Without trying to over generalise and stereotype, one of the main reasons for attending the gym and undertaking weight lifting is to develop a better physique. Goals normally include enhanced size and mass, with emphasis often placed on the so called beach muscles; those being the chest, back, arms and abdominals regions.

Let us now look a little closer at one of those particular muscle regions; the chest. When it comes to working out the chest there aren’t many better exercises than the bench press. Variations of this popular exercise can normally be achieved by altering the positioning of the bench or utilising dumbbells instead of a barbell. Can you think of any other ways to bring about variation to the bench press exercise?

It may surprise you, but you can actually add further variation by simply altering your hand grip positioning. We’re not talking about moving your grip spacing narrower or wider, this variation is actually making reference to a drastic change in which you rotate your wrists and adopt a reverse grip position.

So what is the point in this unusual, unorthodox and massively underused grip variation? Quite simply, you can bring about incredible gains in chest size, with particular emphasis on the upper chest fibres, simply by adopting this new position. It also adds further emphasis onto the triceps region and can drastically enhance muscle mass at the rear of your arms.

The only issue with this exercise, is compared to the traditional grip, is that it can feel uncomfortable initially. Don’t let this new feeling get the better of you, instead persevere and you will eventually become at ease and start to reap the rewards it offers. So what is required of you during the reverse grip bench press exercise?

Reverse Grip Bench Press

To commence this exercise, adopt an identical approach to your normal bench press regime. Lie on a bench with your head and back fully supported. Grasp the bar with a shoulder width grip and ensure your palms are facing you. At this point it is important to note that this exercise takes some getting used to, so don’t overload the resistance and always ensure you have a spotter looking over you. Release the bar and slowly lower it to your chest region. Once at the bottom of this movement, exhale and push upwards in a steady and controlled manner as you would do with the traditional bench press.

Exercise Video Demonstration

Once you get past the initial unfamiliarity phase, there really is nothing to this exercise. As previously stated, this exercise will require a process of you familiarising yourself with the varied grip, so don’t overload the weight initially but instead build up gradually. A spotter is always the ideal solution, but if not available then why not complete this movement on a Smith machine for additional support should it be required.

Final Word

So there you have the reverse grip bench press. There really is nothing to worry about with this exercise and it can bring about tremendous gains to the upper chest and triceps region. Remember, variety is the spice of life, so why not try and incorporate this incredible variation into your next chest workout.