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October 5, 2022

Why and How to use Pronated vs Supinated Grip

Why and How to use Pronated vs Supinated Grip with Annie Miller

Let’s discuss pronated versus supinated grip. Grip is an under utilized training variable by many trainees in the gym. It’s an easy piece of your exercise selection to change up in order to get a slightly different stimulus from likely the same muscle group.

The most common exercises to use different grips for different stimuli are rows (horizontal pulling) and vertical pulling. Think lat pull down variations and pull up variations. But pronated and supinated grips are not limited to these movements either.

Let’s cover the difference between to the two. First off, they refer to your hand position in a given movement.

Pronated: You, typing on a key board, palms facing posterior (the back) at rest. So the back of your hand is facing the sky if you were to lay on your back with your arms by your sides.

Supinated: You, filling your hands with water, to wash your face, palms up. So the palms of your hand are facing the sky if you were to lay on your back with your arms by your sides.

We determine these definitions from the anatomical position of rest. Because, for instance, a deadlift and a pull up can both use a pronated grip…but in a pull up, the palms are facing the front, and back of hands facing the back. While the deadlift, the palms face the back, and back of hands face the front. The difference here is shoulder position. In the pull up, we have shoulder flexion. This is lacking in the deadlift. You see?

By using pronated vs supinated on a given exercise, we can create biases in which muscles are recruited and taxed via an the movement.

See three rowing variations in pronated and supinated grips in the videos below.

(Pronated version of exercise is first, then supinated).

Pronated is most common for majority of exercises. But switching to supinated can every so slightly change the stimulus. Which can help with the ever desired, progressive overload.

Supinated grip in horizontal and vertical pulling exercises biases (or involves more of) the biceps. In horizontal pulling specifically you may also target more low and mid trap. Think about the humerus position in the supinated grip – we have more external rotation. Thus will bias muscles helping with external rotation. Small change, different gains.

Want muscles? Play with GRIP.  Have you played with supinated variations of commonly pronated exercises?

Original Instagram post seen below:

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I'm an adventurous introvert from Vancouver, Washington who lives on sleep + "me time." I'm a lover of lifting weights, dinosaurs, real talk and traveling with my husband. I am here to help you move better, lift more, bust the myths of the fitness industry, and inspire you to love the process.

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