Which option would be more natural in context of weightlifing.

Take the bar with a grip shoulder-width apart and curl you hands, then lower it back down.

Grip the bar shoulder-width apart and curl your hands, then lower it back down.

Is the first sentence constructed correct, if it is, then which one sounds more natural?

  • Most likely people would understand both versions, but the second one is far less easy to grasp (weak pun intended, sorry! :) Bear in mind that by default, most people would naturally visualise the action of gripping as a "single-handed" operation, so it's only the exact context that forces us to realise that shoulder-width apart must refer to two hands, that far apart. But unless you want to use more words (Grip the bar with your hands a shoulder-width apart) you're stuck with inherently "awkward" phrasing. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Dec 1 '18 at 14:29
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    This is very close to being a duplicate of “grip the bar closely” or “grip the bar with your hand close to each other”?. – Jason Bassford Dec 3 '18 at 20:56

I found the second sentence more natural, but the usage of "shoulder-width apart" is slightly ungrammatical. I would rewrite it as:

Grip the bar with your hands shoulder-width apart. Curl your hands, then lower the bar back down.

i.e. "shoulder-width apart" is an OK adjective when applied to "hands", but not to "grip". This is also a problem with the first sentence. You could say "Take the bar with a shoulder-width grip..." and I think the reader would know what was meant; this would read more naturally to me, but it is still less clear as an instruction than my rewrite above.

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The first sentence is grammatically correct, and it actually means something slightly different from the second sentence. "Take the bar with a grip shoulder-width apart" actually tells the listener to control or to possess the bar (i.e. pick it up), while "Grip the bar shoulder-width apart" really only means to grasp the bar.

In this context, there may not be very much difference, but in some procedures the gripping step may be separate from when the item is actually lifted, which "take" implies.

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