Start & Finish Position
Performed in the same manner as a regular bench press, the Wide Grip Bench Press is exactly that - performed with a wider grip.
Increasing your grip width should take some emphasis off your triceps and increase the emphasis on your chest & front deltoids. A Narrow Grip Bench Press achieving the opposite effect. The same rule can be applied to most pulling exercises, affecting back & biceps respectively.
The angle around your joints (wrists & elbows) may feel somewhat awkward at varying widths, so you should be cautious when performing these types of exercises, particularly if you have a pre-existing injury (if not completely avoided!). You may also find that bar variations help, for example, the Football Bar for bench press or an inverted grip for pulldowns etc.
A Wide Grip Bench Press is sometimes recommended for those with long limbs, which is slightly incorrect. If you follow my Key Steps for Bench Press, you'll notice that I advise your arms be at a right angle at the bottom of the movement, therefore, although a person with long limbs may have a wider grip than someone the same height with average length limbs, the rule stands. I hope this makes sense.
So, who's the Wide Grip Bench Press for? Personally, I would not teach this exercise. It has it's place amongst the Powerlifting elite, alongside other advanced training techniques, but should not be necessary in general gym training.
Below are a list of the key steps you should follow to mimic correct exercise technique & what muscles are at work.
Key Steps to performing the Wide Grip Flat Bench Press correctly:
For this exercise, you require a spotter.
1) Ensure that gym equipment is set up correctly - bench, bar, weights etc. The bar should be empty (free of weight) at this stage.
2) Lie down flat on the bench, sliding underneath the barbell. The bar should be resting on the lift-offs directly above your eyes. The bar should be empty (free from weight) at this stage.
3) Grip the bar with your hands wider (grip width will depend on you - 1.5 times your normal width is a reasonable marker) than your typical bench press grip width. Remember this grip point in correlation with the bar's knurling/ markings.
4) Inhale as you lower the bar downward to touch your mid chest - a weight will typically be drawn or lowered to the area/ muscles being worked!. Exhale, and the press the bar up.
5) Repeat the exercise for the given number of repetitions Do not lock your elbows out at the top of the movement & do not bounce the bar off your chest.
6) Warm Up. Warm up with little or no weight, performing 3 to 4 sets of 10 reps or more, in order to lubricate joints and raise local muscle temperature.
7) For your working sets, select an appropriate weight that allows you to achieve your target repetition range in a safe & controlled manner.
Muscle worked during the Wide Bench Press:
Primary Muscles: Pectoralis Major - Mid Sternal Fibres.
Secondary Muscles: Anterior Deltoids, Triceps, Serratus Anterior, Anconeus.
Stabilizing Muscles: Lateral Deltoids, Rectus Addominis, Transversus Abdominis, Forearm Flexors...