) and the individual load-velocity relationship modelled from 2 data points (2-point method). The actual 1RM was underestimated by the lifts-to-failure method (range: 1 to 2 kg) and overestimated by the 2-point method (range: -3 to -1 kg), being these differences accentuated using closer grip widths. All predicted 1RMs were practically perfect correlated with the actual 1RM (r  0.95; standard error of the estimate  4 kg). The 1RM was higher using the medium grip width (83±3 kg) compared to the close (80±3 kg) and wide (79±3 kg) grip widths (P ≤ 0.025), while no significant differences were observed between the medium and self-selected (81±3 kg) grip widths (P = 1.000). In conclusion, although both the Mayhew’s equation and the two-point method are able to predict the actual 1RM with an acceptable precision, the differences between the actual and predicted 1RMs seem to increase when using close grip widths.
... Individuals with shoulder injuries are often precluded from performing the bench press or require some type of exercise modification. For example, (Green, et al. [7]) recommend individuals with shoulder injuries perform the bench press with a narrower grip and stop the descent of the bar 4-6 centimeters (cm) above the chest. Other recommendations for individuals with shoulder injuries include performing the bench press with dumbbells or using a multi-grip bar instead of the traditional straight bar. ...
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The bench press is a popular exercise used in strength training regimes. However, individuals with shoulder injuries are often precluded from performing the bench press or require some type of modification. Current modifications include using dumbbells or a multi-grip bar instead of the traditional straight bar. Another possible modification could be the proposed Shoulder Saver Bench Bar. The purpose of this study was to determine what the distance between the hand grips should be for the proposed bar as well as whether a “one size fits all” option would be possible. The results of the study suggest that 22 in. (56 cm) between the hand grips could suffice for a “one size fits all” option. However, offering the proposed bar in two sizes (i.e., 21 in. (53.96 cm) and 23 in. (58.77 cm)) is likely the preferred option to better accommodate users of various weights (≤ and > 165 lbs.).
... Two Paralympic sports utilize a horizontal body position, Paralympic Powerlifting and Paralympic Swimming. Paralympic Powerlifting consists of the adapted bench press, with minimal research available outside recommendations for grip width improving muscle recruitment and activation [57], and potentially reducing risk of injury [58]. This is contrary to the Para-swimming literature, which has accumulated a number of timely and relevant articles published since 2016 to evaluate. ...
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Recent research in Paralympic biomechanics has offered opportunities for coaches, athletes, and sports practitioners to optimize training and performance, and recent systematic reviews have served to summarize the state of the evidence connecting biomechanics to Paralympic performance. This narrative review serves to provide a comprehensive and critical evaluation of the evidence related to biomechanics and Paralympic performance published since 2016. The main themes within this review focus on sport-specific body posture: the standing, sitting, and horizontal positions of current summer Paralympic sports. For standing sports, sprint and jump mechanics were assessed in athletes with cerebral palsy and in lower-limb amputee athletes using running-specific prostheses. Our findings suggest that running and jumping-specific prostheses should be ‘tuned’ to each athlete depending on specific event demands to optimize performance. Standing sports were also inclusive to athletes with visual impairments. Sitting sports comprise of athletes performing on a bike, in a wheelchair (WC), or in a boat. WC configuration is deemed an important consideration for injury prevention, mobility, and performance. Other sitting sports like hand-cycling, rowing, and canoeing/kayaking should focus on specific sitting positions (e.g., arm-crank position, grip, or seat configuration) and ways to reduce aero/hydrodynamic drag. Para-swimming practitioners should consider athlete-specific impairments, including asymmetrical anthropometrics, on the swim-start and free-swim velocities, with special considerations for drag factors. Taken together, we provide practitioners working in Paralympic sport with specific considerations on disability and event-specific training modalities and equipment configurations to optimize performance from a biomechanical perspective.
