Grip Considerations for the Deadlift
While this may be the king of all muscle-building exercises, it may also be the most complicated! Many people
perform this exercise incorrectly – which can lead to serious injuries.
Luckily, this article will discuss how to properly perform the deadlift and specifically address the issue of
your grip during the movement.
Read on to learn how to safely and effectively add this incredible exercise to your strength training routine!
The deadlift is considered the ultimate muscle building exercise because it works numerous muscles – the
quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, lower back, forearms, traps, abdominals and lats, just to name a few!
Because of this, deadlifts are very taxing on your body, both mentally and physically. Before you start
evaluating what type of grip will work the best for you, you should learn how to properly perform the deadlift.
Start by loading the weight onto the bar. You should perform a few warm up sets before your working sets to get
the blood pumping into the muscles (you should also do a quick 5-10 minute warm up before strength training
The bar should bisect the middle of your foot – or cut your shoe in half, and your feet should be shoulder width
apart or a little wider than shoulder width apart. As you prepare to lift the weight, focus on keeping your back
straight and your abdominals tight. Your neck should be in a neutral position – not extended all the way up or
Lift the weight using your legs to push up then drive your hips forward to finish the movement. Always make sure
that your back is straight and does not round during the beginning of the lift. Form is critical when performing
the deadlift, so be sure to watch as many video explanations of the exercise as possible.
As for your grip, try to use a normal grip for weights lighter than your one rep max – any heavier and you
should consider a mixed grip or lifting straps/chalk. A normal grip (or both hands placed over the bar), is the
best grip for those who are just starting out.
This grip allows you to build your forearm strength and avoid relying on chalk or lifting straps. When you get
more advanced, try switching to the mixed grip (one hand over, one under). The mixed grip is great because it
prevent the bar from rolling out of your hands during the lift, however it places a lot of tension on your biceps,
which is something to consider.
Finally, the strongest grip you can use without equipment is called the hook grip. To use the hook grip, place
both hand over the bar and wrap your fingers over the bar.
Once your grip starts failing and your forearms become fatigued, it may be worthwhile to look into lifting straps or chalk. This equipment will take stress off
your forearms and enable you to lift more weight.
The type of grip you utilize during the deadlift can have an enormous impact on how much you can lift. So
consider these different grips the next time you deadlift, and practice your form as much as possible. After all,
practice makes perfect!
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