Deadlifting is one of the most effective exercises for building strength, muscle mass and power. It works your entire posterior chain, from your calves to your traps, and also engages your core, arms and grip.
But how you hold the bar can make a big difference in your performance, comfort and safety. There are various types of hand grips and positions you can use when deadlifting, each with its own pros and cons.
In this article, we will compare the most common deadlift grips: double overhand grip, mixed grip, hook grip, snatch grip and axle grip. We will also give you some tips on how to improve your deadlift grip strength and technique.
There is a really helpful video at the end which will explain the 3 most important ones with a step by step guide showing you how to do them.
The double overhand grip is the simplest and most natural way to hold the bar. You just grab it with both palms facing you, wrapping your thumbs around the bar.
This grip is ideal for beginners, as it promotes symmetrical development of grip strength and avoids muscular imbalances that can result from long-term mixed grip use. It also allows you to keep the bar close to your body, which improves your shoulder and upper-back position.
However, the double overhand grip is also the weakest grip, as it relies solely on your finger strength to prevent the bar from rolling out of your hands. This can limit how much weight you can lift, especially on heavy sets or high reps.
To use the double overhand grip effectively, you need to have a strong grip and chalk up your hands to reduce slippage. You can also use straps to assist your grip on your heaviest sets, but don’t rely on them too much or you will neglect your grip development.
The mixed grip is a variation of the double overhand grip, where you alternate one hand in a pronated position (palm facing you) and one hand in a supinated position (palm facing away).
This grip allows you to lift more weight, as it prevents the bar from rolling out of your hands by creating a counterbalance effect. It also helps you overcome any strength imbalances between your left and right sides.
However, the mixed grip also has some drawbacks. It can increase the risk of biceps tears on the supinated arm, especially if you bend your elbow or curl the bar during the lift. It can also cause muscle imbalances in your forearms, shoulders and back over time if you don’t switch hands regularly.
To use the mixed grip safely and effectively, you need to keep your arms straight and locked at all times. You also need to switch hands every set or every workout to avoid developing asymmetries. You can also use chalk or straps to improve your grip security.
The hook grip is another technique used for deadlifting. In this grip, you wrap four fingers – your index finger to pinky – over the top of the barbell and then trap your thumb under them so that your thumb wraps around the bar under your fingers. The primary benefit of hook grip is that it is as strong (maybe stronger) than mixed grip, but without the asymmetry of mixed grip.
Who it is best for:
The Hook grip is my personal favourite. I always seem to be able to perform better using this grip for some reason.
I hope the information contained in this article was useful. Let me know if you have any suggestions or questions in the comments.
My name is Gary and I run All About The Gains.
I am a qualified PT and have been training for 17 years. I have been involved in lots of disciplines from bodybuilding to boxing, functional training to kettlebells, running, Jiu Jitsu and H.I.I.T. I am currently a member of GB top team - an M.M.A gym in south London.
I have spent the last 15 years extensively researching topics on diet and supplements, muscle building, exercise and biomechanics and I write these articles so that the normal person can understand the topic, without having to visit 10+ sites. Each article I write is researched with reference to properly conducted studies. I link to all of these studies so that you can look into it yourself if needed.