The deadlift is one of the fundamental exercises that anyone looking to build muscle and increase strength has to do.
It’s essential to almost every fitness program out there, as it’s a compound movement that engages several muscle groups and helps our bodies generate more power.
Having said that, anyone who has more experience in the gym knows that there are several variations of the deadlift – traditional, sumo, Romanian, etc and all of them have their own particular mechanics and techniques.
However, besides that, there are also several grips that you can use to make the movement more comfortable and to help you feel more secure as you try to lift the barbell off the ground.
And in this article, we’re going to turn our attention to them.
In the next paragraphs, we will discuss all the different kinds of deadlift grips, as well as share our opinion on which ones are the best that you can learn. So, if that sounds like your cup of tea, then keep on reading.
What are the Best Deadlift Grips
There’s a grand total of five deadlift grips that are most often used by lifters, and the differences between them can feel big, especially when you start adding more weight. Let’s quickly go over each one.
This is the most commonly used grip and the one you will see often in gyms. It’s extremely easy to learn and kind of straightforward, which is why it’s preferred by many beginners.
However, with that said, it’s considered to be a weaker grip if you’re trying to increase the overall lifting load, as it requires a lot of strength in the forearm and the hands.
Typically, it’s recommended for sessions when you go for more repetitions and you have less weight on the barbell.
The hook grip offers a slight modification to the overhand one. Typically, with the overhand grip, you often fail because the barbell rolls between the fingers as they get tired.
When this happens, the pinky and the ring finger start to become loose, eventually leading to the grip falling completely apart.
This is where the hook grip comes to help, as it requires you to put your thumb under your fingers so that the hand is secure around the barbell.
Basically, it’s the same as the overhead, but instead of putting the thumb around the barbell, you put it underneath the fingers to create a stronger grip.
For most lifters, this one feels like the natural progression from the overhand. It usually happens once the standard grip starts falling apart, and you need a quick way to hold onto the barbell instead of letting it hit the ground.
Its basic function is to prevent the barbell from rolling in your hand or from feeling loose as you go about the movement. In order to do this grip, you have to place your dominant hand in an overhand grip, and your other one should go under the barbell and wrap around with the palm facing the ceiling.
By doing so, you’re essentially gripping the barbell from below, thus minimizing the chances of the barbell going down or your grip failing.
This is perhaps the preferred grip by a lot of intermediate lifters, who feel like they can lift more but are unable to due to a lack of strength in the hands and forearms.
As you likely know, the snatch is a different movement altogether and one that has its own unique grip. When it comes to deadlifting, this more specialized grip is used as it gives valuable benefits to upper back strength.
To do the snatch grip, you have to place your hands much wider on the barbell, and how wide generally depends on the length of your arms, but the general consensus is that the bar should rest in the crease of your hips, when you’re standing tall and with arms fully extended.
Your hands should be in an overhand grip, but due to the fact that your hands are so far apart, you will be required to use the strength of your back more than the strength of your hands and forearms, which makes it a better option for experienced lifters who have already developed pretty strong posterior muscles.
This grip is mainly used out of pure necessity due to the fact that axle bars are typically much thicker than standard ones and are usually used by strongmen, mainly as a way to build strength in the hands and forearms.
There’s not a lot of difference between the standard overhand grip and the axle one; you basically try to place your hand around the barbell, but here, you will find it a lot more difficult to wrap the hand fully around, and you will have to squeeze through the fingers and pinch the barbell as much as you can.
As you can see, all grip variations have their purpose, which is why it’s good to know them all. With that said, the two very best ones for increasing the amount of weight you can lift are the hook grip and the mixed one.
They’re the ones that provide you with maximum grip strength and don’t require as much from your hands and forearms, so your overall load depends less on the strength you have in those areas.