T Nation

Inverted Hands?

I was working out yesterday and I saw someone benching in a way I had never seen or heard of before. Rather than gripping the bar with the usual overhand grip, this guy was using an underhand grip - like he was doing a barbell row lying down. Does this method have any merit? It looked like it could cause some serious damage to the wrists.

Are we talking about reverse grig bench press here?

possibly a “reverse grip” but I am not sure about a “reverse grig”

Yes, what you saw is a reverse grip bench. It’s a perfefctly legit bench variation to work into a routine; if you try it, you’ll notice that supinating your hands brings your elbows in towards your sides and thus makes the movement involve the triceps more heavily than regular bench.

There are better ways to activate the tripeps in a bench press. Few are qualified or skilled enough to perform reverse grip bench presses safely, at least with heavy weight.

Is the muscle stimulus in this type of bench press any better than that in a close-grip bench press? I still think the movement looked unsafe on the guy that was doing it - probably considering he may not have been doing it correctly…

Excellent way to kill yourself.

Yeah, it’s fantastic until it pins your face the bench.

The movement isn’t safe at all on the horizontal plane. The standard grip has the benefit of lat support if the barbell starts to fall behind you. Your thumbs won’t support 200 lbs in a supinated grip.

Similarly, if the triceps give out, you’re screwed. It’s no great task to transform a CG bench into the real, and much more powerful, deal by shifting your elbows. No such luck here.

DI

It may interest you to know that Anthony Clark, who holds the all-time bench press record in powerlifting competition at 365.1 kg (805 lb), uses a reverse grip.

anthony clark used the reverse grip to bench almost 800 pounds in competition. the barbarian brothers used to reverse grip bench over 500 pounds. excellent tricep workout. its a safe way of benching if you do it right. always use a spot to rack and unrack the weight. Stay close to the rack so you don’t have to rotate your shoulders as much. and some people cock your wrists back some so the thumb does not hold all the weight. however, some people keep their wrists straight.

[quote]
Yeah, it’s fantastic until it pins your face the bench.

The movement isn’t safe at all on the horizontal plane. The standard grip has the benefit of lat support if the barbell starts to fall behind you. Your thumbs won’t support 200 lbs in a supinated grip.

Similarly, if the triceps give out, you’re screwed. It’s no great task to transform a CG bench into the real, and much more powerful, deal by shifting your elbows. No such luck here.

DI [/quote]

I disagree with your assumption that this movement isn’t safe. When you position the bar so it’s over the base of your hand, thumb under, it’s completely supported by your wrist and your forearm. The Un-safe part is during the unrack and rerack, always get a spotter and your good to go. And if you are working without a spotter doing convential bench press and your triceps give out, your just as screwed.

I like doing reverse grip press on Heavy tricep days. I agree with you complexly though if you are looking to work your chest there are MUCH better movements than this.

I do it on occasion. It’s just another tool and if done properly and with adequate precautions, I believe it can be effective and safe. But, yes you have to be very careful with it.

I tried it, and it was quite awkward. Besides, I’m strong believer in having a core group of exercises that you regularly perform and not deviating from them a great deal. You actually can get good at some of them! Trying to incorporate tons of exercises and multiple variations of an exercise is counterproductive and mostly a waste of time.

Joel

Wouldn’t decline dumbell press with plams facing inwards be safer? Seems like it’d bring in your elbows a bit but still alow activation of the lower pecs. Probably a good alternative to the dip.

rev. bench is a good to do on tri day during a period when you are working on improving your bench. It helps you get past the sticking point on bench. When doing rev. bench, you’re much stronger on the bottom and the sticking point is at almost lockout. Try using them for a month if you’ve been stuck at a certain max and I almost bet you’ll bast past your prev. max

Guru X

Phat:

Unfortunately, I rarely have the luxury of a spotter. Until I did OVT, all of my chest workouts were based almost entirely on dumbbell movements.

I stand by what I said, but I suppose if you can handle the risk, you can handle the exercise.

DI

Yep, I wouldn’t do this if I didn’t have a spot. Actually if you don’t feel comfortable (Ie…your in danger kind of uncomfortable) with any movement I wouldn’t do it.

The funny part was I did these tonight as I was finishing off my Tri’s. Each his own I suppose.

What about doing them with dumbells, then, instead of a barbell?

I think you’ll find that this is extremely difficult. A barbell will really help manage the akwardness of the grip and the tendency of your wrists to want to turn while you’re doing the exercise. So, if you use dumbells, I would expect that you might not be able to keep strict form.