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Eur J Sport Sci. 2020 Jan 4:1-10. doi: 10.1080/17461391.2019.1704068. [Epub ahead of print]

Influence of the grip width on the reliability and magnitude of different velocity variables during the bench press exercise.

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Department of Physical Education and Sport, Faculty of Sport Sciences, University of Granada, Granada, Spain.
Facultad Ciencias de la Rehabilitación, Universidad Andrés Bello, Santiago, Chile.
Department of Sports Sciences and Physical Conditioning, Faculty of Education, Universidad Católica de la Santísima Concepción, Concepción, Chile.


This study aimed to compare the within-session reliability and magnitude of velocity variables recorded against a range of submaximal loads during the bench press (BP) exercise performed in a Smith machine using different grip widths. Sixteen physically active men (BP one-repetition maximum [1RM] relative to body mass = 1.01 ± 0.19 kg·kg-1) were randomly tested on 4 sessions using a close grip width (100% of biacromial width), medium grip width (150% of biacromial width), wide grip width (200% of biacromial width), and self-selected grip width (176 ± 17% of biacromial width). Mean velocity (MV), maximum velocity (Vmax), and vertical displacement were recorded with a linear velocity transducer against the 35%1RM, 55%1RM, and 75%1RM. The main findings revealed that (I) the self-selected was the only grip width with an acceptable reliability for all loads and velocity variables (CV ≤ 7.56%; ICC ≥ 0.82), (II) the medium grip width provided the highest reliability for MV (CV ratio ≥ 1.20), while a comparable reliability was observed for Vmax using the close, medium and self-selected grip widths (CV ratio ≤ 1.08), (III) the Vmax showed the highest reliability for all grip widths (CV ratio = 1.68), and (IV) the MV and vertical displacement of the barbell were generally higher for narrow grip widths (close and medium) compared to the wide and self-selected grip widths, while no significant differences between the grip widths were observed for Vmax (p > .05). Taken together, we recommend the assessment of Vmax using a self-selected grip width during the routine testing of BP performance against submaximal loads.


Bar displacement; Smith machine; linear position transducer; maximum velocity; mean velocity; velocity-based training

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