How to Place Your Hands on Barbell to Perform a Deadlift?

4 Different Styles

  • Double Overhand
  • Mixed Grip
  • Hook Grip
  • Lifting Straps
Which Gripping Style is Best for You?

There are four different styles how to grip for deadlift.
Double overhand grip, mixed grip, hook grip & double overhand grip while using weight lifting straps.

Double Overhand Grip - Excellent for Grip Training - #1 Way to strengthen your grip for deadlifts.
1Double Overhand Grip – Excellent, probably #1 way to strengthen your grip for deadlifts. It’s also called pronated grip. This is usually the most common style to grab barbell in double overhand position.

You’re placing both of your hands in the way your palms are facing towards you while you’re gripping the barbell. This style is also the WEAKEST of the four styles – It’s likely the one style that allows you to grip the least amount of weight. It’s excellent to build up your grip strength since it’s more challenging & harder to deadlift as you keep adding weights on bar.

It’s usually the most common techniques used, that you see a lot in the public gyms.
If you are brand new to the deadlifting exercise, you may be able to hold on to weights that are challenging for you..

..but your overall body strength will quickly outperform your grip strength. In other words – Muscles in your posterior chain are likely much stronger & can handle much more weight than your grip does.

With a double overhand grip, the barbell is pulling straight down & trying to open your hands. Eventually, as bar is moving back toward your body & pulling your hand further open, you’ll drop the bar. To make double overhand gripping even more challenging, axel bars are excellent tools to achieve that.

Mixed Grip - The most popular gripping style among competitive powerlifters
2Mixed Grip – The most popular gripping style among competitive powerlifters. It’s highly effective way to grip barbell – As the barbell starts to roll out from one of your hand, it rolls straight into other hand, making it super strong grip.

This is one the strongest if not the strongest way to grip barbell – It involves having one hand over the bar & one hand under the bar – One hand is in pronated position & the other hand is in supinated position.

In simple words: The palm of your one hand is facing towards you, & the palm of your other hand is facing away from you. This position allows you to grip much heavier weight than the double overhand grip because the barbell is more secure & less prone to roll out from your hands.

Probably the most common downside with mixed grip is the increased risk to injure the bicep of your supinated hand.

With mixed grip, barbell is pulling straight down, trying to pull your hands open, but at the same time it prevents your grip to roll open like it happens with double overhand grip. If the barbell rolls towards your fingers in one hands, it simply rolls toward the palm of your other hand which blocks the barbell to rip your grip open.

Hook Grip - This is the one that technically every competitive Olympic weightlifter is using
3Hook Grip – This is the one that technically every competitive Olympic weightlifter is using – It’s one of those styles that helps you to achieve tremendously strong grip on barbell, but it comes at cost – It hurts, a lot!

The hook grip works similarly, & in the way like you grab the barbell with double overhand grip..

..but in this case you wrap your fingers around your thumb by pinning it between your fingers & the barbell. It’s the opposite what you do in simple double overhand grip where you’re just putting your thumb on top your fingers.

The longer your fingers are, the more likely it is, that the hook grip will let you grip even heavier weights than you could do it with a mixed grip. Plus, both of your hands will be in pronated position with hook grip, which means there is less risk for biceps tears.

There’s also couple of major downsides to hook grip. One them is that, if your fingers aren’t long enough, there’s a chance you won’t be able to set up you hook grip well enough. But the biggest downside is that hook grip hurts a lot. At least initially.

Since practicing hook grip hurts your thumbs like hell, it is likely the main reason why hook grip isn’t more popular. If you constantly practice hook gripping, you’ll gradually deaden the nerves in your thumbs & it eventually reaches the point you’ll be able to tolerate it much better. It takes a lot of time & practice.

The upside, however, if you can deal with the initial pain & you take time to learn how to hook grip, you can basically lift as much weight as you want & can lift – Your gripping ability shouldn’t be an issue anymore then.

 

Double Overhand with Straps - Excellent for Strongman style of deadlifting
4[/nx_dropcap]Double Overhand with Straps – Excellent for Strongman style of deadlifting, to target different muscle groups altogether instead of your gripping muscles, OR.. if your hands are injured.

The hands position will be exactly the same as with double overhand grip, simply with added lifting straps. Your hands will be in pronated position & tightly locked on barbell with the help of lifting straps.

