Switch Up Your Chest Workouts With the Reverse-Grip Bench Press

If there’s one plain truism about lifting weights that has been drilled deep into the minds of most individuals who’ve spent even 5 minutes in a fitness center, it’s that bench urgent is carried out with an overhand grip. 

To take issues even additional, the bench press is a core motion of a energy sport — aggressive powerlifting — and the considered a powerlifter urgent the bar underhanded in an adjudicated setting can be downright laughable to most athletes.

A hand grabbing the barbell with a reverse grip.
Credit score: Dmitry Markov152 / Shutterstock

It’s simply this form of inflexible rationalization that may stop lifters of all expertise ranges from reaping the advantages that accompany tackling this acquainted train from an atypical angle. Put merely, it’s time so that you can flip the script (and your fingers) in your pec coaching and unlock the potential of the reverse-grip bench press. 

Editor’s Be aware: The content material on BarBend is supposed to be informative in nature, nevertheless it shouldn’t be taken as medical recommendation. When beginning a brand new coaching routine and/or weight loss program, it’s all the time a good suggestion to seek the advice of with a trusted medical skilled. We’re not a medical useful resource. The opinions and articles on this web site aren’t meant to be used as analysis, prevention, and/or therapy of well being issues. They don’t seem to be substitutes for consulting a certified medical skilled.

The right way to Do the Reverse-Grip Bench Press

In the event you’re a savvy fitness center veteran, you possibly can in all probability already guess the basics of this train primarily based solely on its title, even in case you’ve by no means seen it earlier than. Nevertheless, in case you’re new to health coaching, this rationalization will swiftly get you in control. 

In essence, you’re going to lie down on a weight bench, seize the bar with a supinated grip, and then you definitely’re going to decrease the bar to your chest and press it again to its beginning place. Listed below are the steps:

Step 1 — Grip Your Bar

A person grabbing the barbell with a supinated grip.
Credit score: KB Muscle Achieve – Joe Daniels Kettlebell Coaching / Youtube

Lie flat in your again on a weight bench together with your toes flat on the ground. Attain straight up with each fingers and seize the bar with an underhand, supinated grip.

Coach’s Tip: To maximise the steadiness of the bar in your fingers, use a grip barely wider than shoulder-width and relaxation the bar within the base of your palms. 

Step 2 — Unrack the Bar

A person unracking the barbell with a supinated grip to start bench pressing.
Credit score: KB Muscle Achieve – Joe Daniels Kettlebell Coaching / Youtube

Utilizing the muscle tissues in your chest, arms and shoulders, press the bar to raise it off of the rack and shift it barely away from the rack in order that it hovers instantly above your shoulder joints.

Coach’s Tip: Due to what is likely to be a clumsy angle for lift-off, you must undoubtedly think about using the companies of a spotter that can assist you elevate the bar off the rack.

Step 3 — Decrease the Bar to Your Chest

A person lowering the barbell to his body to start bench pressing.
Credit score: KB Muscle Achieve – Joe Daniels Kettlebell Coaching / Youtube

Fastidiously bend at your elbows to decrease the bar towards your chest. Due to the angle of your elbows, the bar is more likely to make contact together with your physique at both a low level in your sternum, or excessive in your abdomen. Briefly pause for a second and maintain the bar in your torso.

Coach’s Tip: Take care to not totally chill out your muscle tissues on the backside of the motion to stop the total weight of the bar from fully resting in your torso.

Step 4 — Press the Bar Again

A person doing bench presses with a reverse grip.
Credit score: KB Muscle Achieve – Joe Daniels Kettlebell Coaching / Youtube

Contract and squeeze the muscle tissues in your chest, shoulders, and triceps to press the bar again to its beginning place. Maintain your elbows comparatively tucked and make sure that the bar finally ends up again over your shoulders.

Coach’s Tip: Let your wrists lengthen backward all through your set to assist stabilize your grip. You also needs to depend on a spotter that can assist you information the bar again into the rack. 

Reverse-Grip Bench Press Units and Reps

The bench press is among the many fashionable chest-development instruments, and likewise the popular methodology for a lot of energy athletes to showcase their may. 

