For a lot of lifters, the bench press is the star of their chest day exercise.

However, earlier than you go for the normal model, I would wish to level your consideration to a much less well-known however equally useful variation: the reverse grip bench press. Whereas the usual bench press lets you carry heavy, the reverse bench press is extra shoulder-friendly and lets you really feel your pecs working much more.

It could look barely intimidating and isn’t a standard train you will typically see within the fitness center, however that’s all of the extra cause to grasp the best way to do it and the features you might be lacking out on.

So, if you happen to’re able to revamp chest day to make it much more efficient, the first step is to learn to carry out the reverse grip bench press, and step two is to start out doing it!

In a nutshell, the reverse grip bench press is just like a standard bench press with one massive distinction: Your knuckles face towards your ft as a substitute of your face.

Utilizing a supinated grip, which leads to your palms going through you, creates biomechanical modifications to your physique through the motion, shifting the a part of your chest that the train primarily targets. Actually, the underhand bench press will goal the higher chest rather more than another urgent variation, particularly the normal bench press.

The reverse grip causes your elbows to tuck into the perimeters extra and will increase the gap the bar will journey horizontally. Doing this lets you contact the bar nearer to your decrease chest.

The reverse grip additionally emphasizes your biceps greater than the common bench press. 

The reverse grip bench press doesn’t come with out its faults, and it may be difficult for the wrists and forearms, particularly in case you are an inexperienced lifter. As with every new carry, it’ll require a slight studying curve and mastering the shape earlier than including heavier weights into the combo.

Your chest muscle tissues are the celebs of the present when performing the reverse grip bench press. However they don’t seem to be the one ones onerous at work. Let’s take a better have a look at the muscle tissues labored through the reverse grip bench press.

  • The pec main is a fan-shaped slab in your higher chest that has two heads named after the place they originate. The clavicular head makes up the higher chest muscle tissues and attaches to the collarbone, whereas the sternocostal head makes up the decrease chest and attaches to the sternum, costal cartilage, and collarbone. Within the reverse grip bench press, the higher chest fibers assist with shoulder flexion, bringing the bar up and again through the press1. The opposite chest parts are nonetheless lively, however the higher chest will get essentially the most activation.
  • This smaller triangular-shaped muscle is beneath the pec main however nonetheless performs an essential function. It attaches to ribs three by means of 5 after which inserts into the shoulder blade. It supplies stability to the shoulder joint, particularly when the shoulder blades are protracted.
  • The extensors and flexors of your wrist are onerous at work throughout this train as they stabilize and maintain your wrist in a impartial place. The supinated and barely cocked again place can even be difficult to your grip.
  • The biceps is a two-headed muscle that sits on prime of your higher arm within the entrance of your physique. The bis work to flex your elbow, and through this motion, they obtain twice the stimulus {that a} common bench press would offer through the sluggish eccentric portion of the carry. It is among the few urgent actions that gives this type of biceps work.
  • This three-headed muscle that sits on the again of your higher arm extends and stabilizes your elbow and the shoulder joint. They are going to be lively through the urgent portion of the reverse grip bench press.
  • The deltoid has three heads, however solely the anterior deltoid receives a stimulus throughout this motion. This shoulder muscle is lively through the shoulder flexion portion of the carry, permitting you to really feel the higher chest contract. The place the common bench press will be onerous on the shoulders because of impingement, the reverse grip is healthier for shoulder well being.

Apart from the truth that your palms face totally different instructions, a number of different issues make these presses totally different. For one, the bench press targets extra of the sternocostal head, whereas the reverse grip bench press targets extra of the clavicular head.

It’s essential to notice that simply because the reverse grip is extra of an higher chest train, doesn’t imply it is not additionally a decrease chest train. The decrease chest muscle tissues will nonetheless be labored in each lifts, simply barely extra in a standard bench press.

The positioning of the palms and grip within the reverse grip bench additionally permits for a extra in depth horizontal bar path as you decrease down towards your decrease chest. This, in addition to the exterior rotation of the shoulder, could make this extra shoulder-friendly than an everyday bench press.

The underhand bench press additionally means that you can really feel the pecs working rather more through the press. Though they’re onerous at work, it’s onerous for most individuals to really feel their pecs contracting in an everyday bench press as a result of there are such a lot of muscle teams at work whereas pushing a heavy weight.

The common bench press will be extra demanding in your shoulders, however the reverse grip will be difficult because of its elevated want for wrist and forearm mobility. This implies it requires barely extra coordination and physique consciousness to manage this carry, particularly in case you are a newbie.

The final distinction is how the arm muscle tissues work through the two workouts. Throughout the bench press, the biceps work to help on the way in which up whereas the triceps work on the way in which down. The reverse grip supplies an enormous stimulus and makes use of the biceps to assist on the way in which down, whereas the triceps get extra activation through the urgent portion of the carry.

