Deadlifts are the mother of all workouts, so you better know how to hold the bar right while you are executing them. When you have got a few plates on either side of the bar, it can get a bit more difficult to maintain a straight face, so here are some tips to help you keep proper form and how to use the 3 deadlift grips.
This is the standard, overhand grip with your fingers all wrapped over the bar and the thumb wrapped around the other side, however it has a slight twist. When your fingers meet your thumb on the other side, you wedge your thumb in between your first two fingers to create a “hook”. This means that you can lift more weight than with the double overhand, due to the decreased dependence on grip strength (which is the weakest link in most peoples chain). The hook grip is a seriously strong grip, which is made obvious by the fact that most Olympic lifters use it.
The hook grip is also one of the safest grips to use because it doesn’t put the bicep muscle at as much risk, which is a commonly injured muscle in deadlifting. One flaw is that it makes your thumbs burn like they have been dipped in lava, however you will get used to this and the corresponding muscles and tendons will get stronger as a result.
Although this grip helps you to increase the poundage you can lift, make sure that you still lift with correct form and don’t ramp up your lifts just because you discovered this new method. Work your way up to heavier lifts slowly. It is also a good idea to alternate between the hook and the simple double overhand, to get a slightly different workout for your gripping muscles. Some lifters will use the double overhand to warm up, the hook grip to lift 5RM or 3RM and then the mixed for 1RM.
As you possibly guessed, mixed grip deadlifts are when you lift the bar with one hand supinated and one hand pronated. In English, one hand will be curling over the bar, and one hand curling under the bar. Although the weight isn’t going to be any lighter, using the mixed grip can help some people to achieve heavier deadlifts. This is mainly because of the decreased focus on the gripping muscles.
When you use the mixed grip, you are almost “locking in” the bar with your arms. Using this style of grip is a good idea to test out your 1RM, but it doesn’t focus on building grip strength as much as the other two grips. For this reason, the mixed grip is best used sparingly and use the hook grip to help develop powerful forearm and hand strength. The mixed grip will also be difficult to start off using, purely because the bar will swing around a bit more. This just takes getting used to, and you can decide whether you like it or not.
Double Overhand Grip
The hooked grip is what most lifters will do when they grab onto a bar. Ask your grandmother to pick up her shopping bags and she will hoist them up with her double overhand grip.
It is the most common and natural way that we lift. The double overhand grip is also the one grip that all lifters should start out using. This is because it forces you to develop grip strength, it teaches you proper form and ensures that you won’t lift too much weight.
The major flaw with the double overhand grip is that if you don’t have a crushingly powerful handshake (a.k.a supremely strong grip and fingers), then the bar will roll in your hands and you will be more likely to drop it.
Once you become accustomed to the double overhand and want to lift more weight, then you can move onto the hook or the mixed grip. When you move onto the other grip training, you can use the double overhand grips for your warm ups and to build grip strength, but you will never be able to lift the super heavy loads that powerlifters can pull with this grip.