There are sometimes three distinct aims that individuals keep in mind when mendacity down on a bench and urgent some weight. Listed below are some fundamental tips for assembly these three acquainted bench-pressing objectives.

  • For Muscle Mass: Bench urgent is a textbook case the place coaching to hypertrophy is usually completed within the eight to 12-rep vary.
  • For Power: In the event you’re utilizing the reverse-grip bench press to develop explosive energy, use heavy weights and attempt to finish 5 units of three to 5 reps.
  • For Endurance: In case your objective is to construct pectoral sturdiness, use a light-weight weight you can preserve by way of three units of 15 to twenty reps

Widespread Reverse-Grip Bench Press Errors

The reverse-grip bench press could resemble the normal barbell bench press, nevertheless it brings alongside an entirely totally different set of issues that you simply’ll have to be looking out for. Pay very shut consideration to those widespread errors so that you don’t make them your self.

Failing to Management the Bar

The prolonged vary of movement (the bar tends to make contact together with your physique decrease than in a typical bench press) supplies one of many foremost advantages of the reverse-grip bench press, however this additional horizontal displacement can simply work in opposition to you

A person struggling with the barbell on the bench.
Credit score: Love Options / Shutterstock

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If the burden is simply too heavy otherwise you’re working in an excessively-fatigued state, you’re liable to lose joint alignment between your elbows and wrists. This may occasionally trigger the bar to slide out of your palms and are available crashing down on you. 

Gripping the Bar Incorrectly

The reverse-grip bench press is a kind of workout routines the place it’s good to watch out to place the bar in your palms good. If it sits too low in your palms, you run the chance of shedding management on the prime of the motion — and your grip together with it. 

If the bar is simply too excessive in your palms, the burden may roll towards your fingers and trigger extreme wrist extension, thereby inserting your joints in a precarious place as effectively. Take time to fiddle together with your grip to seek out one thing that’s each sturdy and secure. 

Not Protecting Your Elbows In

One of many foremost advantages to the reverse-grip bench press is the truth that the low-to-high urgent motion mechanically incorporates the higher chest in a fashion that different flat urgent actions can’t replicate. 

Nevertheless, the reverse-grip bench press necessitates a tucked elbow place. In case your elbows flare out as you elevate or decrease the burden, it’ll decrease your energy potential, impression muscle recruitment, and doubtlessly put your joints in danger

Reverse-Grip Bench Press Variations

Under are three variations of the reverse-grip bench press so as of the least difficult to essentially the most difficult. One among them includes altering the angle of the elevate, and the opposite two require a change in gear. Nonetheless, they’re all viable. 

Incline Reverse-Grip Bench Press 

To put much more emphasis on the muscle tissues of your higher chest, you possibly can carry out the reverse-grip bench press on an incline.

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Engaged on an inclined floor could make it easier to emphasize your higher pecs much more than benching on a flat bench. It may additionally help in serving to you discover a easy and constant bar path. 

Reverse-Grip Dumbbell Bench Press 

To attain many of the similar advantages of the barbell variation with out the awkwardness of unracking a heavy bar with “backwards” fingers, go for dumbbells as an alternative. 

This model of the elevate will probably lead to your fingers being in a barely narrower place than they’d be in the event that they had been forcibly locked into place on a barbell, but in addition permits for extra freedom of motion on the shoulder. 

Reverse-Grip Dumbbell Bench Press With Rotation

Utilizing this hybrid motion, you’ll rotate your fingers as you elevate the burden in order that they’re in a pronated, overhand grip on the prime of the motion — form of like a horizontal Arnold press

This may allow you to expertise a number of of the upper-chest advantages of the low-to-high motion sample whereas additionally having fun with improved stability on the prime of the urgent movement. Parts of your chest fibers contribute to inside rotation on the shoulder, so this additional motion could assist interact your pecs a bit higher.

Reverse-Grip Bench Press Alternate options

The reverse-grip bench press could appear easy at face worth, however it’s a way more technically complicated train than it initially seems to be. If you wish to attempt one other urgent train that captures the essence of the reverse-grip bench press, listed here are three choices that may give you comparable advantages.

Barbell Bench Press 

There’s nothing improper with participating on the earth’s hottest mass-building motion for the chest. This train is essentially the identical, besides it includes an overhand grip, and supplies your physique with a extra secure base from which to press heavier weights.

