20 February 2024

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Optimize Muscles with Grip and Wrist Position

Tiny tweaks to your grip and wrist position while pumping iron can result in significant muscle gains. “It is often overlooked how a simple change in hand placement can make a difference in muscular results,” Natalie Wolfe, NASM, CPT, says.

Without changing a real workout, “Simply adjusting your hand/wrist position when lifting weights is a very effective method for training the targeted muscles from different angles, and placing new and different stresses on the body.” (Which is required to push your muscles to the next level.”

The end result? Your muscles acquire strength from every direction, increasing stamina, strength, and physical development.

So, instead of always hitting your muscles from the same position, perhaps generating a plateau, you’re testing them from every aspect with grip and wrist position, operating them to grow.

Let’s start with the ideal grip and wrist position variants for strength training.


Now that you understand the significance of changing your hand position when lifting, let’s look at the most frequent grip variations.

“Avid gymgoers should consider using grip variations such as the pronated, supinated, mixed, neutral, and hook grips for training.” Wolfe claims.

When it comes to shaking things up at the gym, these tweaks might make all the difference.

  • Pronated Grip (also known as an overhand grip): When executing a resistance exercise, turn your hands away from you. Bicep curls, pull-ups, bench presses, deadlifts, and squats are all common exercises.
  • Supinated Grip (also known as an Underhand Grip): Your palms should be pointing up or towards you. Frequently used for chin-ups and reverse rows. (Palms facing you, knuckles away).
  • Mixed Grip: Supinated and Pronated grip postures are combined in a mixed grip.
  • Neutral Grip: It is one in which the palms face each other, as in the Hammer Curl exercise.
  • Hook control: A hold on a barbell achieved by overlapping the index and middle fingers over the thumb. Strength-related sports such as Olympic weightlifting, PowerLifting, and CrossFit frequently use it.


Small changes in the grip and wrist position of the hands can have a major effect.

The Bench Press: According to Wolfe, most lifters position their hands on the barbell just a touch wider than shoulder width, and in general, this produces the finest results, hitting your pecs while simultaneously working your triceps. However, if you stretch your hands a few inches wider, you will apply even more tension on your pecs, taxing your muscles even more and from a different ‘angle’. Moving your hands closer together, on the other hand, will have the reverse effect, increasing the load on your triceps while decreasing the demand on your pecs.

Pulling activities: “Changing your grip width during stretching exercises like Rows and Pullups has a similar effect on the muscles,” Wolfe adds. Going wide targets your rear delts and upper back muscles, including your traps and rhomboids, whilst going narrow targets your lats and biceps. “There are so many back muscles that just changing your grip from pronated to supinated can change the targeted muscle,” she says.

Bicep Exercises: A bicep curl is often performed with a supinated grip (meaning your palms are towards you). “The hands are in a pronated grip for the Reverse Curl, which means your palms are facing away from you.” Switching to a palms-down hold will focus your forearms and grip strength considerably more than a regular Curl,” says Wolfe, resulting in muscle changes.

“Your grip and wrist position can also be put in a neutral position when training biceps,” Wolfe explains, and the Hammer Curl is an example of a neutral grip exercise since it puts the maximum stress on the forearm. “These are just a few examples of what happens when you switch up your grip on certain exercises,” adds Wolfe, urging you to experiment with different grips every now and again. “There are many more exercises and body parts that can be manipulated by doing so,” she says.


When your exercise routine has become boring and your results have stagnated, Wolfe recommends adjusting your grip position as a small tweak to break through a plateau. “You don’t necessarily have to change your grip and wrist position during every workout, especially if hypertrophy is your goal, “she explains. “Progressive overload and time under tension are still the bread and butter of muscle growth; It’s when you hit that wall in a certain exercise that changing your grip can help you progress.”

Simply simply, if you reach a wall or a plateau and are unable to observe progress, change your grip position.


Stretching your wrists regularly and include a few of grip strength exercises in your mobility routine can help maintain your wrist and grip healthy.

Wrist Straps: Wearing wrist wraps for harder workouts, such as bench, bicep curls, and shoulder presses, will provide extra support and reduce wear and tear over time.

And, as with everything else in exercise, listen to your body; you know when you need to relax. If you’re experiencing pain that goes beyond regular soreness, take some time to relax and stretch.

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