Illegally Wide Bench Press

Cory Gregory


I’ve been one of the fortunate ones to have had the opportunity to go through all of the Golden Era Pumping Iron footage in Arnold’s office.  One of the things that I saw and read about from other Golden Era bodybuilders was “wide” to “illegally wide” bench press work.  One bodybuilder in particular that was a huge advocate of this grip was Serge Nubret.  For those of you that aren’t familiar with him, you need to check out Serge Nubret because he had one of the best physiques in the Golden Era. 

The reason why they loved the wide-grip bench press was because of the way it opened up their chest to help it grow.  I saw them do two things all the time: the first one was tons of Incline Bench Press with a high touch point, and the second was Wide-Grip Bench Press. 

Now, when most people do wide-grip bench press they go too heavy and at the wrong angles.  The result could potentially be a shoulder injury.  What I’m here to say is that if you are going to do illegally-wide bench press (right at the last knurling mark or outside), work with a moderate weight and aim to touch the bar right above your nipples, and stay in a higher rep range.  Concentrate and work on getting a totally absurd pump.  Don’t be concerned with moving the most weight possible for this exercise.

For example, if you work with 5-8 sets of 15-20 reps it will force the chest to grow.  Exposing your chest to this volume, grip and angles leaves your chest with no other choice other than to grow bigger.  If you have plateaued on your pecs, you MUST try Illegally-Wide Bench Press for volume.