You are here
Home > Sports Specific Rehabilitation > Weight Training > WHICH THUMB GRIP?


picture of 2 types of thumb grips in bench pressing weights

There are many bodybuilders and power-lifters who have had, or are currently suffering from wrist, arm or elbow injuries due to poor bench press techniques when training. Sadly many gyms have instructors who are not actually qualified to offer bodybuilding or power-lifting instruction and this leaves enthusiasts at the mercy of poor training and injury. So when it comes to thumb grip which is best, normal thumb grip or “suicide grip”?

  • Normal Thumb grip: The thumbs are wrapped around the bar.
  • Suicide Thumb grip: The thumb is place behind the bar and this creates a wider surface area for the bar to sit on the hand.




When you look at the normal thumb grip, you see that the surface area for holding the bar in the palm of the hand is smaller than the thumb-less grip, however you have more control over the bar.  There is a decreased loading on extensors of the wrist (back of hand) and potentially less chance of the bar slipping out of grip. The downside to this however is that you might lift less weight this way.

The thumb-less or ‘suicide grip’ however does have more hand surface area.  The idea is that more weight is lifted along a straight line from the base of the hand down through the wrist and also down through the arms towards the elbow. Whilst this has merit, there is greater risk and Therapyroom1 does not advocate this method. You are:

  • prone to loss of grip.
  • over straining the wrist at the carpel joint causing the wrist to give way either forwards or backwards.

One more thing, if you do bench press at any time then please get a spotter to help you. We have also noticed a large amount of injuries occurring within the elbow causing ‘clicking’ when the elbow is bent under load. We know why and how to solve this problem and you can too if you call us at Therapyroom1, or look for the answer in our coming newsletters.

Which is better – thumb less or wrap around thumb grip?

Similar Articles