Have you ever watched someone deadlifting and wondered, “Why are they gripping the bar like that?” While there’s no definitive right or wrong way to grip the bar, there are some reasons that one grip may be more optimal than another.
Read this list to find out the pros and cons of each variation and try them out next time you’re in the gym!
Double Overhand Grip
The double overhand grip is an excellent grip for beginner to intermediate deadlifters. In this classic grip, both palms are facing the lifter. Because both arms are in the same position, it’s easy to keep things more symmetrical and work through developing equal strength in both hands, arms, and lats.
The problem with D.O.G is that sometimes the bar can roll out of your hands. Instead of failing a lift because YOU are not strong enough, you may fail a lift because YOUR GRIP is not strong enough. It’s also more difficult to do a lot of reps with a double overhand grip for the same reason. Your grip strength has limitations.
Lastly, it can be tough to keep the bar close to your body as it will be more likely to move away from you if you don’t have the constant tension created by the opposing force of one underhand and one overhand grip AKA the “mixed grip.”
In a mixed grip position, one hand faces the lifter and the other hand faces out. The reason this grip is so strong is due to the interplay between both hands. As the bar rolls out of one hand, it is rolling into the other hand. This grip is the preferred grip for the majority of powerlifters on heavy reps/sets.
If it’s so great, why wouldn’t you use this grip exclusively?
Using a mixed grip can create muscular imbalances. For most people, one mixed grip combination will feel stronger than the other, so they tend to stick with that. This can cause the shoulder of the hand you grip overhead the be more internally rounded forward where the underhand will stay more “healthy.” Also, one lat and one side will likely get stronger than the other, causing rotation in your max effort sets. For these reasons, it’s best to stick with an overhand grip OR to alternate your mixed grip on most of your sets and save your preferred and strongest mixed grip for your max effort sets.
Double Overhand Hook Grip
The double overhand hook grip is a grip in which the thumb is trapped between the bar and the index and middle finger. It’s a standard in the Olympic weightlifting community but has also been adopted by powerlifters in more recent years. While it can be painful in the beginning, it’s typically a temporary discomfort that you can get used to with practice. There is NO denying that hook grip is one of the strongest grips. However, some women find that they just logistically can’t grip the bar like that due to hand size. While you may not be able always to use it, trying out hook grip could prove to be useful in your deadlift.
Remember, none of these grips is “better” than the other, but you may find that there is a more optimal grip for you than the one that you have been using! At the end of the day, the best grip is the one where you feel the strongest, and the barbell is the most secure. Make sure to incorporate different grips into your training to decrease the risk of imbalance/injury and improve your overall strength!