... Manufacturers advertise on their websites that RT with EBD will reinforce better technique, leads to less joint stress and to greater strength gains through "overload training" (Mark Bell, n. d.; The Stronger Athlete, n. d.). Concerning technique, Green and Comfort (2007) recommend lowering the bar during the BP to the more caudal portion of the pectoralis, as well as instructing athletes 1-RM BP One-repetition maximum bench press, SD standard deviation to take a more narrow grip width (≤1.5 biacromial distance) with the aim of reducing shoulder abduction and rotation, as 90°of shoulder abduction in combination with end-range external rotation has been suggested as a vulnerable position that might increase the risk of injury (Gross, Brenner, Esformes, & Sonzogni, 1993). According to Ye et al. (2014), use of EBD squeezes the elbows closer to the trunk, which helps athletes to maintain the aforementioned recommended position while pressing and, thus, may reduce the risk of injury and pain. ...
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The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of an 8‑week powerlifting-type bench press (BP) resistance training (RT) program, either without (RAW) or with using a supportive elastic bench press device (EBD) on one-repetition maximum (1-RM), body weight (BW), mid-upper arm and chest circumference, as well as visual analogue pain scale (VAS) of the shoulder, elbow, and wrist. For this purpose, a matched pair parallel design based on initial 1‑RM was used (BPD n = 16, age 24.4 ± 4 years, RT experience 3.75 ± 1.83 years; RAW n = 16, age 25 ± 2 years, RT experience 5.66 ± 3.00 years). Following two weeks of familiarization with the protocol , BP RT was carried out twice weekly. The EBD group completed more than half of their BP sets with elastic assistance and 10% higher training intensity than the RAW group. There was a significant time × group interaction in BW ( p = 0.008). Post hoc analysis showed a significant loss of 0.92 kg in the EBD group ( p = 0.049; effect size [ES] = −0.08; 95%CI [−1.80, 0.04]). A significant time effect for 1‑RM was observed ( p < 0.001). In both groups there was a significant change in 1‑RM of 5.00 kg ( p < 0.001; ES = 0.35; 95%CI [2.98, 7.02]). There was no significant change in any circumference or VAS measure. In conclusion, using an EBD leads to 1‑RM gains similar to conventional RAW BP training. However, more studies are required with highly trained individuals, in particular female athletes. Practitioners may implement EBD training for reasons of variation.
... The bench press (BP) exercise is commonly used within resistance training programs for the development of upper-body strength and power both in athletes and in various clinical and elderly populations [12][13][14][15]. One of the frequently overlooked aspects when performing the BP exercise is the impact of grip width on the performance of the exercise [16]. Previous studies have explored the effects of different grip widths on specific muscle activation patterns [17,18], 1RM performance [19][20][21], or kinetic and kinematic outputs [22][23][24]. ...
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This study aimed (I) to compare the number of repetitions that can be completed to failure (XRM) and before reaching a 15%, 30%, or 45% velocity loss threshold (XVLT) in the bench press exercise performed using different grip widths, and (II) to examine the inter-individual variability in the percentage of completed repetitions with respect to the XRM when the set volume is prescribed based on a fixed number of repetitions (FNR) and several velocity loss thresholds (VLT). Nineteen men performed four separate sessions in a random order where there was a single set of repetitions completed to failure against 75% of the one-repetition maximum during the Smith machine bench press exercise using a narrow, medium, wide, or self-selected grip widths. The XRM (p = 0.545) and XVLTs (p ≥ 0.682) were not significantly affected by grip width. A high and comparable inter-individual variability in the percentage of completed repetitions with respect to the XRM was observed when using both an FNR (median CV = 24.3%) and VLTs (median CV = 23.5%). These results indicate that Smith machine bench press training volume is not influenced by the grip width and that VLTs do not allow a more homogeneous prescription of the set volume with respect to the XRM than the traditional FNR.
... The development of upper limb strength is one of the key factors in recreation and competitive sports training, where the bench press (BP) is often used as the training or testing tool [1][2][3][4]. Maximum strength development requires exercise stimuli at high intensity such as 1-4 repetition maximum (RM) in a training session [5], while these repetition executions are typically performed with short deceleration in the concentric phase called the sticking region (SR) [6][7][8][9]. ...
