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Target Those Lat and Back Muscles More Directly During Your Workout by Changing to a "Gorilla Grip"

Do you need to target your back and lat muscles more directly during weight training sessions? If so, let's talk about one exercise that clearly focuses on that very muscle group, the Dumbbell Bent Over Row.

During the Dumbbell Bent Over Row (typically performed one arm at a time, kneeling on a stationary bench) wrapping your thumb around bar will bring the hand and grip more into play, cheating your back and lats from full focus which is the intent of this particular exercise. This is called a "closed" grip and can cause pain in the wrist as the hand is overworked and result in or aggravating injuries such as carpal tunnel, wrist strains, etc.

One slight change to your grip can make a huge difference to help you get that focus to target your back and lat muscles exclusively and help you to get that "V" shape you want from a hard workout or lifting session. Try using a "gorilla" grip the next time you visit the gym and pick up the dumbbells for the Dumbbell Bent Over Row. The correct term that everyone in the sport would understand better is the "open hand" grip. The open hand grip is when you do not wrap your thumb around the bar, which is actually the "natural" feel and normal position. The end result after using the "open" grip can be a more relaxed set and a noticeable concentration and focus on what a Bent Over Row was designed for, targeting the back and the lats.

An "open" grip though is not for everyone. Beginners should be aware that improperly performing the "gorilla" grip can cause the weight to roll out of the hand and drop to the floor, hopefully not injuring you or anyone near. It takes practice but can be mastered even for a heavy weighted row.

And even though we are only discussing one exercise here, once you become comfortable using the "open" grip, you will be able to adapt several other exercises in your workout repertoire as well. However, be extremely careful which ones you chose to use the "open" grip with. The "open" grip is also called the false grip as well as a thumbless or suicide grip. For those extremely heavy weighted exercises such as the bench press (straight, inclined or declined), the squat or any exercise over the head or chest, it is not recommended. You should use the closed grip to ensure safety and prolonged good health!

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