Super Meet: Wide Grip vs. Normal Grip Bench Press

Next month’s Super Meet will have the following standards with the bench press:

  • Head, shoulders, and butt must remain on the bench at all times. The back can arch as much as the athlete desires so long as these three points of contact remain on the bench.
  • Both feet must be touching the ground throughout the entire lift. If the feet move or heels leave the ground, it is okay so long as they never completely leave the ground.
  • Athletes with shorter femurs can elevate the ground with a sturdy object (i.e. bumper plate) that will constitute the floor. This “new floor” cannot exceed 3-inches (45 lb hi-temp bumper plate).
  • Hands must be within 101 cm from each other. A thin piece of tape will be wrapped around the bar on either end to indicate where the athlete’s hands must be inside.
Wide grip bench press on the left; normal grip bench press on the right. Picture taken from here.

Videos of the standards, along with potential “no-reps”, will be produced next week. All questions related to the standards can be emailed to me at

Similar to the other power lifts, the wide grip bench press recruits different muscles than the normal grip bench press. The wide grip technique will use more of the pec muscles while the normal grip will use more triceps and shoulders.

Similar to the sumo deadlift, the wide grip bench press will also shorten the range of motion of the lift. But according to the International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) rulebook, the 101 cm standard prevents too much of a drastic change in the distance the bar travels.

What I’m looking forward to…

The Utah Super Meet will bring together athletes from four sports: crossfit, weightlifting, powerlifting, and strongman. The reason for us allowing multiple techniques on the lifts is to simply highlight the different disciplines.

For example, I anticipate the crossfitters and weightlifters to do a high-bar back squat, conventional deadlift, and a normal grip bench press. I also fully expect them to squat snatch and split jerk.

The powerlifters and strongman will probably do the opposite on all of these lifts: low-bar back squat, sumo deadlift, wide-grip bench press, power snatch, and push jerk (or maybe even push press!).

I think this will be very exciting, both as a competitor and a spectator.

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