In terms of selecting which one fits you, it’ll rely in your private choice, weak factors, and anatomy. If somebody has shoulder ache throughout bench urgent, a reverse grip bench press could also be finest for you.

Additionally, the reverse chest press is a crucial train to incorporate in case you are missing within the higher chest division. However in case you are a aggressive lifter trying to achieve as a lot power as attainable, then bench press is your reply.

An essential factor to notice earlier than beginning the reverse grip chest press: It may be harmful to carry the bar this fashion, and it does enhance the prospect of the bar slipping in your palms and falling if you happen to aren’t cautious.

It could appear easy to flip your palms the opposite approach, however there are some important tips that you must perceive earlier than you do that train. Ensure that to comply with these important setup cues, and at all times use a spotter till you might be comfy with the motion.

How one can do the Barbell Reverse Grip Chest Press:


  • Lie down on the bench and attain as much as seize the bar barely wider than shoulder-width aside. Palms must be going through up, and your thumbs must be going through the load plates. Your knuckles will face your ft.
  • Bend your wrists ever so barely to place the bar in your palms.
  • Guarantee your ft are firmly planted and inhale, bracing your core and decrease physique. You must have a slight arch in your again however nothing extreme. Ensure that your shoulder blades are tucked down and touching the bench alongside along with your glutes.
  • Un-rack the barbell and place it above your mouth. Slowly decrease the load till the bar gently touches your decrease chest as if you happen to had been simply attempting to the touch your shirt. Your elbow place must be tucked into your sides.
  • Push the barbell again as much as the beginning place. Hold your elbows tucked in.
  • Repeat for indicated reps.

    Grasp reverse grip bench presses by avoiding these widespread errors.

    • As you start to decrease the bar, your elbows must be tucked in towards your sides. Do not allow them to flare out.
    • It’s essential to arrange along with your grip simply wider than shoulder-width aside. This takes the emphasis off the higher chest and locations extra on the triceps. This may differ a bit from individual to individual so far as how a lot wider, however it’s key to not be too shut.
    • This motion is totally different than the normal bench press. Within the reverse grip bench press, that you must decrease extra towards your decrease chest as a substitute of your nipple line. This lets you get the up-and-back urgent type that hits the higher chest on the way in which up.
    • Be sure to are reducing to your chest, or you’ll miss out on the elevated vary of movement for this horizontal press. If the load is just too heavy, lighten it up so you may get down all the way in which.
    • First, guarantee you don’t drop the bar on your self. You need a slight bend in your wrist to put the bar in your palm, however you need to nonetheless really feel like you’re making a fist and punching your hand as much as the ceiling. Over-extending your wrists can put you in danger for harm as effectively.

      Why carry out the reverse grip bench press? I will provide you with 5 superior causes to start out together with it in your chest day exercise.

      The most important profit is that this motion’s capacity to construct your higher chest. Everybody has weak spots based mostly on their genetics and coaching historical past, so if you happen to see a hole spot below your collarbone, it’s time so as to add the barbell reverse grip bench press.

      Do not forget that though it focuses in your higher chest, it nonetheless prompts your entire chest muscle tissues, so it has numerous bang for its buck.

      It’s possible you’ll not break your bench press file with this motion, however its distinctive positioning means that you can construct a stronger higher physique.

      It’s going to strengthen your biceps, anterior delts, and chest, which can translate to bettering different compound lifts and constructing muscle.

      Most lifters understand that compound lifts must be the main target of their exercise break up, however let’s face it, generally the identical strikes each week can get boring.

      Including the reverse grip bench press to your program generally is a enjoyable strategy to study a brand new talent and motion and break up the monotony of figuring out that each Monday you might be heading to the fitness center to do an everyday bench press.

      As we talked about, the change to the grip permits your shoulder to be externally rotated extra, making a safer bar path to your shoulders versus the usual bench press.

      Whether or not you might be recovering from an harm and are working again to heavy bench urgent, have ache throughout bench urgent, or are simply in search of actions that suit your physique kind higher, the reverse grip bench press is a very protected possibility when you grasp the shape.

      You probably have the endurance to start out gentle and progress slowly, this motion will do wonders to your grip and forearms.

      In a world the place most of our time is spent holding a cellphone or utilizing a pc, it’s important to coach the grip in numerous positions.

      Whether or not you are in search of extra selection or do not have entry to a barbell, I’ve obtained 4 nice variations right here so you’ll find the very best match for you.

      Reverse grip dumbbell presses are a wonderful various if the barbell model is just too onerous in your wrists. The dumbbells give your palms and wrists extra freedom to maneuver whereas nonetheless enabling you to profit from the reverse grip.

