7 Anatomy Facts Every Bodybuilder Should Know

#5. Don’t use the thumbless grip

The thumbless grip, also known as a false, open or suicide grip, involves keeping your thumb on the same side of the bar as your fingers whereas a regular grip involves wrapping your thumb around the barbell. As you can imagine, there’s a pretty good reason why this grip variant is commonly called the suicide grip. Most of the time, overly confident lifters are tempted to use this grip without any regard to the fact that it can easily lead to the bar slipping out of your hand (since there is no thumb to help hold it in place) and in the worst case scenario, killing you at the spot. No matter how cool it looks, this grip is dangerous and definitely isn’t worth the risk. Some lifters find that the thumbless grip helps them hit their chest and triceps better or that it’s more comfortable than the regular one, but in reality the difference is not that big. If you have wrist issues, it’s much wiser to invest in a pair of good quality wrist straps and use them during your heaviest bench press sets, instead of using a thumbless grip.

While some seasoned lifters use the thumbless grip regularly and get away with it because they have the motor skills and discipline to keep themselves safe, that doesn’t make this grip style suitable for less experienced lifters who usually have a tendency to mimic their behavior. So keep it real by either staying away from it entirely or at least making sure that you’re well prepared for the risks involved.

#6. Lower chest training is a real thing

The pectoralis minor extends from the shoulder to ribs 3-5, underneath the pectoralis major which is the biggest chest muscle. If you’re like most guys, the lower pecs are the most difficult area of your chest to fully develop. In fact, some people believe that successfully training the lower chest is nothing more than a myth. However, there are many ways to manipulate your routine and training intensity for the purpose of overcoming lower pecs shallowness and adding more volume to your chest such as using dropsets, rest-pause sets and negative reps. And if you want a well-developed chest, hitting both the lower part of the pectoralis major and the pectoralis minor is a must. To recruit the pectoralis minor more, opt for parallel bar dips and decline bench presses, the latter of which produce superior results for lower pecs hypertrophy when compared to using a flat bench. However, when it comes to optimal angles for targeting the chest, most experts agree that smaller inclines or declines (20-30%) will work better than large inclines or declines for the average bodybuilder. But for more experienced bodybuilders who have larger chests, extreme angles can provide better muscle recruitment.

#7. Weightlifting shoes can improve your performance

Chances are that the shoes you’re currently wearing while weightlifting are made for running. Is that a terrible mistake? Kind of. It most certainly isn’t life-threatening, but it significantly decreases your performance and increases your risk of injury. Running shoes have an in-built cushion that absorbs the impact with each step you take, which is ideal for running but not so great for weightlifting since the latter requires you to use all the force your body produces in order to move as much weight as possible.

On the other hand, flat-soled weightlifting shoes enable a better contact with the ground and thereby allow you to generate more force through the ground and transmit as much of it as possible through your body and into the barbell. Weightlifting shoes also have elevated heels, allowing you to squat into a deeper position by increasing the ankle range of motion and helping you improve your overall position. And finally, they are more stable and provide a stronger base to push through and push out into, which is crucial for both achieving optimal performance and minimizing the risk of injury.

Many lifters believe that doing compound lifts barefoot increases their gains, but in reality there isn’t enough evidence to support those claims. In fact, more often than not, people find it hard to keep their knees from caving in while lifting barefoot. So it’s safe to conclude that you will be best off deadlifting and squatting in weightlifting shoes that can provide the stability necessary to produce more force.

Take-home message

In bodybuilding, as in any other sport, there is much speculation and confusion surrounding the various methods and techniques that can lead to ultimate success. For the new lifter, this pool of contradictory advices and information can prove to be very frustrating and unhelpful, so it’s very important to check the reliability of anything you read or hear before adding it to your regular routine.

However, applying science-based training truths such as the ones presented in this article to your bodybuilding program can help you enhance your progress, keep you safe and prevent you from wasting time on myths and misconceptions, so we encourage you to try them right away and test their efficiency for yourself. As long as you give them a decent chance and train on a consistent way, you’ll be most likely to reap some amazing benefits.

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