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Your guide to grips

Deadlift

Targets: back, glutes, hamstrings

To perform: Stand tall with a straight spine and feet hip-width apart. Hold a barbell with both hands, arms extended in front of thighs, palms facing back. Bend knees as you hinge forward from hips, keeping back flat and hips square, lowering upper body toward the floor and arms in front of shins. Press through heels and reverse movement back to start for one rep.

Grip: Narrow overhand

Shifts focus totraps and rhomboids

Keep in mind: This is the more shoulder-friendly grip of the three.

Grip: Narrow over-under

Shifts focus totraps and rhomboids

Keep in mind: It strengthens your hold on the bar and helps remove some of the strain so you could potentially lift more.

Grip: Wide overhand

Shifts focus totraps, glutes, hamstrings, and quads

Keep in mind: While this grip is less supportive for your shoulders, it allows you to get into a lower position, increasing your range of motion.

Push-up

Targets: chest, shoulders, triceps, and abs

To perform: Start in plank position with palms directly under shoulders, legs extended behind you, toes tucked under, back flat, and abs engaged. With elbows close to your sides, slowly lower chest toward floor, and then press back up for one rep, keeping the body in a straight line throughout.

Grip: Narrow

Shifts focus totriceps

Keep in mind: The shoulders are more supported in this position, so it’s a good option if you’ve had shoulder issues in the past.

Grip: Wide

Shifts focus tochest

Keep in mind: The shoulder is less stable in this position, so avoid it if you’re coming back from injury.

Pull-up

Targets: back, biceps, and abs

To perform: Grab a pull-up bar and hang at arm’s length, with core engaged, then tense your shoulder blades, squeezing them down and together, and pull through your arms to raise your collarbones to the bar. Pause, then slowly return to start. That’s one rep.

Grip: Narrow underhand

Shifts focus tobiceps

Keep in mind: The closer together your hands, the more strain you put on your triceps. Plus, it requires more mobility because it stretches the lats more at the bottom of the move.

Grip: Neutral, palms facing each other

Shifts focus toforearms and grip strength

Keep in mind: This positioning keeps the shoulders in the most natural alignment, so it’s a good option if you’re coming back from a shoulder injury.

Grip: Wide overhand

Shifts focus tolats

Keep in mind: This positioning puts more strain on your chest.

Bent-over row

Targets: lats, biceps, posterior deltoids, rhomboids

To perform: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, holding a barbell or dumbbells in front of you, with arms extended. Hinge forward from your hips, keeping a flat back and abs engaged, and then bend elbows straight behind you, lifting hands toward chest. Squeeze shoulder blades together and slowly return to start for one rep.

Grip: Narrow underhand

Shifts focus tobiceps

Keep in mind: Like with other exercises, the narrow grip is easier on the shoulders.

Grip: Narrow overhand

Shifts focus torhomboids, scapular retractors, lats, forearms, and grip strength

Keep in mind: Larger back muscles (like the lats) help support the shoulder joint, so this is a good option for someone coming back from a shoulder issue.

Grip: Wide overhand

Shifts focus totraps

Keep in mind: This is a more challenging variation that will increase the stretch on smaller, supporting muscles, Fournier says. Even if you lift less weight, you’ll feel it in new places.

Overhead press

Targets: shoulders and abs Using dumbbells for this and other overhead exercises is ideal. “During overhead moves, there’s typically some rotation happening in the shoulder sockets,” Fournier explains. “Free weights allow your arms to go through that natural rotation.”

To perform: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, holding dumbbells or barbell in hands, hands shoulder-width apart, palms facing out. Curl weights up to shoulders, then press arms overhead. Reverse movement back to start.

Grip: Narrow

Shifts focus toanterior deltoids and triceps

Keep in mind: You’ll need more mobility to do this variation. It’s the better option if you have shoulder problems since it puts the shoulder in a more natural position for pressing overhead.

Grip: Wide

Shifts focus tomedial deltoids, traps

Keep in mind: This grip creates a larger stretch in the lats. It’s also harder on the shoulders, so avoid it if you’re coming back from injury or you’ve had shoulder issues in the past.