Types of Grips: Characteristics, Advantages, Exercises

Types of Grips: Characteristics, Advantages, Exercises

We discuss the main types of grips used in gym exercises and their characteristics and benefits.

What is a grip?

The action of gripping, grasping, or firmly holding something with a part of the body.

In the training environment, we would be talking about grip or grip strength.

“Grip strength is the capacity of your hands to be primarily responsible for the correct execution of a movement.”

In this post, we’ll analyse the types of grips we perform in gym exercises.

What are grips for?

The level of grip strength of an athlete can determine their performance in these sports.

At the same time, depending on the type of exercise, you’ll need to choose one type of grip or another.

You’ve probably heard this phrase:

“You are only as strong as your grip allows you to be”.

And there’s a logic to this, given that more than half of your muscles are designed to help you hang and lift things off the ground.

Most of the time it’s the grip that’s exhausted first, which significantly limits the amount of work you can do with the traction muscles.

In the gym, grip and grip training itself is sometimes undervalued and not given the importance it requires.

Straps

There is a tendency to use straps, given that the ultimate goal is to finish the movement (e.g. a rowing stroke).

However, in other types of sports, such as CrossFit, we could be talking about something more serious and essential.

Grip types

The 3 fundamental types of grips that we’re going to mention are the most commonly used in gym exercises:

  • Prone.
  • Supine.
  • Neutral.
  • Types of Grips: prone

    Prone grip

  • Types of Grips: supine

    Supine Grip.

  • Types of Grips: neutral

    Neutral Grip.

Prone grip

This is done by placing the palms of the hands facing away from the body, or when holding the bar, our palms face downwards.

Pull-ups with pronel grip

The hand goes over the bar, dumbbell or kettlebell with the knuckles at the top.

The pronated grip is often used to perform: tricep extension, rows, pull-ups, barbell grip in squats, bench press and military press, or Olympic movements (loaded and snatch).

Features

  • Performing the exercises using this type of grip will lead to greater forearm fatigue.
  • However, you’ll be activating more muscle groups and gaining more strength.
  • A pronated grip can make an exercise difficult, so it’s advisable to practise it in order to do it correctly.
The more difficult the exercise, the greater the need to strengthen the associated muscles.

Supine grip

This would be the opposite grip to the previous one, where the hands will be facing the body.

Pull-ups with supine grip

Types of grips: supine pull-ups.

Features

  • The supine grip offers greater isolation than a prone grip.

Neutral grip

In the neutral grip, the position of the wrists makes it easier for the palms of the hands to face each other during movement.

In addition, and very importantly, it allows a repositioning of the elbows closer to the core, adopting a more natural motor model, and therefore, more efficient.

Pull-ups with neutral grip

Neutral pull-ups

Think that when we perform a heavy press, we tend to bring our elbows closer to the body, precisely because this increases the mechanical advantage.

Features

  • Enhanced activation of the serratus facilitating greater stability of the shoulders.
  • Decrease the risk of injury due to shoulder impingement, due to a better biomechanical position.
For the shoulders, under repetitive and continuous stress in anterior flexion and internal rotation (prone grip), the risk of impingement is high.
  • They allow a greater range of motion, which translates into greater mechanical work, greater muscle activation, greater metabolic stress and hormonal response.
This is because to perform the same number of repetitions as with prone grip and full ROM, more time is needed (greater TUT).

Why is a grip changed?

  • Essentially, to get a different stimulus and to emphasise other muscles.
For example, a biceps curl with supine or prone grip will work differently, emphasising the biceps or forearm muscle, correspondingly.
  • To enhance grip strength.
For example, using a double prone grip in a deadlift.
  • To achieve a new personal best in deadlift.
For example, performing a mixed grip deadlift will have a better chance of success than a double prone grip.

Why interchange grips during your training session?

As a method to be able to continue doing exercises of the same muscle group, avoiding the associated fatigue, and to be able to work from different angles and achieve optimal muscle development.

For example:

  • Prone pull-ups (palms down) activate the lower trapezius, latissimus dorsi and infraspinatus to a greater degree than supinated pull-ups (palms up).
  • We can perform supine pull-ups, which emphasise the biceps, while prone pull-ups produce greater activation of the latissimus dorsi.

Reverse Curl

Reverse Curl.

This is why alternating the grips will help us to develop our back muscles more effectively.

Other tips

The push press movements (bench press, push press, military press, French press, etc…) are usually performed with prone grips.

However, the benefits of performing them with neutral grips is underestimated.

Biceps curl with Z-bar

The benefits are high, so it’s more than advisable to include them in your training routine.

The advantages from a mechanical point of view, by introducing these movements as variants of the traditional “pronated grips”, mean you will boost the weights lifted in this type of exercise.

Bibliographic Sources.

  1. Vidar Andersen, Marius S Fimland, Espen Wiik, Anders Skoglund, Atle H Saeterbakken. Effects of grip width on muscle strength and activation in the lat pull-down (2014).

Related Entries

  • Improve your grip strength with these forearm exercises.
  • Make your own fat gripz inexpensively with this tutorial.
  • If you want a list of the most efficient back exercises, we recommend you visit this Post.
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About Javier Colomer
Javier Colomer
Under the motto “Knowledge Makes me Stronger”, Javier Colomer clearly expresses his intentions to share his knowledge and experience within the world of Fitness. His BPT training system is proof of this.
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