Whenever I bench press I notice that the weight is transferring back onto my wrists. I feel I could go to a higher weight but slight pain when doing this is holding me back. Is this because of bad form (I googled this but wasn't sure) or, alternatively, do I need to get more strength in my wrists before this goes away?

  • with barbell or dumbbells?
    – Robin Ashe
    Aug 30, 2012 at 19:27
  • @Robin Ashe barbell
    – Michael A
    Aug 30, 2012 at 21:34

1 Answer 1


When you bench press, it is very important to try and keep your wrists from bending back from the weight in your hands. In other words, you want to have your elbow inline all the way up with your knuckles. If it's too hard to do that with the weight you're using, than that's a sign that you're using too much weight.


This page should help you understand the correct form and technique for bench pressing safely. There is also a video of Mehdi demonstrating the correct form. If you'll pay attention to his wrist you will notice that he keeps them almost perfectly inline with his elbows.

  • This sounds dangerous. The wrists shouldn't bend back from the weight, but they should be bent back. Otherwise all the strain is put on the thumbs, and the stability of the wrist is impaired. However, the position of the bar in the hand should not be too close to the knuckles, as it creates unnecessary momentum. Aug 31, 2012 at 7:12
  • I'm not really sure what you mean when you say that this sounds dangerous, especially since I found nobody saying that the wrists should be bent back while doing my research on this issue. Additionally, when you say that the bar should not be too close to the knuckles, if by that you mean that the bar should rest on the bottom part of the palm then I fully agree, and I realize now that I should have mentioned that in my answer. Aug 31, 2012 at 18:28
  • I can't find any credible sources saying they should be straight either. Unfortunately, the only references for bent wrists I have are a Swedish physiotherapist weighing the pros and cons of both approaches at his blog (in Swedish): traningslara.se/hur-ska-man-halla-handlederna-vid-pressovningar and information given by the Swedish Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation (IFBB-affiliatied) at their instructor's courses. Sep 5, 2012 at 10:40

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