When you are doing heavy pulling exercises such as; deadlifts and shrugs, chances are you find your grip strength giving out before your back strength does.
This is a very common problem among lifters. For most people their grip strength is the “weakest link” when pulling heavy weight. But there are some unique grips and hand positions that you can use when holding the barbell that will increase your grip strength, allowing you to lift more weight, or perform more reps before your grip strength gives out.
1) First, the most common grip is the Double Overhand Grip.
This is your basic grip where you simply grab the barbell with both hands facing the same direction. This grip is very comfortable and works well for most exercises, but it’s not very strong. When you work up to lifting heavy weights your fingers will start to open up and the barbell will roll out of your hands.
2) Second, is the Alternate Grip or Mixed Grip.
This is very common among powerlifters. How this grip works is you’ll hold the barbell with one hand facing forwards and the other hand facing backwards in an alternate fashion. The benefit of this grip is that as the barbell is rolling out of one hand, it is simultaneously rolling into the other hand, thus you’ll be able to hold onto heavier weight before your grip lets go.
The downside of the alternate grip is that it pulls on each side of the body differently because your hands are facing in opposite directions. However, you can balance this out by simply switching your grip with each set (i.e. alternate which hand is facing forwards and which hand is facing backwards with each set).
3) Third, is a Hook Grip.
This grip is not as common as the first two, but it can be just as effective once you get used to it. How this grip works is you’ll hold the barbell with a double overhand grip. But you’ll use your thumb like a mini lifting strap by wrapping your thumb around the barbell and then your first 2-3 fingers around your thumb. This is a stronger version of the double overhand grip. A lot of Olympic weightlifters use this grip for the clean & jerk and snatch. The only downside to the hook grip is that it’s painful at first. You’ll need to toughen up your thumb in order to handle the strain of being pulled on during the lift. But with practice you can master it.
Check out my YouTube video below to see a demo of each of these grips.
What is your favorite grip? Please let me know in the comments below…
FB Video Course