Take a different angle on the bench press and try the reverse grip bench press. Do you have old shoulder injuries or does flat bench press just hurt your shoulders for any reason? There’s a way to alleviate the pain problem and still be able to bench press. Simply change your grip. The reverse grip bench press is exactly what it sounds like. It’s still a bench press, but you use an underhand grip so that your palms face upward instead of the standard overhand grip. This simple change takes pressure off your shoulders because changing to an underhand grip forces you to externally rotate your shoulders leaving more room at the joint site for your arm to move. Basically, your shoulders are in less of a bind.
What’s even better than no shoulder pain? Research has shown that the reverse grip bench press is more effective, in fact 30 % more effective, when it comes to the muscle activity of your upper chest muscles compared to both regular bench press and incline bench press.
How To Do The Reverse Grip Bench Press
- Lie on a flat bench. Grasp the bar with an underhand, or reverse, grip. Your index finger should be on the bar markings. That’s how you set the grip width.
- The bar will rest in the palm of your hand and your hands will be slightly angled.
- Keep your wrists neutral or straight. No bending the wrists.
- Being by un-racking the bar and pressing up to the starting position just as you would for bench press.
- Keep your elbows close to your sides and lower the bar in a controlled manner down to your chest.
- Press the bar back up to the start position in a slightly backward arc. Don’t allow your elbows to flare.
- Push all the way back up just short of locking your elbows out. You want to keep a slight bend in your elbows.
Don’t have a spotter? No problem. Just use a Smith machine for this exercise.
Sample Exercise Plan
Try these cable supersets. Do four rounds of each superset for 8-12 reps.
- Reverse grip bench press
- Flat bench dumbbell flye
- Narrow dumbbell press
- Incline bench press
- Incline dumbbell flyes
- Dips for chest
- Pec Deck Machine