Grip is often a much discussed topic when it comes to various exercise techniques. I tend not to get to caught up in it myself especially coaching clients. I mean when I am just beginning to teach an individual how to properly press or row I am usually more concerned with teaching them the foundations of the overall movement, such as maintaining proper scapula position at the top of a row, while keeping a packed neck, and avoiding humeral extension rather than what particular grip their using. I often here claims from a wide variety of individuals including other fitness professionals about how using this particular grip on an exercise versus the other grip activates such and such more percentage of this and this part of a muscle. Now while studies have shown that foot placement, angle of the movement, and hand position can all affect percentages of recruited muscle fibers in a given area I think for the most part individuals and coaches would be better off insuring the movement as a whole is perfected before starting to add variations in an effort to get more muscle fiber recruitment in a certain area.

I do however have one particular area of my programming in which I do get very specific about which grip is to be used and this is with the majority of pressing movements. I prefer that my clients do a good amount of their initial pressing movement with neutral hand positions. This is what I refer to as the position between a supinated wrist and a pronated wrist where the palms face inward toward one another. I sometimes allow my more experienced clients to use a hybrid position where the wrist is pronated to about a 45 degree angle to the contact of stability (this is what I refer to as the bench or ground depending on your orientation to gravity and the exercise being performed). Just about every client I have programmed for has asked me why I prescribe this hand position over the much more popular and more frequently practiced pronated grip (palm is facing away from you). The initial question asked every time is "does this work a different part of my muscle". Now while changing hand position will shift the percentage of muscle fibers recruited within the stimulated muscle, I often don't share that with them because I do not want them getting into a mindset that they need to do 6sets of a pressing motion all with various hand positions in order to sculpt the most beautiful well rounded muscular physique. I mean come on last time I checked your goal sheet you didn't put down that you want to be the next Mr. Olympia. While grip variations and angle adjustments are great for a change of pace for most of my clients I want their focus on the holistic movement not what part of their muscle is being innervated. So normally I lie to them (its for your own good people don't hate). I tell them no it is not because it works a different muscle or part of a muscle, the reason I have you use that hand position is because it will end up saving years of wear and tear from being piled on to your shoulders. So let me explain my explanation a little further so everyone understands why a neutral grip hand position is more beneficial to shoulder health than a pronated grip hand position.

Now I know I have made the focus of this post the differences in hand positions but let me let you in on a little secret really I could care less where an individuals hand is position during a pressing movement. What I really care about is the degree of the angle of abduction from the elbow to the side of the body. You see the further the arm moves away from the body the greater the degree of external rotation in the shoulder. When the shoulder is forced to maintain a high degree of external rotation for a long period such as during a set of the bench press with the arm abducted from the side of the body more than 45 degrees it places much stress on your rotator cuff to stabilize the head of the humerus in its very shallow socket on the glenoid. Now add increased load to that position such as two 45 pound plates in the bottom position of the bench press and you have a bad situation for any body lacking proper strength in the rotator cuff (which is a large amount of the General Population Clients I see). Due to this situation I find myself being very particular about what angle my clients abduct their arm from their side to perform a pressing movement.

You are probably think but wait you were just talking about hand positions and now you have jumped to the angle at which the arm is abducted aren't those two different factors that play a role in exercise technique. Well yes they are two separate factor that are not directly related. You can maintain pronated grip with keeping the angle of arm abduction in a press very small, such as during a close-grip bench press. But what I have found is that during dumbbell pressing movements whether they be horizontal or vertical when I cue my clients to use a neutral grip they automatically assume a preferable angle of abduction which I place somewhere less than or equal to forty five degrees. Now when we are talking barbell variations of pressing movements a better cue is to adjust the grip width to allow the elbows to get to a preferred angle of abduction.

Anyway the take home message here is that I find a neutral grip when performing dumbbell variations and narrow grip width when performing barbell variations to be more shoulder friendly because it allows for a more preferred angle of abduction between the arm and the rest of the body. This smaller angle places the shoulder in less external rotation and places less stress on the small tiny rotator cuff muscles that your shoulder joint relies on heavily to maintain the humeral head in a stable position against the glenoid. So for the majority of pressing movements I would recommend a neutral hand position. Use a pronated grips sparingly and accordingly.
 
If I were to criticize any individual's weekly training routine my first two criticisms would for sure be the lack of an adequate warm-up and/or cool-down and barely anytime devoted to injury prevention methods. I feel  that it is the inclusion of adequate warm-ups, injury prevention, and cool-downs that take a somewhat effect training program and turns it into an excellent program. While I understand that these three parts of a workout are by no means as fun as grinding out four heavy sets of deadlifts it is imperative to overall health to make sure that you devote and invest the time into each three areas.

To help those out who wish to start rounding out their training by incorporating some of these elements of training on a more regular basis I want to provide a very simple and basic injury prevention routine that takes no more than 10mins. I think this is the area most individuals struggle the most with because they do not understand what they should be doing and do not have the knowledge required to program this particular element into a workout. Below is listed my recommended injury prevention routine to start with to get you on your way to buidling a strong, solid foundation.
Floor T's
-Lie face down on the floor with your legs extended and your arms outstretched directly to side creating a shape similar to a "T".
-Move your shoulder blades toward your spine while raising your hands upward.
-Let your hands return to the floor and repeat for prescribed repetitions.
-Focus on moving through your shoulder blades. Squeeze them back and together
-You should feel the movement in your upper back and shoulders.
Floor Y's
-Lie face down on the floor with your legs extended and your arms outstretched above your head creating a "Y" shape (think Y-M-C-A).
-Move your shoulder blades toward your spine at the same time raise you hands from the floor.
-Let your hands return to the floor and repeat
-Focus on moving your shoulder blades against your rib cage rather than raising your arms.
-The movement should tax your upper back, lats, and shoulders
Hip External Rotation w/Mini Band (Clamshell)
-Lie on your side with your shoulders, hips, and feet square to the fall in front of you.
-Place the mini band around your both legs
-Pull your knees up as if you were assuming the feeble position stop at the point when your knees are bent just forward of the rest of your body.
-You should know be in a position where your head, chest, waist, hips, and feet create a straight line with your knees bent forward of this straight line
-Be sure the miniband is around the knees.
-Initiate movement by driving the top knee up toward the ceiling while keeping the feet pinned together (resembles opening a clamshell). 
-Once you have reached your end range of motion (this will vary depending on your own hip mobility) lower the knee down to where both knees are touching. Repeat for repetitions.
Front Plank
-Begin by placing your elbows directly beneath your shoulders with you hands forward of your elbows below your face
-Assume the push-up position
-Keep the back flat
-Squeeze your glutes and flex your quads.
-Think about pulling your belly button into your spine
-Maintain this position for a predetermined time.
Glute Bridge
-Assume a traditional sit-up position with your knees pulled up and heels flat on the floor
-Initiate the movement by driving your heels into the ground and raise your hips toward the ceiling
-Keep your lower back flat and think about squeezing the glutes
-Lower the hips all the way back to the ground and repeat for repetitions.