We discuss the main types of grips used in gym exercises and their characteristics and benefits.
What is a grip?
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.”
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”.
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.
There is a tendency to use straps, given that the ultimate goal is to finish the movement (e.g. a rowing stroke).
The 3 fundamental types of grips that we’re going to mention are the most commonly used in gym exercises:
This is done by placing the palms of the hands facing away from the body, or when holding the bar, our palms face downwards.
The hand goes over the bar, dumbbell or kettlebell with the knuckles at the top.
- 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.
This would be the opposite grip to the previous one, where the hands will be facing the body.
Types of grips: supine pull-ups.
- The supine grip offers greater isolation than a prone 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.
- 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.
- They allow a greater range of motion, which translates into greater mechanical work, greater muscle activation, greater metabolic stress and hormonal response.
Why is a grip changed?
- Essentially, to get a different stimulus and to emphasise other muscles.
- To enhance grip strength.
- To achieve a new personal best in deadlift.
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.
- 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.
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.
The benefits are high, so it’s more than advisable to include them in your training routine.
- 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).
- 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.