Change Your Grip to Make Big Changes

By: Jewel Kessler, CPT, FNS

You may hear many trainers or instructors say during pushups, bench presses, bicep curls, or lat pulldowns to keep your hands shoulder distance apart for upper body exercises. Shoulder distance apart is typically the most stable starting point for people to learn how to correctly perform movement. However, that doesn’t mean it’s the only option out their when it comes to upper body exercises. For example, if you spread the hands a few inches out that will engage and strengthen more of the inner portion of your biceps. Bringing your hands in a few inches builds more of the outer part of the bicep.

Here are a few examples of three basic grips you can use when working out. They may seem very subtle but they create big changes, especially if you’ve never used different grip positions. By simply changing the direction of your wrist you can target your muscles in a whole new way.

Neutral Grip

Palms face each other


Overhand Grip

Palms face down or back. Also referred to as pronated grip.


Underhand Grip

Palms face forward or face up. Also referred to as supinated grip or reverse grip.