Get a Grip!

Seriously, Get a Grip.

When it comes to the deadlift the most common complaint from people is that their grip gives out before they can lift any more weight. while this is quite a reasonable excuse I would also question peoples form long before I started questioning their grip.
There are those with naturally a strong grip and there are those with naturally weaker grip, you can’t help the hands your dealt in life, you just have to make the best of it.
Do you know that there are 3 main types of grip you can use when deadlifting:
– Double Overhand Grip
– Alternating or Mixed Grip
– Hook Grip
The Double Overhand Grip (DOH) will limit the total amount of weight you can lift but it’s a great way to work on technique and also test your baseline strength. The chances are if your overhand grip increases then so will your mixed and hook grip.
An Alternating or Mixed Grip (MG) will allow you to lift more weight because it stops the bar rolling out of your hands as you lift, you will see this grip you the most and pretty much all the Powerlifting Deadlift Records have been set with a MG. The only downside is that it can create muscular imbalances and also lead to potential injury, such as a bicep tear on the supinated hand.
Lastly we have the Hook Grip (HG), this is favored by Olympic Weightlifters and is as strong if not stronger than an mixed grip, however it does hurt like hell until you get used to it. If you can stick with this grip and master it then you will have some pretty formidable lifting numbers and less chance of injury through muscle imbalance too.
How you grip in the Deadlift is an interesting and highly debated topic among a great many people.
Some people will advise DOH, others MG and then there are the weightlifters who stick with the HG people who will only deadlift with straps because they have seen the Worlds Strongest Men in do it in comps and think that therefore they don’t need to every worry about gripping the bar, however they forget about the colossal amount of grip work that is in the various other events in strongman training (farmers walks, holds, arm over arm rope pull etc).
Does that mean lifting straps are bad? No, however too many people become reliant on them. If you have plenty of other training in your program that is heavily demanding on your grip (much like that of strongman training), the use of straps for deadlift is essential but if you don’t train that way i wouldn’t advise using them too often.
So what can you do?
There are plenty of ways you can train your grip, here is a list of some exercises:
– Farmers Walks
– Farmers Holds
– Dead Hanging
– Rope Climbing
– Kettlebell Swings for High Reps
– High Rep DOH Deadlifts
– High Rep Dumbbell/Barbell Rows
You can do these for reps, time or distance depending on the exercise you’ve picked. In the end grip is something that should be trained frequently, perhaps with a 10min finisher at the end of each training session you do. Putting in the time to training your grip will help improve your deadlift, just be patient and work hard.


Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

5 responses to “Get a Grip!

  1. pixieannie

    Fantastic post, Ross. I always alternate my grip for the reasons you have mentioned. I do my fair share of dead hangs and farmer’s walk and plenty of climbing. My grip is pretty impressive. I’ve seen big guys using straps for less weight than I would deadlift and I suggested that they were going to heavy….couldn’t resist that one.


    • Brilliant, lol.

      Farmer walks are something I need to program in, I tend to miss those myself if I’m honest, however I do a decent amount of overhand deadlift for volume which keeps it strong (ish).

      Thanks again for taking the time to have a read. Are there any topics you would like covered?

      Liked by 1 person

      • pixieannie

        That reminds me, I was carrying my friend’s chainsaw back up the garden and my garden is long. It sure was a weight and I estimated about 32 kg. He assumed it was only about 12 and yet he also found it hard to carry. I shall weigh that in the morning and let you know.

        Have you tried the dead hang for 30 seconds and then straight into a pull up? Works a treat, repeat 5 times. Rest briefly between sets or combine with 30 second L Sits.

        Hmmmm. Not sure. Will have a think, thank you. What about front squats?


      • I’ve done a similar dead hang combo, but it was 1 hanging leg raise then 1 pull up, next was 2 of each and repeated up to 5. That was good fun.

        Hmm the front squat is a good shout 👍

        Liked by 1 person

      • pixieannie

        That sounds cool. I think the combination of the dead hang being a stress position, combined with a pull up, is a great one to test mental strength. Ah yes, that would also make a good post, physical v mental strength.

        I will be posting later about my workout of this morning and my first time with front squats.


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