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The intrathoracic pressure and breathing strategy on bench press (BP) performance is highly discussed in strength competition practice. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to analyze whether different breathing techniques can influence the time and track characteristics of the sticking region (SR) during the 1RM BP exercise. 24 healthy, male adults (age 23 ± 2.4 yrs., body mass 85 ± 9.2 kg, height 181 ± 5.4 cm) performed a 1 repetition BP using the breathing technique of Valsalva maneuver (VM), hold breath, lung packing (PAC), and reverse breathing (REVB), while maximum lifted load and concentric phase kinematics were recorded. The results of ANOVA showed that the REVB breathing decreased absolute (p < 0.04) and relative lifted load (p < 0.01). The VM showed lower (p = 0.01) concentric time of the lift than the other breathing techniques. The VM and PAC showed lower SR time than other breathing techniques, where PAC showed a lower SR time than VM (p = 0.02). The PAC techniques resulted in shorter SR and pre-SR track than other breathing techniques and the REVB showed longer SR track than the other considered breathing techniques (p = 0.04). Thus, PAC or VM should be used for 1RM BP lifting according to preferences, experiences and lifting comfort of an athlete. The hold breath technique does not seem to excessively decrease the lifting load, but this method will increase the lifting time and the time spend in the sticking region, therefore its use does not provide any lifting benefit. The authors suggest that the REVB should not be used during 1 RM lifts.
... 16 It should also be noted that while García-Ramos et al 7 reported higher 1RM values for the flat BP compared with the 45°inclined BP (≈8%) and seated military press (≈24%), no significant differences in 1RM strength were observed in this study between the 4 BP grip widths, which is in consensus with the available literature. 32 These results suggest that the self-selected grip width could be recommended as the most ecological and practical procedure to determine the L-V relationship during the BP exercise. Note that the self-selected grip width in this study (174% [22%] of biacromial width) was comparable to the previously reported in literature (189% of biacromial width). ...
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Purpose: To compare the load-velocity (L-V) relationship between bench-press exercises performed using 4 different grip widths, to determine the association between the anthropometric characteristics and L-V profile, and to explore whether a multiple linear-regression model with movement velocity and subjects' anthropometric characteristics as predictor variables could increase the goodness of fit of the individualized L-V relationship. Methods: The individual L-V relationship of 20 men was evaluated by means of an incremental loading test during the bench-press exercise performed on a Smith machine using narrow, medium, wide, and self-selected grip widths. Simple and multiple linear-regression models were performed. Results: The mean velocity associated with each relative load did not differ among the 4 grip widths (P ≥ .130). Only body height and total arm length were correlated with the mean velocity associated with light and medium loads (r ≥ .464). A slightly higher variance of the velocity attained at each relative load was explained when some anthropometric characteristics were used as predictor variables along with the movement velocity (r2 = .969 [.965-.973]) in comparison with the movement velocity alone (r2 = .966 [.955-.968]). However, the amount of variance explained by the individual L-V relationships was always higher than with the multiple linear-regression models (r2 = .995 [.985-1.000]). Conclusions: These results indicate that the individual determination of the L-V relationship using a self-selected grip width could be recommended to monitor relative loads in the Smith machine bench-press exercise.
Article
The purpose of this study was to compare one repetition maximum (1RM), a rating of discomfort, and myoelectric activity between self-selected and experimentally controlled speeds and grip widths during the bench press (BP). Four BP conditions used were self-selected speed and grip (SS), self-selected speed and experimentally controlled grip (SC), experimentally controlled speed and self-selected grip (CS), and experimentally controlled speed and grip (CC). Twenty male individuals completed 1RM measurements with each BP condition and then performed 16 BP trials (four trials per condition) for measuring myoelectric activity. A one-way repeated measures analysis of variance was conducted for 1RM. Frequency analyses were conducted for a rating of discomfort. Two-way repeated measures multivariate analyses of variance were performed for myoelectric activity. SS showed a significantly higher 1RM than SC, CS, and CC. CC was characterised as the most uncomfortable BP condition (80%) followed by CS (15%), SC (5%), and SS (0%). There were no significant main effects and interaction of speed and width on myoelectric activity. A self-selected speed and grip width was recommended because it would allow a more practical and ecologically valid assessment of 1RM and a lower rating of discomfort during the BP.
