Wide Grip Bench Press from Beyond Bodybuilding


Level 1 Valued Member
I first read Beyond Bodybuilding in 2013 and learned that the wide grip bench press is a bicep exercise from it. It is my favorite upper body exercise since it works the chest, front shoulders, and arms all together. It saves me time as I don't enjoy isolating everything with flyes, curls, extensions, etc. However my form on this lift is weak and I don't really feel all these muscles working maximally. What is the best form for the wide grip bench press? I'm trying to maximally contract my chest, front shoulders, and arms all at once so I can have shorter workouts. One time at the most back in 2013 I felt my biceps wake up during a rep and they were the sorest they had ever been the next day, but I can't emulate that technique I used. I asked Pavel this question back then and he said to visualize my biceps as extensions of my pecs, but I had a hard time with it. If someone or Pavel himself again can help me with my form issue it would be great. I assume if I need to know how to bench properly in general, since I rarely feel my pecs on a bench press either. Sometimes I tweak my form mid reps and I might feel somethings changing in my recruitments. I think this form is different than the way powerlifters explain it. So thanks in advance if you can help me.



Level 6 Valued Member
If your goal is to get more pecs and arms from your bench, it might be worth switching to dumbbell bench presses if that's an option. Failing that, practise benching with an unloaded bar and isometrically tensing your pecs and bis. Once you're starting to feel it, stick some weight on the bar and try to recreate the feeling. Go light and build up to ensure your form is good before going heavy and make sure you keep the same technique you used when the weight was light.


Level 5 Valued Member

I suggest you start with a comfortable position and slowly over time widen your hand position. I also suggest you try a high frequency practice style of training at first, such as justa singles then switch to the pttp/ladder method, both of which are explained in beyond bodybuilding (p44-45 & p48-49).

Also, do not neglect your back, a big strong back will only improve your Bench.


Level 5 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
Hey Andy,
back in 2013 I felt my biceps wake up during a rep and they were the sorest they had ever been the next day, but I can't emulate that technique I used.
You might want to try some extra tension cues:

- Pull the bar apart
- Push the bar together
- Bend the bar down
- Bend the bar up

Of course, these intentions need not actually change the position of your joint angles, but experiment and see if you can pinpoint more or less activation in different muscles (including the biceps).


Level 1 Valued Member
Thanks for the cues. I actually went straight to the gym after posting and did it for about 45 minutes to get some practice and I figured out my shoulders are usually shrugged and I lower the bar too high up so I fixed them and I started to feel everything working. My answer was that I should bench like a powerlifter. I should try to get a video of my form up here next time, but thanks for the help.
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