It’s great way to keep training, if your finger is dislocated, you have torn calluses, or your grip is somehow limited & you’re not able to lift barbell otherwise. Also, straps are excellent, if you’ve already trained your grip enough.

Lifting straps work technically the same way as mixed grip does – If the barbell is rolling down your fingers, it’s rolling back up into the lifting straps & forcing barbell to pull straight down. Straps are excellent to help you to stop dropping the barbell.

This is the strongest & most secure way to grip barbell – You’re also partially negating your grip as lifting straps are redirecting some of the weight load to your wrists where the lifting straps are going to be attached to. Simple physics but big difference.

There are also multiple different styles & sizes of lifting straps to help you to perform this type of deadlifts.

Should You Use Weight Lifting Straps OR Not?

by Alan Thrall

How Wide Should be Your Grip Width on Bar?

You want to set up your grip by focusing on two main details:

  1. How you grip the bar (Double overhand, Mixed grip, Hook grip, Straps)
  2. The width you are using to grip the bar with

Once you’ve got both of your feet in place – Your stance width & your toe angle, you’re ready to set up your grip.

It’s simple & straightforward – Take the narrowest grip you can, meanwhile you are:

  1. Not forcing your knees to cave in
  2. Not causing excessive friction between arms & thighs

If you use too wide grip – It simply increases the distance you have to pull the barbell. So, if your grip gets wider, technically it makes the lift a little bit less efficient.

For example, you don’t exactly see a lot of guys who can deadlift with snatch grip way more weight than they do it with a narrower grip.
It’s great starting position, & your grip width is excellent, when your arms are brushing against your thighs, meanwhile they’re not forcing your knees or grinding against your thighs.

How to Grip a Bar for Deadlift in Sumo Stance?

the Exact Same Ways

All the barbell gripping styles & the information about it – Double overhand, mixed grip, hook grip, double overhand with lifting straps – applies to they sumo style deadlift exactly the same way as it applies to the conventional style deadlift.

There’s likely only one big difference & it’s your knees position – Your knees won’t be in the way of your arms when you’re lifting sumo style. This also means you can take a narrower grip on the barbell.

You can grip the barbell with your hands directly below your shoulder & this position allows your arms to be potentially at their longest & help to minimize the distance you need to pull the bar to make lift more efficient.

If you’re comfortable with grabbing smooth part of the barbell, you can do that to shorten the distance & make your lift more effective. If not, you should widen your grip just enough, so your hands are on the start of the barbell knurling.

What are the Common Barbell Gripping Mistakes?

Gripping Barbell for Deadlift

Common Mistakes

1 Setting the Barbell too High in Your Hands

Once you set your grip the barbell sits deep into your palms, it’s going to be pulled down by itself & straight into your fingers.

You’re going to tear up your hands without actually achieving a firmer grip!

The correct position is to set the barbell either above or below the calluses at the base of your fingers.

Pull the slack out of barbell as you’re starting to lift & feel how your grip tightens properly.

This is the most effective way to achieve strongest grip.

2 Pulling the Barbell too much with Your Arms

Eventually as weights get heavier, you’ll end up getting biceps tears. There’s always higher risk to tear your biceps when doing that, you should not pull the bar with your arms at all.

Your back, hips, legs & grip should do all the work.

Biceps tears almost always happen to the supinated/underhand arm when someone is pulling the bar.

Crush the bar with your grip, use all the power you have in your forearms BUT leave your upper arms relaxed.

Remember, you are deadlifting not rowing OR biceps curling!

Always grip the barbell harder than you need – The lift will feel easier if you grip hard enough – It’s already a psychological victory & helps you conquer the lift more easily. It creates much more confidence in you & having a upper hand is never a bad thing.

Thanks for stopping by!
I hope you enjoyed reading my article & learned a lot about Gripping Barbell for Deadlift along the way.
Feel free to ask for assistance & share your thoughts by leaving a comment.

Cheers,
Henry

Greetings! I'm Henry & I'm a friendly fellow who started this website to help you to improve your strength game. I’m fascinated by calisthenics, strongman training & weightlifting – I’ve been a powerlifter & martial artist for more than decade. Being passionate about strength sports, I'd love to discuss about these topics.

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