Why Switching To A Neutral Grip Can Save Your Joints And Build More Muscle

Building a massive upper body is one of the main reasons most of us get into the gym in the first place. We want wide shoulders, a thick back, and that overall super hero look.

Getting that sort of look naturally means you’re going to be doing plenty of pressing and pulling in the compound movements. Those are the moves that give you the biggest bang for your buck, and it would make sense that the more you do them, the better you’ll look.

Unfortunately, if you’ve been lifting for any appreciable amount of time you probably know where this is headed next.

If you do plenty of pressing and pulling there’s a strong chance that your shoulders and elbows are going to start complaining to you at some point or another. It might start off as just a dull ache, or it might manifest into full blown screaming joint pain.

And that’s where things can start to get really ugly. When you develop joint problems not only can it make life a living hell, but it naturally means you’ve got to cut back on your time in the gym. And as such, your physique might not look the way you want.

But one simple grip change can fix all of that.

Start using a neutral grip for healthier joints and bigger lifts.

A neutral grip, like seen in the video above requires you to do a given movement with your palms facing one another. This sort of grip is commonly seen when doing pull downs, and even when doing log presses.

However, if you’re a lifter who has joint problems, making sure most of your upper body lifts are done with this grip can save your shoulders and elbows. At first, this is obviously a pretty stark contrast to doing most of your lifts with an overhand grip and palms facing away from you.

But I can assure you that if you practice it and show some patience, not only will your joints feel better, you’ll get stronger and put on more muscle in the process.

When you think about it, the mechanism is fairly obvious. Your palms facing one another is exactly how you hold your arms in daily life, so it would make sense that doing most of your lifts with this sort of positioning is a more natural fit for most people.

On top of that, not only is it a more natural fit, but after you’ve gotten used to the movement pattern you’ll find that you’re probably able to lift more weight because of the natural positioning of the hands.

Give this a try in your next upper body session, bros. I think you’ll find that not only do you feel better, but you get a better lift in because of it.


Tanner is a fitness professional and writer based in the metro Atlanta area. His training focus is helping normal people drop absurd amounts of fat, become strong like bull, and get in the best shape of their life.