The Deadlift is a very demanding exercise, one that puts extreme tension on the lower back, legs, arms, traps, forearms and the hands. With this in mind in order to pull a maximum lift our deadlift grip must be strong enough to handle the load while under tension.
There are various forms of deadlifting:
- sumo style
- behind the back (hack style)
- round back
- flat back (the most common)
You must find which one suits you the best, meaning you might be weak at sumo deadlifting but strong at the conventional flat back deadlifting. Find what works for you and stay with this deadlift form until you build a good foundation.
All of these deadlift forms require a strong grip. The most common grip is the over/under also known as the switch grip. In my opinion this is the best grip to use for maximum efficiency.
The reason I beleive this is because by placing one hand under the bar (like you were doing a biceps curl) you tighten the bar into your hand by rolling it back into your fingers.
The hand that is over the bar with your palm facing down (like doing a reverse curl) is rolling the bar forward into your palm.
This over/under grip gives us the best chance of ”locking” the bar into our hands for maximum power.
Here is a video of the over/under deadlift grip:
The next deadlift grip is called the double over. This was the preferred method used by deadlift legend Bob Peoples (my favorite deadlifter) at 180 plus pounds Bob pulled an astonishing 700lbs deadlift.
The double over deadlift grip is much harder to use because it puts your hands at a disadvantage. Without one hand under this puts much more emphasis on your fingers to take the brunt of the load.
In the over/under deadlift grip you have the luxury of your hand that is under the bar, with the palm facing up securing the bar in your palm. The double over grip the bar had the tendency to want to roll out of the fingers.
This is the reason why this grip is much more difficult.
I don’t use this grip, however if I do I will use straps. Wrist straps help lock you in to the bar ensuring us a better grip. There are many different companies that make straps. The best I have found are from:
www.aptprowriststraps.com & www.ironmind.com
Both companies are good and the straps are very durable.
By using straps you are able to hold on to the bar even when your grip gives out. Often the forearm and fingers will get tired before the legs or back. If your grip gives up before the rest of your body then you can no longer pull.
Straps allow us to continue pulling even if our hands are fatigued.
Here is a video demonstrating the double overhand deadlift grip, with straps.
Though I only use straps when I absolutely have to they will save your hands and your forearms allowing you to finish the lift.
I suggest not using the straps on a regular basis as it is my experience that they will hinder you more than help you. Remember you must posses a good enough grip without the use of support. By using straps too much you will actually hurt your grip more than help it.
You must build enough grip strength and allow the hands to “callous” or harden up on their own. The hands will become sore, hardened, maybe even blister if you are new to the deadlift.
If you use straps, this paddens the hands thus equalling a weaker grip. Keep in mind I’m basing this off of someone that would want to compete in a deadlift competition. You cannot use straps in a meet. I would rather build up my hands to ensure max strength throughout my hands and forearms.
This will give me the best grip. Once you incorporate the use of straps into your workouts you will be able to handle even more weight which in turn provides more strength and muscle gained.
Find the best deadlift grip that works for you and start hoisting some iron off the floor.