Prone, supine or neutral grip? | A guide to the gym

Taken In The Gym

From the first day we set foot in a gym, we look fascinated at the tools present, the machines, the dumbbells, the barbells ... Like sharks in the grip of a "food frenzy" we begin to lift things, we slip under the machines to test ourselves maybe even at haphazard because taken by enthusiasm and then realize that we need a guide.

So we begin to ask how to perform an exercise correctly, we correct the posture, we refine the technique, the breathing and yet 90% of us hardly ever dwell on how to correctly grasp the tools, dumbbells or barbells, bars, etc.

A correct grip is almost always taken for granted, the different performance that the same exercise could have in relation to the different possibilities with which to grab the tools is not taught or illustrated, so let's see how to improve the exercises thanks to the grips that we will go to. to use.

Presa Prona, Supina o Neutra?

First of all, let's start by defining what these holds are. We have 3, specifically: supine, prone, or neutral. Let's pretend you are doing the barbell rowing with your hands in the supine position, while your brother-in-arms is next to you doing the same exercise but with his hands in the prone position.

Which of the two is doing the exercise correctly? In general, there is no right or wrong position, different grip styles simply focus the work more on one area rather than another. In the case of the rower, for example, performing the exercise in the prone position will work more on the lats, while performing it with the hands in the supine position there will be greater intervention of the biceps.

Not only are grips important, we define the widths. When we exercise, the position we assume has a huge impact on the result we are going to achieve, this is because as much as we can try to isolate the muscle we will always have the intervention of more muscles complementary to the movement to perform an exercise, and small variations in the position of the hands will have the consequence of stressing one muscle more than another, moreover not only the position of the hands, but also the distance between them will have an impact on the muscles called.

We generally have grips with shoulder width, narrow (distance between the hands less than the distance between the shoulders) and wide (distance between the hands greater than the distance between the shoulders).

Examples and Considerations

Now putting everything together we can schematize, based on the position of the hands and the distance between them, the muscle groups most frequently called upon in the various exercises.

    Pull down / pull ups / back row in pronation will work the great dorsal muscle more, in supination with a tight grip it will attack the lats, heavily involving the biceps. With a neutral grip we will emphasize the work on rhombuses and trapezoids.

    Classic supine hand curls to isolate the biceps, with neutral grip (hammer) to work more with the brachioradialis muscle.

  • SHOULDER EXERCISES (shoulder barbell)
    Narrow and prone grip to work more with the anterior deltoid. By widening the handle we will work more with the central part per muscle. Lateral prone raises will work on the shoulder rotational cuff.

Let's now consider the correct grip with which to face the pull-ups, the classic free body exercise never neglected but which thanks to calesthenics has become an essential must for many athletes and where the change of grip produces the greatest differences.

The first consideration is related to the way in which we are going to approach the instrument, so in practice how to grab the bar and then lift ourselves. First of all we will grasp the pronated bar without using the thumb, but only the remaining 4 fingers. This, which at first consideration might seem destabilizing for safety, will actually allow you to keep the wrist in axis with the arm, allowing you to relax more the muscles of the forearm by delaying the accumulation of lactic acid in the same.

Here, too, as for the exercises listed above, the distance we will use between the hands will have a negative correlation with the muscle recruitment of the dorsal and pectoral muscles which are replaced, widening the grip beyond the shoulders, with the load on the central trapezius and rhomboids.

The tractions with supine grip are generally easier to perform, thanks to the synergistic use of the biceps that manages to generate more force, nevertheless it tends to be deleterious in the long term, as the shoulder cuff is particularly stressed to support the rotation of the shoulder that would be otherwise incomplete. Over time this joint stress could result in cuff inflammation.

The neutral grip in this case will avoid the stresses of the shoulder cuff, while partially guaranteeing the synergistic action of the biceps.

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