How The Reverse Grip Bench Press Can Give You a Better Bench!

aprox. reading time: 7 minutes

You’ve Plateaued on Bench

Let me guess. You’ve plateaued on bench press. You were making all kind of gains. You finally hit 225, now you’re hitting it for reps. You’re slowly moving closer to that 315 mark however it seems you’ve been stuck at 275 for 1-2 reps for a few months now. So you try new things maybe you adjust your form because you watched a Mark Bell video or you bought a Sling Shot or you switched up the rep scheme however you still can’t increase your bench.

Reverse Grip Bench Press

Well, ladies and gentleman, as many of you know the top half of the bench press is a very tricep dominant exercise so if those skull crushers you’ve been doing aren’t enough, then we suggest you try incorporating the reverse grip bench press into your routine. You might have seen some older guys at your gym try this exercise and you might have even done it yourself once or twice but you might have never gotten the hang of it. Well here’s our advice on how you can use the reverse grip bench press to help break through your bench plateau. Also be sure to check out our article on how to increase your bench press. Need some motivation? Read about this lifter with down syndrome that benches over 400lbs!

reverse grip bench press

Also, be sure to warm-up thoroughly using resistance bands and doing a few reps without any weight.

Warming Up to Bench Press

How To

As much as we suggest staying away from the smith machine for most exercises, you should start learning the reverse grip bench press on the smith machine. You might even solely do this exercise on the smith machine but that’s up to you. One common complaint about this exercise is the pressure it places on your wrists and we’ll give you some advice on how to help mitigate that besides wearing wrist wraps.

  1. Place the bench under the smith machine so that as the bar comes down, it falls below your nipples. Right around the area where your upper abs are.
  2. Make sure to grip the bar shoulder width (slightly closer if you have dinosaur arms like me) and to keep your elbows tucked in. If you’re elbows start flaring, you might start feeling sharp pains in your shoulder and wrists so avoid flaring the elbows.
  3. As with any bench exercise, keep your feet planted on the ground and butt on the seat. You should have a slight arch in your back and your should blades should be pushed against the bench.
  4. Bring the bar down to your upper abs and as you start pushing the weight back up, make sure to engage your lats by pushing your upper back against the bench.
  5. Again don’t forget to keep your elbows tight.
  6. Make Tricep/Chest Gains



  1. Using an incline bench rather than a flat bench. Some people prefer this because it is a slightly different range of motion and incorporates a little more chest as well.
  2. Moving your grip wider in order to make this more of a chest exercise.
  3. Using the regular bench instead of the smith machine. Just be sure to go lighter at first and make sure you’ve got your technique down. You can also try unracking the bar with an overhand press and rest it in your chest while you quickly and carefully change grips. Be sure that you have a slight arch in the bar path during the extension phase. bench press bar path

    Reverse Grip Bench Press Tutorial Video

Do you incorporate the reverse grip bench press into your routine? What are some other ways you’ve found to help increase your bench press? Let us know in the comments below!