Lifts series: Reverse grip bench press
This is the second entry in the Lift series, in which I talk about my main lifts. Again, don’t believe my advice as I’m not an expert. I only write about what works for me.
Lift 2: Reverse grip bench press
This exercise focuses on the pectoral muscles. But like the regular bench press, it also involves the lower body. To lift heavy weight you must incorporate leg drive.
Setup is similar to the regular flat bench. Lock your shoulders by squeezing them back. Arch your chest up. Plant your feet on the ground. Knees stay below hips. For the grip, you turn your palms back toward your body. Be sure that your grips are secure. Barbell slipping out of your hands will not be fun.
Squeeze the bar tightly before you unrack. I keep my butt off the bench as I lift the bar off. Then I lower the butt to the bench as the bar is in the starting position. The legs shouldn’t be moving around at this point. They should be tight and still, ready to generate the leg drive.
Start the lift by lowering the bar to touch the chest. For me, the comfortable position to touch is right below the nipples. Then drive feet into the ground to generate power through the hips toward the chest, and press up the bar. Feel good about yourself.
As with any variation of the bench press, this movement is not natural, unlike the squat. You don’t normally lie flat and push something heavy above yourself. So make sure you set up correctly or you could easily injure yourself.
This lift is my main upper body workout. I found that the reverse grip is more friendly to the shoulders. You probably lift less weight with the reverse grip than the regular grip and triceps don’t get worked as much. However, you activate the upper chest and biceps more. They are both great chest exercises. So mix them up and hit all the muscles.
Other lifts: Squat