The influence of grip width and forearm pronation/supination on upper-body myoelectric activity during the flat bench press

J Strength Cond Res. 2005 Aug;19(3):587-91. doi: 10.1519/R-15024.1.


The myoelectric signal of the sternoclavicular and clavicular portions of the pectoralis major, the biceps brachii, and the lateral head of triceps brachii of 12 healthy men was collected during an isometric hold of 5 different bench press exercises. Grip width (narrow, mid, and wide) and the level of supination/pronation was varied to determine how these factors influence myoelectric amplitude during the flat bench press. A supinated grip resulted in increased activity for the biceps brachii and the clavicular portion of the pectoralis major. Additionally, moving from wide to narrower grip widths increased triceps activity and decreased the sternoclavicular portion of the pectoralis major. However, if the grip was supinated, moving to a narrower grip position did not result in a decrease in muscle activity of the sternoclavicular portion of the pectoralis major. The increase in triceps brachii activity when moving to a narrower grip width was not influenced by the level of supination. Considering the small changes that occur during changes in grip width, the choice of grip position should be determined by the positions athletes adopt during their sport. Sport specificity should supercede attempts to train specific muscle groups.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Arm / physiology*
  • Electromyography
  • Hand Strength / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Isometric Contraction / physiology
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Pectoralis Muscles / physiology
  • Pronation / physiology
  • Supination / physiology
  • Weight Lifting / physiology*