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.