Well it’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted and a figured by this point in the year we’re all having some issues breaking through plateaus. What I’m going to talk about in this article is a variation of hand placement for multiple exercises and end it off with a work out! Please feel free to email me at BeStrongStayFit@gmail.com with request for article topics!
I was in the gym the other day and noticed that across the board EVERYONE was bench pressing the same way. Now for starters, I’m not a fan of using a barbell for anything other than decline bench but I figured I would go back to basics and use straight bar that day.
A HUGE mistake most people make when flat bench pressing is that they over extend at the bottom of the press. When you’re using a flat bench press you need to avoid using as much of your shoulder as possible. DON’T BRING THE BAR DOWN TO YOU CHEST. Especially on heavy weights; when you do this you’re putting too much strain on your rotator cuffs. Bring the bar to about a 4-6 inches before you hit your chest. By doing this you’re keeping constant tension on the pectoral muscles and never giving them a break, which promotes more muscle integration and growth.
You can also change you your hand placement to hit different parts of your chest and triceps:
Close (so that your arms rub against your body on the way down): By putting them close together you work much more of your tricep and the center “separation” in your chest. With this hand placement you come all the way down to your chest and ONLY come up to about 8 inches over your chest. You are not putting too much strain on your rotator cuffs here so you can come all the way down.
Extra Wide: Go light with this because it’s easy to use more shoulder than chest. Concentrate and slowly lowering the weight and pressing it out. Come down as low as possible (to about 2 inches) over your chest. By going wide you work more on the outer chest.
Neutral: Neutral grip should be where your ring finger is on the outer line of the chest press. Here you’re working on the girth of your chest and don’t forget- DON’T COME DOWN ALL THE WAY!
This same approach to alternating hand placement can be used with just about any exercise but another easy one to integrate it with is in a tricep pushdown. Instead of using the rope or the short straight bar, find the LONG straight bar in the gym. Keep your body close and try these 3 hand placements.
Neutral: You’re working the entire tricep. Try going slower and feel the muscle stretch and contract. You’re used to this movement so try going a little lighter and focus on NOT using your shoulder and ONLY using your tricep.
Wide: This is my favorite; go so wide that your pinkies are all the way at the end of the bar. Keep the bar close to your body and go lighter. You’re working the outer head of the tricep with this so when you push down bring your elbows forward at the peak of your push.
Now that you have a basic idea of trying different hand placements here’s a chest and tricep work out to help break through these plateaus. I know it’s December, but don’t forget those abs and cardio! Make sure to check me out on Instagram and Twitter for daily updates and work out tips and motivation!
Incline Barbell Press: 2 warm up + 4×8-12
Flat Bench Press WIDE: 3×10-15
Flat Bench Neutral: 2×20
Incline Dumbbell Flys: 4×12-18
Push ups in between until failure
Pec Dec: 4×15 (focus on the squeeze and stretch not about the weight)
Rope pull downs: 3×15-20 (focus on getting some blood flow)
WIDE pushdowns: 4×12-18
Close Grip Bench Press: 4x 10-15
Knock out 30 minutes of cardio on the stair master + your favorite ab exercise and do 4 sets of 25 and call it a day!