Archive for the tag - wide grip

Wide Grip Vs. Narrow Grip Bench Press.

Mr. McMuscles demonstrates the narrow bench press grip.

The bench press is one of the most common strength training exercises around; it’s tried, true and extremely effective. Though the bench press primarily works the pectoral muscles in your chest, by changing the width of your grip, you can change the focus of the muscles being worked.

Standard Grip

Though many Olympic barbells come with etched guides for your hands, a standard grip is different from person to person. Generally, a standard grip results in a perfect 90 degree elbow angle in the starting position of the exercise. In addition to your pectoral muscles, the standard grip will also result in some activation of the deltoids and triceps.

Narrow Grip

To use a narrow grip, exercisers must start with their hands shoulder-width apart (as depicted in the accompanying photo). This is several inches closer together than in the standard grip. With this grip, and by keeping your elbows in towards your hips as you lower the bar, you shift the focus of the exercise more into the triceps.

Wide Grip

To use a wide grip, extend your hands a few inches beyond the standard grip. While widening your grip will reduce the range of motion in each repetition, the focus of the exercise will primarily be on the outer portions of your pectorals. Since this exercise puts considerable stress on shoulder joints, it’s not for everyone. In addition, it’s generally recommended that exercisers only lower the bar 3 – 4 inches from the chest – and not all the way down.

By changing your grip, you can change the focus of the muscles being exercised. But for most of us, a standard grip is safest and sufficient. Still, it’s always good to occasionally mix things up and to keep your workout fresh.

Lat Pulldown Grip: Wide Vs. Close.

Dear Davey,

Does it matter how far apart or close my hands are when doing a lat pulldown? Is one more effective than the other?

Love,
Jacob

Dear Jacob,

The lat pulldown is a great exercise for your back. Primarily, it works the lat muscles (hence the name) – but you’ll also feel this exercise in your biceps and traps. There are four basic variables involved in a lat pulldown: The distance between your hands on the bar (wide or close grip) and the type of grip you employ (overhand or underhand).

When it comes to close vs. wide grips and underhand vs. overhand, researchers at Penn State put lat pulldowns to the test:

Twelve healthy men performed the 4 grip variations using an experimentally determined load of 70% of 1 repetition maximum. Two trials of 5 repetitions were analyzed for each grip type.

The researchers measured the effectiveness of each grip variation and found that a overhand

The lat pulldown machine.

(pronated) grip is the most effective:

We conclude that… a pronated grip is recommended for safely and optimally training the LD [latissimus dorsi muscle], irrespective of the grip width.

An pronated or overhand grip is when your palms face away and your fingers turn downward over the bar. Interestingly, as the research notes, there is no difference in effectiveness between a wide or close grip – so hold the bar at a width that feels comfortable.

Bottom line: Use an overhand grip at any width when performing a lat pulldown.

I hope that helps!

Love,
Davey