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Bench Press: Pull Apart or Squeeze?
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OUBobcatLifter
Level 1

Join date: Nov 2002
Location: Ohio, USA
Posts: 104

I've got a question regarding hand placement on the bench press. Should I be pulling the bar apart or squeezing my hands together when I press? I've always been under the impression that I should try to tear the bar apart when i lift, but someone on another post claimed the hands should be squeezed together. Who is right on this one?

I also have to add that i'm pysched because I tied my PR on flat bench today after 3 years of struggling. I've vowed to hit 250 in 2 weeks for the first time ever. Also PR'd on deads, barbell rows, and feel like I can squat a PR by a mile(darn Nike Shox have too much cushion, time for some chucks)

Anyway, i'll aprpreciate any feedback you guys and gals can give me.

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sasquatch
Level 3

Join date: Feb 2005
Location: Wisconsin, USA
Posts: 2865

I posted on another thread, I believe it was 'big bench=big chest?' that
in an old mag I was reading that Pavel suggested using the squeeze method.

As you push the bar away from you, actually as you push your back into the bench, you *feel* as though you are trying to push your hands together at some apex in front/above you. Similar feel to doing a pec deck flye is how he explained the feel.

In the same article he describes a second *feel* and this is to flex your bi's. Don't bend at the elbow just flex the bi. Because of a recruitment relationship between pecs, bis, and tris
you will feel the pecs. This one sounds al little more complicated to get.

Again, to your question, this poster and Pavel would say squeeze in.

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ruggerstiff
Level

Join date: Jul 2003
Location: Minnesota, USA
Posts: 18

All the westside guys say to pull the bar apart. This activates the triceps more, which help for a bigger bench.

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miniross
Level 1

Join date: Feb 2005
Location: England
Posts: 1397

bending is also helps, this brings the lats and tris into play.

i think there are a number of succesful techniques like this.

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sasquatch
Level 3

Join date: Feb 2005
Location: Wisconsin, USA
Posts: 2865

I would not want to go against the westsiders so my advice would be to try each--(m-ross?)--squeeze and pull and different grip widths and elbow flares and incline/decline degrees...

Many ways to skin a cat. Figure out what works best for your goals and physiology. Bench away--(sorry Z)

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BLUE
Level 1

Join date: Dec 2002
Location: Ontario, CAN
Posts: 98

squeezing the bar is a technique better employed for raw bench pressing, as this style is centered more around pec strength. Pulling the bar apart puts more emphasis on the triceps and is more appropriate for shirt-benching, which requires more lockout power. also , if you bench high on your chest, i'd give squeezing a try. if you bench low, pulling the bar apart might be more appropriate.
stay strong.

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OUBobcatLifter
Level 1

Join date: Nov 2002
Location: Ohio, USA
Posts: 104

I'm suprised I never thought to squeeze the bar together before as the reasoning for it makes perfect sense. I'm going to give this a try tomorrow and see how it goes.

Many thanks for the tips

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Joe Weider
Level 4

Join date: Sep 2004
Location:
Posts: 2643

I'd think you might want to be a little careful sqeezing the bar together, as it were, it might well get the pecs involved but also seems like a good way to get the delts more involved if they're stronger already.
YMMV.

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