Grip Training For The Deadlift

Before we get into today’s post, I want to remind you that tomorrow is your last chance to get Deadlift Like A Man + Gaining Weight Made Simple (Buy 1 get 1 FREE) for 1 low price. Click here for details.

Now onto today’s question…

When I try to deadlift heavy I am having trouble gripping the weight. I was wondering if you have any advice on ways I can improve my grip. – Sean

Sean, if your grip is your limiting factor in the deadlift and you are using a double overhand grip, you have 3 short term options to eliminate grip as your limiting factor.

1-Learn the hook grip

This is the most painful grip to use but if you can forget about the pain and learn how to use this grip, this is your safest and most effective option.

2-Use an alternate grip

This grip requires one hand to be supinated on the bar while the other hand pronated. While this will give you a much stronger grip, it comes with it’s risks. The hand with the palm facing up is more vulnerable to injury – especially a bicep tear. Also, I’ve seen some guys that use this grip rotate their torso a little bit which is horrible for your spine. If you plan on competing in powerlifting and you can’t learn the hook grip, then you will have to use this grip.

3-Use straps

Straps get a bad wrap by the lifting tough guys but the truth is if you just love lifting heavy ass weight and don’t plan on competing in powerlifting any time soon, there is nothing wrong with using straps for your heaviest sets. With straps, your grip will no longer be the limiting factor and it’s safer than pulling with an alternate grip.

Here is a great video from James Smith of Diesel Strength and Conditioning showing you each of these grips:

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Now, while one of these 3 options above will be a short term solution for you, you still need to improve your overall grip strength. Improving your grip strength will improve your deadlift because it will help you create more tension. Tension equals strength. Your grip is the last thing that touches the bar when you deadlift. Simply put, if your grip is weak, you are going to loose strength.

Below are 3 tips that will help you increase your grip strength for the deadlift.

1-Deadlift with a double overhand grip as much as possible

The best way to build a strong grip is challenging it with heavy deadlifts. A HUGE mistake I see a lot of guys make is using an alternate grip from the get go. This is a mistake because you are NOT addressing the weak link in your chain. Your warm-up sets are a great way to get in extra grip work by using a double overhand grip. Work up to a weight that is challenging but you know you won’t fail on is key.

Here is an example of how I progress from a double overhand grip to an alternate grip:

135 – double overhand

225 – double overhand

275 – double overhand

315 – double overhand

365 – double overhand

405 – double overhand

455 + alternate grip

2-Use Fat Gripz as much as possible

Fat gripz are the ultimate tool for building a strong grip and you should use these on as many exercises as you can. For lower body exercises like dumbbell lunges, split squats, step ups etc… slap these bad boys to train your grip simultaneously. When it comes to upper body rowing and pressing, using fat gripz may limit the amount of weight you can do, so with that said use them for your warm-up sets and then scrap them for your heaviest sets. This way you can still get grip work in while focusing on building strength. Also, fat gripz are a MUST whenever you do direct arm work like curls and extensions.

3-Start doing direct grip work

Doing direct grip work will have a great carry over to your deadlift. Below is a list of 3 of my favorite exercises to improve grip strength. Add these exercises in towards the end of your workouts to see drastic improvements in grip strength

Heavy Farmer Walks

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Thick Bar Holds

Here is a video of Elliot Hulse breaking down thick bar holds

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Plate Pinch

Here is a video of Joe DeFranco doing a plate pinch

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1x1.trans Top 4 Assistance Exercises For The Deadlift

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Leave A Reply (4 comments so far)

  • joeymegz

    Get the ball rolling by dropping a comment below

  • DW the VW

    Over hand grip should be for all starters. Develop the grip fast, and helps to keep the spine in alignment. I like to push down on the bar before I wrap my fingers around. Grip real hard, set feet/head and pull with smooth yet fast pull.
    Good stuff Megz! How’s the pec? Back to benching yet?

  • joeymegz

    Thanks for checking in bro! I’m flooring pressing with dumbbells and doing chain push-ups. How you doing?

  • DW the VW

    Great! A few down points in life and business, but pushing through all it towards the goal. Training is going real good. Did a little soul searching and decided to give up competing. I did bodybuilding, powerlifting and strongman. All in the same year so I was up, down and all around. Training for life now and loving it. I feel free!
    Keep up the good work! See you in coming year for Level 2 and olympic course. Things have to settle a little here first.