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This experiment investigated the effects of varying bench inclination and hand spacing on the EMG activity of five muscles acting at the shoulder joint. Six male weight trainers performed presses under four conditions of trunk inclination and two of hand spacing at 80% of their predetermined max. Preamplified surface EMG electrodes were placed over the five muscles in question. The EMG signals during the 2-sec lift indicated some significant effects of trunk inclination and hand spacing. The sternocostal head of the pectoralis major was more active during the press from a horizontal bench than from a decline bench. Also, the clavicular head of the pectoralis major was no more active during the incline bench press than during the horizontal one, but it was less active during the decline bench press. The clavicular head of the pectoralis major was more active with a narrow hand spacing. Anterior deltoid activity tended to increase as trunk inclination increased. The long head of the triceps brachii was more active during the decline and flat bench presses than the other two conditions, and was also more active with a narrow hand spacing. Latissimus dorsi exhibited low activity in all conditions. (C) 1995 National Strength and Conditioning Association
Article
Background: Patients with glenohumeral instability have proprioceptive deficits that are suggested to contribute to muscle activation alterations. Hypothesis: Muscle activation alterations will be present in shoulders with anterior glenohumeral instability. Study Design: Posttest-only control group design. Methods: Eleven patients diagnosed with anterior glenohumeral instability were matched with 11 control subjects. Each subject received an external humeral rotation apprehension perturbation while reflexive muscle activation characteristics were measured with indwelling electromyography and surface electromyography. Results: Patients with instability demonstrated suppressed pectoralis major and biceps brachii mean activation; increased peak activation of the subscapularis, supraspinatus, and infraspinatus; and a significantly slower biceps brachii reflex latency. Supraspinatus-subscapularis coactivation was significantly suppressed in the patients with instability as well. Conclusions and Clinical Relevance: In addition to the capsuloligamentous deficiency and proprioceptive deficits present in anterior glenohumeral instability, muscle activation alterations are also present. The suppressed rotator cuff coactivation, slower biceps brachii activation, and decreased pectoralis major and biceps brachii mean activation may contribute to the recurrent instability episodes seen in this patient group. Clinicians can implement therapeutic exercises that address the suppressed muscles in patients opting for conservative management or rehabilitation before and after capsulorraphy procedures.
Article
The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between motor unit recruitment within two areas of the pectoralis major and two forms of bench press exercise. Fifteen young men experienced in weight lifting completed 6 repetitions of the bench press at incline and decline angles of +30 and -15[degrees] from horizontal, respectively. Electrodes were placed over the pectoralis major at the 2nd and 5th intercostal spaces, midclavicular line. Surface electromyography was recorded and integrated during the concentric (Con) and eccentric (Ecc) phases of each repetition. Reliability of IEMG across repetitions was r = 0.87. Dependent means t-tests were used to examine motor unit activation for the lower (incline vs. decline) and upper pectoral muscles. Results showed significantly greater lower pectoral Con activation during decline bench press. The same result was seen during the Ecc phase. No significant differences were seen in upper pectoral activation between incline and decline bench press. It is concluded there are variations in the activation of the lower pectoralis major with regard to the angle of bench press, while the upper pectoral portion is unchanged. (C) 1997 National Strength and Conditioning Association
Article
The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of grip width on myoelectric activity of the pectoralis major, anterior deltoid, triceps brachii, and biceps brachii during a 1-RM bench press. Grip widths of 100,130,165, and 190% (G1, 2, 3, 4, respectively) of biacromial breadth were used. Mean integrated myoelectric activity for each muscle and at each grip width was determined for the concentric portion of each 1-RM and normalized to percentages of max volitional isometric contractions (%MVIC). Data analysis employed a one-factor (grip width) univariate repeated measures ANOVA. Results indicated significant main effects for both grip width (p = 0.022) and muscles (p = 0.0001). Contrast analyses were conducted on both main effects. Significant differences (p <= 0.05) were found between grip widths G4 and both Gl and G2 relative to %MVIC. Significant %MVIC differences on the muscles main effect were also found. All prime movers registered significantly greater %MVICs than the biceps and, in addition, the triceps %MVIC was greater than the pectoralis major. (C) 1997 National Strength and Conditioning Association
