5 Reverse Grip Exercises for Building Maximum Muscle

Change can be scary at times. Stepping away from the norm and trying something new is tough for many of us. Too many times we become satisfied with staying in our ‘comfort zone’ and cringe at the thought of stepping outside of our comfort bubble.

But, change is good. Change leads to progression, especially when it comes to your fitness goals. Change is crucial towards development and getting rid of bad habits.

For example, if a quarterback continuously throws inefficient passes, is he going to continue performing that same throwing motion? Or, is he going to make a slight change to his throwing mechanics to achieve that perfect spiral?

If a golfer is continuously slicing the ball, swing after swing, are they going to work towards changing their swing mechanics? Of course they are.

The same goes for your nutrition and training routine. If you’re doing the same thing week after week with no change in results, are you going to continue down the same path? Or is time for a change?

A small change in your diet or training can go a long way. The change doesn’t have to be drastic. Like with the quarterback or golfer, sometimes all it takes is a small, minute adjustment to produce a positive change.

If you’re looking for a way to add something new, simple, and effective into your training, it’s time to look at changing your grip within certain exercises.

Using an overhand grip for all of your exercises is how you started your lifting journey and it’s time to change that. By making a small change to your training and switching your grip on some tried-and-true, muscle building exercises, you can effectively build newfound muscle for a stronger, more complete body.

5 Reverse Grip Movements You Should Be Doing

Reverse Grip Barbell Rows

1. Reverse Grip Barbell Curls

If you know how to perform a regular barbell curl than you will have no problem incorporating Reverse Grip Barbell curls into your workout routine. As with a regular barbell curl, place your feet shoulder width apart while holding the weight down just below your hips. But, with the reverse grip you will grip the barbell overhand with your palms facing the ground. Curl the weight up to just above 90 degrees, or until your forearm makes contact with your bicep, and lower the weight down. If performing this exercise with a straight bar puts strain on your wrist, try performing this exercise with an EZ-Bar to reduce any stress on your wrists.

Reverse-Grip Barbell curls place more emphasis on the brachialis to help you grow thicker looking arms and improve wrist and grip strength.

2. Reverse Grip Barbell Rows

One of Phil Heath’s favorite back exercises, the Reverse-Grip Barbell Rows is an exercise that will help you build some mass in back. If it’s a staple exercise for Mr. Olympia, it should be a staple exercise in your back routine as well.

When performing barbell rows you want to keep your feet should width apart with a slight bend in your knees. Keep your back flat, your spine neutral, and bend down at the hips slight as if you were going to perform a deadlift movement. With the barbell in hand and your palms facing up (reverse-grip), keep the bar close to your body as you pull the weight up and back towards the bottom of your stomach. The bar should almost be rubbing against your thighs with each repetition and squeeze your back at the top of each rep as if you were trying to squeeze your shoulder blades together. By changing your grip from overhand to underhand with the rowing movement you will be targeting more development in the lower area of your latissimus dorsi for a bigger, thicker looking back.

Reverse Grip Lat Pulldown

3. Reverse Grip Lat Pulldown

The lat-pulldown is a staple movement on back day. It’s an exercise that all lifter’s, from beginning to advanced, perform in an attempt to grow a stronger, wider back.

This movement focuses on strengthening your latissimus dorsi, or lats for short. But, in order to build a full, strong, and wide back, you want to aim at targeting your lats from all areas. By switching your grip on this movement from overhand to underhand, you shift the focus of the exercise towards the lower part of your lats. This exercise will help the overall strength and development of your latissimus dorsi, while helping you develop that V-taper shape.

4. Reverse Grip Bench Press

The Reverse-Grip Bench Press is an excellent pressing movement for those who have shoulder pain or discomfort and are looking for a way to still train their chest with a bench pressing movement.

With this movement you will lie on a bench and grab the barbell with a reverse grip, shoulder-width apart. Perform the same movement style as you would with a normal bench press, focusing on keeping your elbows tight and close to your body. Control the weight, don’t lock out your elbows at the top of the movement, and don’t let your elbows flare out throughout the movement.

Reverse Grip Triceps Pushdown

5) Reverse Grip Triceps Pushdown

Reverse Grip Pushdowns are the perfect exercise to incorporate into your arm training for developing that horseshoe-like shape in your triceps. By changing your grip to a reverse grip on this movement you shift the focus of this exercise to the lateral head.

Similar to a regular straight bar pushdown, attach the bar to a cable machine. Instead of gripping the bar with your palms facing down, grab the bar from underneath with your palms facing up. Pull the bar down until your arm is almost completely straight while feeling the squeeze on the back part of your triceps with every repetition. As with rope pushdowns, focus on your form. Don’t lose control of the weight as you want to focus on feeling the squeeze in your lateral head.

Brently Rousset

Brently Rousset is an INBA Men's Physique Novice champion and is currently studying to become a certified personal trainer. Fitness has been a part of his life since he was a kid from basketball to surfing to now bodybuilding. Brently is passionate about spreading his knowledge and experience to beginner lifter's looking to start their own fitness journey. He plans on competing for his pro card on the Men's Physique stage within the next year. Brently's true passion is writing and providing others with exercise, nutrition, and lifestyle advice.

You can reach out to Brently and connect with him on the following sites:

Twitter: @BrentlyRousset
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