Try “Micro Changes” in the Gym For Big Results

If you’ve been benching the same weight for months and feel like you’re still not ready to move up, you might be tempted to ditch the exercise entirely and do something different. Instead, all you may need is to make a small adjustment—like a change in your grip or stance. You never know when a “micro change” could make all the difference to get things going again.

One possibility these micro changes work is that your body is uniquely shaped—from the length of your arms and legs to the width of your torso in relation to these limbs, and more. Those significantly influence how comfortable you will find certain positions to be during an exercise and how efficiently you will be able to perform the exercise without injury. Basically, there’s no “one true way” for everyone to exercise (although there are generally accepted guidelines).

Anecdotally, changing the width of my grip in my pull-up worked like magic. Until someone pointed out that my pull-up grip was fairly wide, I struggled to do one. Very shortly after, I tried again with a narrower grip and busted out like two (and a half) pull-ups. Those were the first full pull-ups I’d ever done in my life (of course, I’d been continuously doing upper body work, too!).

So, try a different foot position when you squat. You’ll likely be told to keep your toes pointed forward, but for some people it’s more comfortable and safer to have them pointed out. Or, try a mixed grip (one hand over and one hand under) when you deadlift to get a better handle on the bar. These itty-bitty adjustments can have a huge impact if you’re struggling at a specific level, or breaking to more reps or higher weight.

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