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Ten consecutive patients with isolated atraumatic osteolysis of the distal clavicle who had failed results with conservative treatment were treated with arthroscopic resection of the involved distal clavicle (average, 4.5 mm). All patients were men with an average age of 30.4 years, had unilateral involvement, and were considered aggressive amateur to elite weight lifters or bodybuilders. Postoperative symptoms consisted of pain at the incision and discomfort from extravasation of the irrigation fluid. At an average followup of 18.7 months, all patients had returned to their sport (average, 3.2 days) and to their preoperative weight training program (average, 9.1 days). They continued to be asymptomatic throughout the follow-up period and were able to increase both their training volume and strength from preoperative levels. Limited arthroscopic resection of the distal clavicle for isolated atraumatic osteolysis is a viable alternative for the weight lifter or bodybuilder. The ability to continue training without significant interruption as well as a more acceptable cosmetic appearance are benefits for these patients. Limited arthroscopic resection of the distal clavicle may be sufficient for this entity in this patient population, rather than the 1 to 2 cm previously reported. A sport-specific functional outcome questionnaire has been developed for this patient population.
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Rupture of the pectoralis major muscle is an uncommon athletic injury that can result in both functional and cosmetic deficiency. To date, most ruptures occurring in athletes have occurred while performing bench press or overhead lifting maneuvers. We describe a case of a pectoralis major rupture occurring while performing weighted parallel bar dips. Despite the popularity of this exercise, injuries associated with this exercise are infrequently reported. This injury can be easily detected by having the patient perform specific maneuvers on physical examination to accentuate any defect that may be present. In most cases, this injury is surgically repaired, although conservative treatment can be a successful option. Treatment options are discussed and recommendations given. A partial or complete tear of the pectoralis major muscle is a rare event and is often not easily detected on physical examination. Surgical repair is currently recommended to restore previous levels of strength and to correct the resulting cosmetic defect. Repair is rarely necessary to perform the normal activities of daily living.
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Rupture of the pectoralis major muscle and tendon, which occurs most frequently among weight lifters but has been reported in many sports, can most often be diagnosed based on the history and physical exam. Surgical intervention for complete ruptures has a clear advantage over conservative therapy. Athletes of all levels can be expected to return to near preinjury levels of participation following surgery and a well-constructed, supervised rehabilitation program. This should involve immobilization followed by range-of-motion exercises and strength training of gradually increasing resistance.
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The repetitive nature of weight training and the often heavy loads involved provide fertile ground for chronic injuries. Common chronic injuries include rotator cuff tendinopathy and stress injuries to the vertebrae, clavicles, and upper extremities. In addition, muscle hypertrophy, poor technique, or overuse can contribute to nerve injuries such as thoracic outlet syndrome or suprascapular neuropathy. Chronic medical conditions that are known to occur in weight trainers include vascular stenosis and weight lifter's cephalgia. Management of chronic problems will vary by condition, but relative rest and correction of poor technique are important for many.
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A young man experienced bilateral anterior dislocation of the shoulders while doing seated behind-the-neck military presses. When improperly performed, military presses can cause injury because the shoulder muscles may be unable to support the weight being lifted. To improve form, avoid injury, and maximize gain from workouts, beginning weight lifters and those with shoulder instability should be counseled to use safer alternative techniques such as frontal military presses that do not allow movement posterior to the plane of the body.