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Slowswim
October 18th, 2007, 04:45 PM
I was lifting today and remembered I was told 30+ years ago that there are various benefits to wide grip hand positions and narrow.

If my memory serves, a narrow grip works your chest/back muscles more and makes you thicker. While wide grips work you arms more and tends to make you wider. Is this a "old wives tale"?

Are there specific swimming pros/cons to either grip position for the three bench presses, shoulder press, lat pull-down, and row? Plus, narrow grip seems much easier on my shoulders.

dorothyrde
October 18th, 2007, 06:07 PM
Lat pull down behind the head is really bad for the shoulders, pull down in front of the head.

funkyfish
October 18th, 2007, 10:32 PM
If my memory serves, a narrow grip works your chest/back muscles more and makes you thicker. While wide grips work you arms more and tends to make you wider. Is this a "old wives tale"?

I think that the hand position is pretty much an old wives tale as far as changing the appearance of a set of muscles. I believe genetics has more to do with "how wide" or "how thick" one is. For example, when I was bodybuilding, I could routinely shrug 600 lbs for reps, yet my traps never got that "cool, sticking up above the shoulders look." I could also do bent over rows with 275 lbs in strict form, but my back never got super thick.:frustrated:

However, hand position can affect leverage, which can have a big impact on strength. In addition, if your muscles, tendons, joints, etc. can take it, changing hand position can be good because it changes the type of stress your muscle is getting. Just don't do anything that's oddly uncomfortable. Finally, IMHO, I'd stay away from pushing/pulling any weight behind the neck. It just poor leverage mechanics, and any perceived benefit doesn't outweigh the potential risk of injury. Now here's a random emoticon: :party2:

david.margrave
October 18th, 2007, 10:55 PM
I vaguely remember one of the lat pull down machines at my gym having a sign that said a wide grip will not make you wider.

A lot of people pull the lat bar behind the head, I usually do the same. I guess I should change.

Does this 'behind the head' rule also apply to tricep exercises? I also see plenty of people grab a dumbbell with both hands and do tricep presses with it behind the head.

3strokes
October 19th, 2007, 07:43 AM
Does this 'behind the head' rule also apply to tricep exercises? I also see plenty of people grab a dumbbell with both hands and do tricep presses with it behind the head.

For triceps, this is the proper technique (or one of the proper techniques, I should say). Have a look at: (The first one is the one you describe, the others are variations on a theme). I find it easier to do the first one, sitting with the back supported.

http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/Triceps/DBTriExt.html
http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/Triceps/CBTriExt.html
http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/Triceps/BBLyingTriExtSC.html
http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/Triceps/CBLyingTriExt.html
http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/Triceps/DBInclineTricepsExt.html

Slowswim
October 19th, 2007, 09:54 AM
Lat pull down behind the head is really bad for the shoulders, pull down in front of the head.

For the lat pull down I do two variations: wide grip palms facing away (Like a pull up) and narrow grip with palms facing in (like a chip up), Huge difference in the muscles impacted!

Always in front of me never behind my head. I was taught that as a kid.

funkyfish
October 19th, 2007, 01:58 PM
Does this 'behind the head' rule also apply to tricep exercises? I also see plenty of people grab a dumbbell with both hands and do tricep presses with it behind the head.

Hadn't really thought about it in regards to triceps, but I believe it's different because while working your triceps, your shoulders should not be moving, and that would reduce/eliminate any impingement? So…triceps work behind the head should be ok, but not shoulder work, IMHO.
Another random emoticon:angel:

david.margrave
October 21st, 2007, 08:00 PM
Thanks, good info there. For some exercises I'm switching to dumbbells (triceps, rows) or my own body weight (pull-ups) instead of machines. Lat exercises and rows are good for swimmers I've read. I'm not trying to get huge.