How to Hold the Bar in Deadlifts
Holding on to a big deadlift may result in the difference between a successful lift and one that plummets to the floor. Multiple ways to grip a deadlift exist, and supportive aids work to assist you in your quest for better deadlift numbers. Deadlifts develop the strength of your legs and back, but this does not occur if you cannot hang onto the bar. You do not need extensive grip training. A simple exercise and proper planning combine to help you lift more, and lift more effectively. Consult a health care practitioner before beginning any strength-training program.
Chalk your hands lightly using gym chalk. Chalk, made from magnesium carbonate, dries the moisture on your hands making the bar less likely to slip. Do not put so much chalk on your hands that clouds of dust fly up when you grip the bar.
Grip the bar with your hands just outside of your legs. Grip the knurling, or diamond-pattern gripping surface, not the smooth part of the bar. Bars are patterned in this manner to make them easier to hold.
Turn one palm so that it is facing down. Turn the other palm so that it is facing up. The alternate grip helps prevent the bar from rolling. A double-overhand grip means that you have eight fingers on one side of the bar, and two thumbs on the other, and the weight of the bar against only your thumbs makes it more difficult to hang onto.
Hold the bar at the top of your last deadlift repetition. Hold it for as long as possible. This helps develop your grip specifically for the deadlift.
Avoid wearing gloves. The thickness of the gloves adds to the thickness of the bar, making it harder to grip. Strongman deadlift contests featuring thick bars instead of conventional bars become a test of grip strength for this reason.
If you feel pain, stop deadlifting immediately.
- "The Grip Master's Manual"; John Brookfield; 2002
- "Mastery of Hand Strength, Revised Edition"; John Brookfield; 2009
Grey Evans began writing professionally in 1985. Her work has been published in "Metabolics" and the "Journal of Nutrition." Gibbs holds a Ph.D. in nutrition from Ohio State University and an M.S. in physical therapy from New York University. She has worked at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs and currently develops comprehensive nutritional and rehabilitative programs for a neurological team.