Switch Your Hand Placement – Jeremy Clevenger

Jeremy Clevenger – @Jeremy_Clevenger

Almost every person who has some experience lifting weights has their “go to” hand placement when it comes to a lift. Some people prefer a wider grip than closer, depending on the lift, and vice versa. Using the grip you are strongest in isn’t always a bad idea, but you also may be missing out on the benefits that come with switching your grip on the bar.

I have always personally tried to switch my grips up through training, due mainly to the fact that I’m not particularly strong at one specific spot, but also, to target the muscle in different ways. On bench, my go to is ring finger on the ring; squat is index finger on the ring; and deadlift is as close as possible with my index finger on the edge of the knurling.

Switching your hand placement during bench press has paid huge dividends for me when it comes to targeting certain muscles. For example, bringing in your grip on bench press, allows for you to hit the triceps more than wide grip would, just as moving to a wider grip will work more of your front delts and shoulders. Moving your grip inward or outward even an inch or two can create an entirely different feel and stretch on the muscles resulting in greater stimulation of the muscles targeted.

When it comes to squats, hand placement variation is also key. When a person squats with a wider stance, typically they will have their hands farther out on the bar, due to the fact that their feet are covering a larger space than a close stance. When you draw the line from the hands/wrists straight down to the feet, it should be a as straight of a line as possible. Also, when you have a close stance squatter, their hand placement will tend to be more toward the middle of the bar, as their feet are covering less space. So bringing your hands in on a wide stance squat will benefit you just as much as moving your hands wider on a close stance squat. Switching your hand placements while squatting is beneficial because you are getting stronger in the areas where you are weak. You are only as strong as your weakest link.

On deadlift, there is such a vast variety of grips that people use. From hook-grip to over-under, to double over. What many people don’t realize when deadlifting is that changing your hand placement on the bar is very beneficial in many ways. Widening your grip on the bar can help you learn to engage your lats as well as strengthen your lats for your regular grip. If a person can engage their lats and keep them tight while in a wider grip then moving back into the normal grip should not be a problem at all. Just think about it, is it easier to hold something with your hands closer to you, or farther away from you? Closer, because the tighter you are, the more weight you can handle. This relates to deadlift because ideally you want to be as tight as possible to generate as much force as possible.

Even though you may be stronger in a particular spot on the bar, it never hurts to try something new while training. You may find that there is a new sweet spot simply based on how your body is developed at that point.

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