Chest Exercises

Bench More Instantly With This Four-Step Grip Primer

Tweak your technique and see immediate improvement.

The Once-A-Week Strength Solution

The Problem

You’re training hard for a bigger bench, but when the bar is on your chest, you feel as if all the pressure is on your pecs and your triceps. You’re not involving any other muscles, and you’re not getting stronger.

The Solution

Fix your grip. Instead of simply allowing the bar to sit on your palms—or worse, using the thumbless “suicide grip”—you need to start gripping the bar with authority and using the strength in your hands, wrists, and forearms to help you explode the bar through to lockout. Using a tight bench-press grip has myriad advantages. First, it helps activate your central nervous system, which better prepares you to handle heavy loads. Next, it recruits more of the stabilizing muscles in your lats, traps, deltoids, and mid-back. Finally, since you’ll never drop a barbell on your face if you employ this grip, benching with active hands will save you a ton of money on dental work.

Next: Brian Carroll’s Four-Step Bench Solution