The legal bench press cheating in powerlifting has reached epic proportions, especially in the female divisions. Women can develop supreme spinal flexibility, as seen in gymnastics, which allows them to arch their backs to extreme degrees. The big arch shortens the range of motion by removing the bottom portion of the lift, which is traditionally chest dominant and very hard for women. Therefore, with the help of extraordinary back arching, heavy weights are lifted by women.
Since we all know that powerlifters will go to the extremes to lift more weight in competition, limiting the grip width prevents shoulder and chest injuries. Super wide grip is not tolerated by most people. Through restrain of the grip width the number of potential injuries is also reduced. Why would you kill yourself pushing with a wide grip, when your lift will not receive white lights in contests in the first place? Another reason for having a grip limit is range of motion preservation, although it is arguable how much federations care about this one.
Another problem is that the rules are the same for all men and women.
Let me finish, feminist activists!
For a small 100 lbs / 50 kg woman the legal grip actually represents illegal grip. The regulations once again allow women to actually cheat while following the rules.
This is the reason why female bench pressers use extremely wide grip (for their shoulder structure). That amazing “technique” shortens the range of motion even more. The ironic part is that the big arch makes extra wide grip bench presses pretty safe because there is no bottom portion. Therefore, the shoulders and the pec tendons are not under extreme stress, which would be the case, if the arch was smaller, and the lifter had to fight the barbell at the bottom.
The result of this high level logic is the birth of the 1-inch bench press. Rumor has it your real bench press is about 10% of your 1-inch bench press.
Arch more! Be “strong””!