Quick Guide On: Overhand Grip, Pronated Grip, All The Grips!

April 4th 2019

Fitness always comes first. If you are lately taking interest in fitness and workouts, then you might have already heard the terms overhand and underhand grip. These two are the most popular terms used in any gyms.

So, what is overhand grip?

The overhand grip is also known as a pronated grip. This is where your palms are facing away from you when you are performing exercises like pullups and chinups. In the deadlift, an overhand grip is when your palms are facing you. The overhand grip is used for pulling movements, be it with barbells or dumbbells. This is the most natural position of your hand or grip to pull something or hold something. There are many exercises that require the overhand grip. To know more about these exercises and the muscles used during various types of grip, read on. You will get all the questions answered related to the various grips used during workouts.

Pronated Vs. Supinated Grips

Pronated grip or the overhand grip is movement in the medial rotation towards the center of our bodies. From an anatomically neutral position, a pronated grip (also known as the pronation of the forearm) will have the palms facing you. It is also the opposite of supinated grip.

The supinated grip, also called underhand grip, is the lateral rotation of your forearm, away from the center of your body. From an anatomically neutral position a supinated grip will have your palms facing away from the body. In this grip, the palms face towards you in exercises like the pullups and chinups. In the deadlift and barbell row, the supinated grip requires your palms to face away from you.

A supinated grip is more restrictive and isolating than that of the pronated grip. This grip is often used for exercises that requires you to target your biceps, such as curls. On the other hand, a pronated grip is more often used for various exercises such as pull ups, deadlifts etc. It can tone your back as well as it can improve the core and increase its strength.

What exercises do we use a pronated grip for?

There are different exercises that you can perform with the help of the pronated or overhand grip. Some of the popular exercises are – lat pulldown, deadlift, pull ups, bent-over row and bench press. You grip the bar where it feels the most comfortable and that will most likely be a pronated grip.

Exact muscles used during pronated & supinated grips

The muscles involved in pronated the forearm are the pronator teres, located close to your elbow, and the pronator quadratus, located close to your wrist. The muscles that are involved in supinated the forearm are the biceps brachii and the suppinator muscle.

The brachial radialis, located on your forearm, serves to return your arm back into a neutral position from either pronation or supination.

However, human beings are not the only animals that have these muscles. So, why is it that other animals are not able to rotate their arms in the way that humans do? The answer here lies in our bone design of the ulna and radius bones in our arms. Each bone has a curvature so that the radius can rotate around the ulna.

What is a false grip?

The false grip is one of the most versatile techniques that can be added to your skills. It is essential for people who want to become a gymnast. It makes the ring based tasks easier to perform. The false grip is basically a grip which is used in the gymnastics for the rings. The hand position allows having a smooth transition of the gymnast so that he/she can move his/her body from the ring to above it. Besides that, the false grip can also be used for various workouts or exercises such as pull ups, dips, etc.

How do you train a false grip?

To train for a false grip, you need to understand the technique of the false grip first. You must learn where the rings sit on your hand or wrist when you are about to make a false grip. The ring sits mainly at a diagonal angle across your palm and the wrist. Do you feel the little bone on your palms near the wrist? That is called pisiform bone. This pisiform bone must sit on the top of the ring or the rod for the false grip. So, when you close your hand to grab the ring, a part of your wrist smoothly rest on the rod or the ring. This allows you to have a smooth transition during pull ups or muscle ups. In the false grip, the thumb must be on the same side of the bar as other four fingers.

There are some exercises that can help you to train a false grip. Some of them are:

Level 1: You have to practice bent-arm false grip hold with leg support. You have to try the inverted bent-arm false grip for 5 times with 15 seconds for each.

Level 2: Now, try straight arm false grip hold with leg support. You need to do this for the 5 times as well as for 15 seconds each.

Level 3: As you progress, you have to try bent-arm false-grip hang where you have practice hanging with the false grip with your arms bent. The count will remain the same.

Level 4: Now, you have to try level 3 with your arms straight this time. You have to hand down with the arms straight in a false grip.

These are not at all easy and require rigorous practice. As the false grip puts immense pressure on the wrist, you will find it quite hard in the beginning. But you have to get adjusted to it. With practice, you will be able to gain more strength which will help you do this easily. There is no particular time or age as such from where you can start training for false-grip. You can do the exercises anytime you like. You can master the art of false grip with the help of these 4 exercises. The false grip static hang and false grip pull-ups can help you to improve the false grip.

How long does it take to strengthen my grip strength?

The time required to strengthen the grip may vary from one person to another. It also depends on the time and effort you put in while exercising. There are many exercises that you can try to increase the strength of your grip. Mainly, you have to continue doing the grip strengthening exercises whenever you go to the gym or if you developed your own grip training routine.

Though it takes quite a long time to strengthen the grip completely, you can notice the difference after 5 to 6 weeks of regular grip strengthening exercises. Here is one example you can do with grip strengtheners. You can use the 5 to 6 sets of 10 squeezes per hand with 2 minutes of rest in between the two sets.

You can also increase the strength of your grip with the help of some weight training exercises. Anything that requires you to squeeze an object for some period of time will help strengthen your grip. You can lift dumbbells, kettlebells as well as barbells. Even pull ups, pushups and bar hangs can increase the grip strength.

If you continue to do all these exercises regularly, then this can help you to increase your grip strength dramatically by 5 to 6 weeks. Even if you do not see any huge changes within the next couple of weeks or even months, your results will speak volumes years from now because you put in the time and effort to train your grip early in your lifting journey.

Thumb placement for overhand grip

The placement of the thumb for overhand grip depends mainly on the exercises you are going to perform. If you are performing deadlifts then the thumb will rest on top of the 4 fingers after gripping. Also, when you doing pull ups or pushups, the thumb can be either place - besides the four fingers on the same side or the same way as a deadlift.

The placement of the thumb can be a preference too. It depends on how the person wants to have a grip. Some feel comfortable with the thumb on the same side of the other fingers while some enjoy gripping the barbell or machine tightly securing the thumb over the fingers. Thumb placement depends completely on the exercises you are performing or the preferences.

You will have more security and peace of mind if you do a regular grip for your bench press, deadlift and pullup exercises than if you did it with a thumbless overhand grip.

How much should you deadlift with an overhand grip before switching?

There is no specific weight you should deadlift with an overhand before switching it. This is because it entirely depends on your stamina level and your training experience. While a beginner may fatigue his overhand grip at 225lbs whereas an elite lifter will fatigue his grip at 405lbs.

So, it depends completely on your stamina and training goals. The more common advice is to switch your grip if you want to continue strengthening your deadlift. Mixed grip, with one overhand and one underhand, or hook grip, with your four fingers wrapped around your thumb, are two alternative grips that many pro athletes use in order to break all-time world records.


Hopefully, you have now understood the differences between the underhand grip, overhand grip, false grip, and many others mentioned here. As you could tell, depending on your sport, you may choose to utilize a certain grip in order to maximize performance.

So, it depends completely on your stamina, endurance and sport, and training experience to determine which grip is ideal for you in order to properly meet and exceed your training goals.

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