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It’s basically a trade-off; the usual bench press is less complicated to get ahold of (actually), enables you to elevate heavier, however barely adjusts your vary of movement and muscular activation. You can also make the bench press the centerpiece of your chest exercise and observe up with some reverse-grip urgent afterwards.

Impartial-Grip Bench Press

In the event you’re in search of many of the similar variability within the motion of the bar and the same minimization of the inner rotation of your shoulders, you are able to do that by assuming a impartial grip, both on a specialised barbell, or with a pair of dumbbells.

You’ll discover that the neutral-grip bench press is each snug and intuitive. That is primarily because of the truth that your joints aren’t pushed into the fringes of their vary of movement, and it’s simple to keep up a stacked, vertical alignment between your wrists and elbows all through. 

Incline Bench Press

In case your foremost motive for utilizing a reverse grip together with your bench press is since you need to goal your higher chest muscle tissues, you possibly can reap comparable advantages from inserting the bench at an incline and utilizing a standard, overhand grip.

Urgent from an inclined floor adjustments the angle of your higher arm relative to your torso. This adjustment offers your higher chest extra leverage, which means it’s going to take over a bigger portion of the mechanical load throughout your set. 

Muscle groups Labored by the Reverse-Grip Bench Press

The reverse-grip bench press works all the strongest pushing muscle tissues of your higher physique. Just by grabbing a heavy bar, reducing it, and urgent it, you may be taking strong steps towards enhancing your total energy in not less than three sections of your anatomy.


The highly effective muscle tissues of your chest flex mightily as you decrease the burden after which press it again to its place to begin. A heavier emphasis is positioned on the higher chest in the course of the reverse-grip bench press than throughout most flat-back urgent actions because of the way you carry out the train.

A shirtless muscular person looking at his pectorals.
Credit score: I T A L O / Shutterstock

[Read More: Build a Titanic Torso with These Bodybuilding Chest & Back Workouts]

One of many main features of the clavicular head of your pecs is shoulder flexion. That’s, elevating your higher arm out and ahead relative to your torso. When mendacity down on a bench, the horizontal motion of the bar in the course of the reverse-grip bench press replicates this motion. 


It doesn’t matter what fashion of bench press you carry out, your triceps journey shotgun. Although a portion of your triceps brachii does cross your shoulder joint, their most important perform throughout any kind of bench press is to increase your elbow in the course of the second half of the vary of movement. 

Anterior Deltoids 

As with just about all pushing and urgent workout routines, the muscle tissues on the entrance of your shoulders help you to stabilize the burden and drive it upwards. Chances are you’ll discover that the reverse grip bench press is very helpful for concentrating on your entrance delts, because the tucked-arm place offers these muscle tissues glorious leverage to contract. 

Advantages of the Reverse-Grip Bench Press

Whether or not you have got a thoughts for joint security or athletic enchancment, some great benefits of the reverse-grip bench press are far-reaching. Which means that it doesn’t matter what age you’re, or what your stage of weight-training expertise is; the reverse-grip bench press will current your physique with an thrilling alternative for improved consolation, enhanced efficiency, or each. 

A Bigger Chest

The bench press is unmatched in its skill to develop your chest. The truth that your grip has been fully flipped over by this reverse-grip rendition does nothing to dampen the effectiveness of the bench press. The truth is, in case you’ve by no means carried out it earlier than, the novelty alone ought to induce one heck of a hypertrophic stimulus. 

A Stronger Higher Physique 

The reverse-grip bench press is a terrific all-purpose pushing train. It concurrently strengthens all the key muscle tissues your physique calls upon whenever you push in opposition to an object. Clearly this contains your chest, nevertheless it additionally encompasses your anterior deltoids and triceps as effectively. An adjusted hand place additionally helps you develop versatile, practical energy. 

Safer On Your Shoulders

The reverse-grip bench press eliminates the inner rotation required for the standard bench press. Inner rotation on the shoulder is by no means dangerous by default, however does place the joint in a low-leverage place. 

Most folk discover an externally-rotated shoulder extra snug to press with, permitting you to focus more durable on contracting your chest with out worrying a lot about shoulder stability. 

