Deadlifting puts your strength to the test from head to toe. To pull hefty weights, you’ll need a strong muscle chain, and your grip is a key link in that chain.
In this post, I’ll show you how to grasp the bar during deadlifts in four different ways:
- Overhand grasp with two hands
- grasp with a hook
- a combination of grips
- Straps for lifting
You’ll learn how to perform them, as well as the benefits and drawbacks of each method.
How To Properly Grip The Bar For Deadlifts
Grip the handle evenly and straight down.
Make sure your weight is evenly distributed across the bar. When you set your hands on the bar to grip it, be sure they are the same distance apart. One of the most common deadlifting errors I find among newer lifters is this.
Personally, I grab the bar with both hands at the same distance apart, precisely where the knurling begins. You can also use your thumbs to measure the distance between the knurling and the rings.
The distance between your hands and the ground will vary based on your size and stance. Your hands should hang straight down from your shoulders in general.
Place the bar in the middle of your hand.
When you grip the bar, aim to keep it close to the base of your fingers and in the centre of your hand. You should feel the bar slide and lock into a specific position as you begin pulling. If you’re deadlifting with short arms, this may be more difficult.
It varies slightly from person to person, but if the bar slides away from you as you lift, you may be clutching it too high in your palm. If the bar is slipping to your fingertips, though, you should grip it a little tighter. Play with it until you find your sweet spot.
Squeeze a few times and commit to your grip choice.
Once you’ve got everything in place, remember to squeeze hard and keep squeezing until you’ve completed your set.
Use your muscles and squeeze the bar as hard as you can to improve your grip. Consider leaving your ‘fingerprints’ on the bar.
Try to persist with whatever grip you chose for a long time. We often fall into the trap of believing that the grass is greener on the other side, so we change styles. But, before jumping ship, give it some time and a fair shot.
Grip: Double Overhand
This is the most common and natural manner to pick up a barbell. Simply grasp it with both palms facing your body (pronated), thumbs opposing the other fingers.
The benefit of this lift is that it is both pleasant and natural; it is how you normally pick up items. It’s also balanced in terms of your arms and shoulders.
The disadvantage is that this grasp is flimsy. Because the barbell will desire to roll out of your fingertips, this is the case. This grip style is excellent for novices learning to deadlift, but after a few months of training, it usually becomes a limiting factor in how much you can lift.
In weightlifting, the hook grip is ubiquitous, and it’s becoming more popular in powerlifting. The hook grip is a progression of the double overhand grip, however despite their similarities, the hook grip boosts your lifting capacity by 20–30% or more.
You still use a double overhand hold on the bar, but you now place your thumb under your index finger and sometimes also your middle finger. The thumb will act as a wedge or chock, preventing the bar from rolling away from your hold.
When you use the hook grip, your grip strength will be on par with the rest of your body’s strength, and most lifters won’t have any problems with grip strength. It’s symmetrical for your arms and shoulder, much like the standard overhand grip.
In powerlifting, the mixed grip is the most popular grip technique. Supinating one hand — that is, rotating one palm away from you – counteracts the rotation of the barbell. This, like the hook grip, dramatically increases the amount of weight you can lift by bringing your grip strength up to par with the rest of your body’s pulling power.
Aside from its strength, the advantage of this grip is that it eliminates the agony associated with the hook grasp. The disadvantage is that one of your hands is now supinated, which affects the position of your shoulder and shoulder blade, as well as your spine and hip.
Is this a problem, or is it not? Most likely not. Especially if you do other back exercises with symmetrical grips. Switching which hand is supinated between sets could be a remedy, but lifters don’t appear to like it in practise.
Straps for Lifting
The usage of lifting straps is the final grip technique worth discussing. Lifting straps will eliminate any grip-related deadlift constraints, protect your skin, and allow you to pull with a symmetrical overhand grip.
The disadvantage is that you will not profit from your training in terms of improving your grip strength. If pain or injured skin is holding you back, a decent compromise for an ardent deadlifter could be to wear straps in around half of your deadlift training.
Why Should We Practice Grip Like This?
The most particular technique to work your grip for deadlifts is to train with barbell holds. The “Specific Adaptation of Imposed Demands” principle is used in strength training (SAID). This concept states that in order to adapt to a stimulus, you must set demands that are specific to the outcome.
You can work on your grasp using other methods all you want, but if you don’t practise it in the circumstance you’re trying to better, it won’t get any stronger.
So, which grip should I be using at the moment?
Each of the three grips has its own time and place.
Starting to struggle with your deadlifts because you can’t keep your grip on the bar or you’re rounding your back at the conclusion of a rep? It’s time to get a firm grasp on things. Want to hook grip but can’t get your hands all the way around the bar, or want to die on the cross but it’s too painful? Change your grip.
The end goal is for you to become stronger. So, grasp the bar in the way your coach instructs, or in the way that allows you to lift the maximum weight.
The deadlift is done with chalk.
You can’t talk about the deadlift grip without mentioning both your hands’ chalk and the bar’s knurling. That was a deliberate sentence. Chalk is applied on your hands rather than your bar.
The function of chalk is to remove any moisture from the hands that would make gripping the bar more difficult. The goal of knurling is to give your palm additional surface area to grip so you can grip the bar better.
If your barbell is completely covered in chalk, there will be no knurling to help you hold it with your palm. When you find chalk on your barbell, we recommend brushing it off using a brass brush to ensure that the knurling is revealed.
Is there a better deadlift grip than the other?
If you’re just getting started, however, you shouldn’t be concerned about this. If you’ve been lifting for a while and your deadlift is becoming difficult to maintain, try switching your grip.
Which is the better option? I prefer the hook grip to the alternate grip, however I utilise both in training and on my lifters on occasion. Because my mother had trouble grabbing the bar with a hook grip, I advised her try deadlift using an alternate grip.
Both grips are in good condition. Find one that allows you to continue deadlifting fresh weight and improve your strength.
Why am I unable to grasp the deadlift bar?
Try out all of your gym’s bars to see which one is the narrowest. Second, apply chalk to your hands.
Chalk absorbs perspiration and moisture from your skin, preventing the bar from slipping from your grip. When you’re pulling your one rep max, even a small amount of sliding can make a difference!
F.A.Q how to grip deadlift bar:
What grip should you use for deadlifts?
The most prevalent type of grip used in Olympic deadlifting is the double overhand grip (also known as a pronated grip). Simply reach down and grab the barbell with your left and right hands, palms facing towards you, to complete the double overhand grip.
How do you deadlift without losing grip?
At the top of each rep, the aim is to hold maximal weights for longer. Squeeze and hold the bar in your hands for 10 seconds after you’ve completed the lift. This will be the most targeted approach to improving grip strength.
How do I stop my hands from slipping when I deadlift?
Sweaty hands can cause your hands to slip on the bar. Chalk is the most effective treatment for this. Chalk absorbs all of your skin’s moisture, giving you a considerably harder grip. If your gym does not allow chalk, you can substitute wrist bands.
That is, after all, why we are here. This decision can be made for you if you have an experienced coach.
Continue to deadlift. Continue to strengthen your grasp and don’t let it be the limiting factor in your strength.
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