Do you struggle with your grip sometimes, especially on pulling movements? Ever wondered if changing your hand grips will effect the exercise that you’re doing? Here’s a brief lowdown on different grips oyu can use, as well as some benefits.
Double Overhand Grip
This is your stereotypical grip you’d use on most exercises with a barbell or cable attachment in which both of your hands are placed with your palms facing backwards (if on an exercise that is below you), or palms facing forward if the exercise is above you (i.e. lat pulldown). On this exercise, your fingers are gripped around the bar, then your thumb over the top. This type of grip will allow you to lift heavy weight, while also working on your grip/forearm strength. As lifts get heavier however, some people may be limited by their own grip strength and may benefit from an alternate grip instead..
With this grip, one hand will be placed overhand, while the other is gripped with an underhand…this is commonly known as an alternate grip. The reason the alternate grip allows you to lift more weight is because the alternating pressure on the bar makes grip strength less of an issue (it’s harder for the barbell to roll out of your hand). This kind of grip will also bring more of your biceps into the equation on the side where you are gripping underhand so be wary of going too heavy too soon. You may also find it’s harder to set your back tightness on the underhand side, whereas with double overhand it is easier.
With a hook grip, you once again grip with a double overhand…however your thumb wraps around the bar first, with your fingers on top of your thumb. The primary benefit of hook grip is that it is as strong (maybe stronger) than alternate grip, but without the asymmetry of mixed grip. This grip also suits olympic lifts such as cleans as it allows the bar to quickly transition into the tips of your fingers when cleaning to your shoulders. As such, this is more of an advanced grip and can be quite painful to those who aren’t used to it.
You’ll see this more on dumbbell exercises, or trap bar/hex bar exercises where your palms face inwards. Neutral grip will your wrists and shoulders in a more natural position, reducing the chance of injuries. Because of the more natural gripping in this position, some find they are also a lot stronger, but like with alternate grip, bare in mind that your biceps will also take a little hit too.
So if you struggle with your grip at all…try mixing it up and try one of these instead to see if it helps. With cables for example, you can change to many different attachments to allow for differing grips. Build up slow, work on your grip strength and you’ll see how much it benefits many of your exercises.
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