      How one can do the Reverse Grip Dumbbell Bench Press:

      • Lie down on a bench holding your set of dumbbells and press them overhead to the beginning place
      • Flip your palms so your knuckles are going through your ft and slowly decrease the weights down, preserving your elbows tucked in towards your physique
      • Exhale and press the weights again to the beginning place.

        Simply because the incline press lets you hit your chest otherwise than within the conventional bench press, the incline reverse grip bench press additionally lets you goal totally different chest muscle tissues. For this barbell bench press variation, you’ll carry out the identical reverse grip motion however use an incline bench.

        Doing this can enhance higher chest activation even additional2. This might not be your final power urgent motion, however it has severe potential for chest hypertrophy.

        How one can do the Incline Reverse Grip Bench Press:

        • Arrange your incline bench at a 45-60 diploma angle and attain up and seize the bar with knuckles going through your ft.
        • Unrack the bar and middle it over your mouth, and decrease it all the way down to your decrease chest whereas preserving your elbows tucked in.
        • Press the bar up and again to the beginning place.

          Just like the decline bench press, this variation will emphasize the decrease chest greater than the higher. It’s a distinctive motion to focus on that space, however the place will be harmful, so I like to recommend at all times utilizing a spotter for this train.

          How one can do the Reverse Grip Decline Bench Press:

          • Set your decline bench up beneath your rack and attain up and seize the bar with a reverse grip.
          • Unrack the bar and produce it above your mouth earlier than reducing it to your higher chest.
          • Press again up in the identical vertical line whereas preserving your elbows tucked.

              This is a superb variation in case you are barely nervous about performing the reverse grip bench press and not using a spotter. When evaluating the Smith machine vs free weights, the Smith machine supplies the built-in spotter impact and means that you can management the motion to focus in your mind-muscle connection.

              It’s possible you’ll want to regulate your physique place barely because the Smith machine doesn’t have the liberty to maneuver {that a} barbell would.

              How one can do the Reverse Grip Smith Machine:

              • Set the Smith machine up on the similar place that you’d carry out a barbell bench press on a rack.
              • Lay flat on the bench along with your ft planted on the ground and seize the bar with a reverse grip simply exterior shoulder width.
              • Unrack the bar and decrease it to the underside of your chest whereas preserving your elbows tucked.
              • Press again to the beginning place and repeat.

                  Any train emphasizing the higher chest makes for a wonderful various to the reverse grip bench press. Whether or not the benches are all full, your wrists are hurting through the motion, otherwise you simply need a totally different higher physique pump, these variations are nice choices to construct these pecs.

                  • Shut Grip Bench Press
                  • Incline Bench Press
                  • Incline Dumbbell Bench Press
                  • Chest Dips
                  • Incline Banded Push Up

                    The reverse grip chest press is barely difficult to change, however some choices exist. You need to use an EZ curl bar as a substitute of a straight one when you have issues along with your wrist.

                    An alternative choice could be to make use of dumbbells, which permits your palms to rotate extra. If this transfer nonetheless feels uncomfortable, attempt a few of the options I instructed above, just like the shut grip bench press or chest dips.

                    The reverse grip bench press can function a heat up to your conventional bench press. Strive utilizing it as you pyramid up in weight and when you get into the heavier masses, change to a standard bench press.

                    It will also be used on the way in which down for again offsets after heavy bench urgent. After ending your prime units, attempt doing 2 units of 10-15 reps with a sluggish managed tempo, specializing in a powerful higher chest connection.

                    For muscular power, attempt 3 units of 8-12 reps. For muscle hypertrophy, attempt 3 units of 12-15 reps and give attention to a sluggish eccentric tempo. For muscular endurance or in case you are recovering from an harm, attempt 3 units of 15-20 reps with a lighter weight and shifting slowly by means of the motion.

                    Lingering questions relating to the reverse grip bench press. Let’s reply them!

                    In terms of reverse grip bench press vs incline, the reverse grip is healthier for the higher chest. Nevertheless, each workouts will enhance your higher physique power.

                    It’s completely protected if you happen to comply with the security tips. Begin with a light-weight load you’ll be able to deal with, and use a spotter or security pins.

                    It’s a unbelievable possibility for constructing your higher pecs and serving as a shoulder-friendly urgent motion.

                    It really works each however does a a lot better job focusing on the higher chest.

                    Most lifters will be unable to carry as a lot as they do with the normal bench press.

                    On the lookout for extra nice chest workouts? Take a look at our 15 Greatest Dumbbell Chest Workouts and the 15 Greatest Cable Chest Workouts!


                    1. Lehman GJ. The Affect of Grip Width and Forearm Pronation/Supination on Higher-Physique Myoelectric Exercise Throughout the Flat Bench Press. The Journal of Energy and Conditioning Analysis. doi:10.1519/r-15024.1