April 01, 2015 | John Paul Catanzaro
An offset grip, sometimes referred to as an “off-center” grip, is often used during arm curls to increase the activation of the short (medial) head of the biceps. The same concept can be applied to lateral raises. By using an offset grip where the thumb and index finger are positioned against the front plate of the dumbbell, you get greater recruitment of the posterior (rear) head of the deltoid.
A common instruction for this exercise is to pronate the forearms while raising the dumbbells as if you were pouring a pitcher of water, but this can lead to subacromial impingement or shoulder pain. However, by using an offset grip, you can effectively alter the loading without adjusting the mechanics or motion.
In simple terms, the back end of the dumbbell becomes a little heavier, forcing the back part of your shoulders to work a little harder. Typically this area is very weak in most individuals and requires greater attention. Balanced shoulder development and strength will improve stability, thereby enhancing the integrity of the joint and decreasing the likelihood of injuries while helping build bigger and fuller deltoids. It’ll give them more of that “three-dimensional” look.
To take it a step further, attach a PlateMate to the rear plate only (closest to your pinky). This will make the back end of the dumbbell even heavier.