Which Is Better? Wide-Grip Bench Press Vs. Close-Grip Bench Press

In strength training and muscle building, few exercises command as much attention and debate as the bench press. A staple in any gym enthusiast’s routine, the bench press is renowned for its ability to target the chest, shoulders, and triceps, promoting upper body strength and muscle growth. However, whether to perform the bench press with a wide or a close grip remains a contention among fitness enthusiasts and experts. Each grip variation offers unique benefits and challenges, catering to different training goals and preferences. Incorporating a grip strength exerciser alongside bench pressing variations can benefit individuals looking to improve grip strength and forearm development. 

Additionally, specialized grip strength exercises like grip strengtheners or grip trainers can provide targeted resistance to develop hand and forearm strength further. Whether you opt for a wide or close grip on the bench press, prioritizing grip strength exercises can contribute to a well-rounded and effective strength training regimen. This blog unravels the debate between wide-grip and close-grip bench presses, exploring each variation’s benefits, drawbacks, and considerations.

Understanding the Wide-Grip Bench Press

The wide-grip bench press involves positioning your hands wider than shoulder-width apart on the barbell. This grip width emphasizes the chest muscles, particularly the outer pectorals while engaging the shoulders and triceps to a lesser extent. Proponents of the wide-grip bench press argue that it allows for a greater range of motion and muscle activation in the chest, making it an effective exercise for building upper chest size and strength.

Exploring the Close-Grip Bench Press

Conversely, the close-grip bench press entails positioning your hands closer together on the barbell, typically shoulder-width apart or slightly narrower. This grip width emphasizes the triceps muscles, with less activation of the chest and shoulders than the wide-grip variation. Advocates of the close-grip bench press tout its effectiveness for targeting the triceps, promoting arm strength, and improving lockout strength in pressing movements.

Comparing the Benefits and Drawbacks

Wide-Grip Bench Press:


  • Greater emphasis on the chest muscles, particularly the outer pectorals.
  • Allows for a greater range of motion, potentially leading to increased muscle activation.
  • Effective for targeting the upper chest and developing overall size and strength.


  • It may place increased stress on the shoulder joints, potentially increasing the risk of injury, particularly for individuals with pre-existing shoulder issues.
  • There is limited emphasis on the triceps muscles compared to the close-grip variation.
  • It may require more stabilization and control due to the wider grip width.

Close-Grip Bench Press:


  • Places greater emphasis on the triceps muscles, promoting arm strength and lockout power in pressing movements.
  • Reduced stress on the shoulder joints compared to the wide-grip variation, making it safer for individuals with shoulder issues.
  • Effective for targeting the triceps and improving overall pressing strength.


  • Less activation of the chest muscles compared to the wide-grip variation, potentially limiting chest development.
  • Reduced range of motion compared to the wide-grip bench press may affect overall muscle activation.
  • Careful attention to grip width and hand placement is required to ensure optimal triceps engagement.

Considerations for Choosing the Right Variation

When deciding between the wide-grip bench press and the close-grip bench press, several factors should be taken into consideration:

  • Training Goals: Consider your specific fitness goals and which muscle groups you want to prioritize. The wide-grip bench press may be more suitable if you like to build a bigger chest. Conversely, the close-grip bench press may be a better choice to improve triceps strength and pressing power.
  • Individual Anatomy and Injury History: Consider your biomechanics, joint health, and shoulder or elbow injury history. Depending on their anatomical structure and injury history, some individuals may find that one grip width feels more comfortable and safer than the other.
  • Variety and Periodization: Incorporating wide-grip and close-grip variations into your training routine can provide variety and ensure balanced muscle development. Consider alternating between the two variations periodically or incorporating them on different training days to target various muscle groups and movement patterns.
  • Form and Technique: Regardless of grip width, proper form and technique are essential for maximizing effectiveness and minimizing the risk of injury. Focus on maintaining a stable, neutral spine, keeping the elbows tucked and wrists straight throughout the movement, and controlling the weight with smooth repetitions.


There is no one-size-fits-all answer in the perennial debate between wide-grip and close-grip bench presses. Both variations offer unique benefits and drawbacks, and the best choice ultimately depends on individual preferences, training goals, and anatomical considerations. Experimenting with different grip widths, incorporating variety into your training routine, and prioritizing proper form and technique are critical factors in maximizing the effectiveness of either variation. By understanding the nuances of each exercise and tailoring your approach to suit your specific needs, you can optimize your bench press performance and achieve your strength and muscle-building goals effectively. 

Integrating a grip strength exerciser like grip strengtheners or grip trainers alongside bench pressing variations can enhance your overall upper body strength and stability, ensuring a well-rounded approach to your training regimen.

Akshay Sharma is a writer who loves sharing views on health and food topics. He is constantly in search of new articles and posts on topics related to health and its branches. Currently, he works with LoveNationalDental which is the best best dentist new york.

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