How to Get a Proper Grip for Better Back Training
Building barn door lats is probably at the top of the priority list for most bodybuilders. When asked to face the rear of the stage during competition, the first thing you want the judges and audience to see is just how freaking wide you are. You want to be able to take up the entire stage when you spread your wings. Second to back width would be thickness in the back muscles. The thickness is what adds to the 3D effect every bodybuilder is striving for and in order to achieve both width and thickness, you have to pay attention to your grip when training. There are a few different options for which you can employ when addressing the barbell, dumbbell, attachment or any machine you use when training back, and here are a couple of helpful tips you can use to help get a proper grip for better back training.
Hands as Hooks
The first and maybe most important tip I always give to people for their back training is to stop thinking of their hands as hands and start thinking of them as hooks. If you can do that, all of your rowing and pull down movements will start to feel much better by way of bypassing your biceps and allowing for the lats to do the majority of the work. The best way to do this is to take a false (thumbless) grip. Simply hook your four fingers onto the handle of whatever you're using and place your thumb up on top. For some reason when you take a standard grip your body's response is to cue the biceps to help in the movement. Eliminate the thumb from your grip and that response lessens or goes away almost completely. So until you have established a perfect mind to muscle connection with your back (which has proven to be really hard for some) go with the false grip and keep your hands as hooks.
Get the Right Grip
Now there are a few options for you as far as how you actually grip and hold onto the handle or barbell of whatever exercise you're doing for back. It's up to you to learn and figure out which grip works best for certain exercises and then it's up to you again to decipher when it's time to switch up that grip because you've used it as much as you can and it's time for a different stimulus. Your options for what I'm referring to are the following: overhand grip, underhand grip, neutral grip or angled grip (for those who have wrist pain). Any of those grips work extremely well and it's probably to your advantage to rotate through each of those grips regularly with the back movements you normally do. Some will match up better with certain exercises but again, that's totally an individual thing so pay attention to how the back feels with each grip you use and stick with it until you feel it's time for a change. Sometimes just a change in grip is all you need for a new stimulus versus completely changing out an exercise in your program.
Get the Heyday Grip
Finally and most importantly, to be able to employ as much power as possible when pulling from the floor in all of your back exercises including any rowing movements where you are in a free standing position and especially when performing deadlifts, you have to have a solid grip to the floor for stability. This comes by way of choosing the right footwear for the occasion and nothing beats what a flat soled shoe can provide for you and luckily for you, Heyday Footwear offers just what you need. Any of the designs you find in the Heyday Footwear line up have a flat or nearly flat soled base with a high top structure which will give you the best support you will ever find in a training shoe. Whether you chose to go with our Tactical Trainer, the Super Shift or the Mission Trainer, you'll find that our design is far superior to any of our competitors and you can trust that when you lace up in Heyday, you have a solid grip on not just the floor but also on reality once you realize what you've been missing out on.
Back has proven to be the one area of a physique that seems to take quite a long time to develop to its full potential. It just takes time to build wide and thickly developed lats and all the other muscles you will find back there. That means you have to train it smart, with loads of intensity and with a high degree of effectiveness with every rep you perform. That means paying attention to the small things such as your grip. Once you get it right, you'll grow like never before. So get back to work, get a grip on what you're doing and start growing like you should.
Author: Dana Bushell
AST Sports Science sponsored athlete/writer, sponsored by Schiek Sports Inc.