Extra Useful Biceps 

It’s true you can’t technically push an object together with your biceps, since they’re a hinge joint that may solely shut your elbow angle in opposition to resistance. Regardless of this, your biceps nonetheless help extensively to stabilize the burden being lifted in the course of the reverse-grip bench press, particularly since you’re benching with a supinated grip. This grip pulls your biceps taut and calls them into motion to stabilize the bones in your forearm. 

Who Ought to Do the Reverse-Grip Bench Press

Many individuals can profit from a urgent train that strengthens their chests from an underutilized angle. Pragmatically talking, there are a number of the explanation why the reverse-grip bench press is likely to be the lacking ingredient that lengthens your weight room viability or improves your effectiveness in your favourite sport. 

Listed below are three teams which may have an outsized curiosity in adopting the reverse-grip bench press as an integral a part of their chest exercises.

Lifters With Shoulder Issues 

Bench-presser’s shoulder is a typical ailment within the weight room; a label that refers to any method of shoulder discomfort it’s possible you’ll really feel throughout horizontal presses. 

The reverse-grip bench press is by no means a medical treatment for an acute or power shoulder harm. That stated, the setup and execution tends to be a bit friendlier in your shoulder capsule. A reasonable stage of exterior rotation is less complicated to load than an excessive quantity of inside rotation in most (however not all) instances. 

In the event you’re experiencing discomfort when performing a typical overhand bench press, flipping your grip could permit you to work round that subject whereas nonetheless sustaining your health. Nevertheless — and that is the vital bit — you must nonetheless search medical consideration from a doctor if the problem persists.


As a bodybuilder, it’s possible you’ll need to place additional consideration on the uppermost muscle fibers of your chest to spherical out the form of your pecs. Some of the environment friendly methods to remediate this drawback is to set your weight bench at an incline that forces extra resistance into the higher chest. 

Nevertheless, in case you don’t have entry to a bench that inclines, the pure low-to-high movement created by the reverse-grip bench press provokes the same diploma of upper-chest pressure, making it an incredible possibility in case you’re restricted on gear.


In the event you play hockey, lacrosse, or every other sport that requires you to carry onto a stick, you’re more likely to end up doing a number of shoving, poking, and prodding whereas not less than one among your fingers applies an underhand grip to your fielding implement. 

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Since you possibly can’t do an entire lot of grip adjustment on the fly, it’s a good suggestion to coach your self to use the utmost quantity of pushing drive whereas your fingers are within the place they are going to be in whilst you’re enjoying the sport.

Seize These Good points

As atypical and unorthodox because the motion could appear whenever you first attempt it, the reverse-grip bench press can unlock unprecedented muscle beneficial properties and supply a much-needed various to the run of the mill, done-to-death bench press. Give it a shot throughout your subsequent push day and see for your self. 


Chances are you’ll be concerned to get began, however earlier than you start bench urgent a bar with a reverse-grip, listed here are the solutions to some questions which may have sprung to thoughts:

Ought to I be capable to elevate the identical quantity of weight with a reverse-grip bench press as I can with a standard bench press?

Most likely not. Whereas the squeeze in your muscle tissues could really feel equally taxing to a standard bench press, the steadiness and contribution from a few of your key urgent muscle tissues isn’t fairly on the similar stage. Count on to work with a lot lighter weights to start with.

Can I substitute reverse-grip push-ups and get the identical outcomes?

The reply isn’t any, and for a number of causes. Reverse-grip push-ups require you to maintain your palms flat on the ground whereas pushing straight up. As a result of your fingers are fastened, you received’t be capable to create the up-and-back movement that might come near replicating the trail of the bar throughout a reverse-grip bench press.

How vital is it to have a spotter for this train?

It may be critically vital. The intricate setup and execution of the reverse-grip bench press could make it doubtlessly unwieldly. You’ll in all probability discover it awkward to manually take away the bar from the rack together with your fingers “backwards.”

Additional, as you accumulate fatigue, the bar does have the potential to slide out of your fingers as your wrists tire out. A spotter may help assure nothing goes awry throughout heavy units of the reverse-grip bench press.

Featured Picture: Dmitry Markov152 / Shutterstock

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