Diet & Weight Magazine

Powerlifting 101: Proper Deadlift Grip

By Keithpayne

Powerlifting 101: 
Grip is a seminal factor when it comes to how much you can Deadlift. Simply put, you cannot Deadlift what you can’t hold. We all have seen a lifter pull a big weight only to watch him drop it two inches before lock out. DON’T BE THAT LIFTER!     
   Powerlifting 101:  Proper Deadlift Grip
                Figure A  Bar is too far toward the middle of the hand.     Powerlifting 101:  Proper Deadlift Grip                         Figure B  Bar is more toward the fingers.
So, how do you grip the bar? A good grip begins with the correct placement of the bar in the hand. If the bar is held toward the middle of the hand (figure A) it will move down the hand when the weight gets heavy during the deadlift. When this happens you are likely to lose your grip more often than not. This phenomenon also causes the skin to fold which in turn causes calluses to form. It is far better to place the bar in your hands near to the fingers (figure B). All your fingers and both thumbs should be wrapped around the bar. The bar should be gripped very hard. This will actually enhance your strength according to Sir Charles Sherrington’s “Law of Irradiation”. This principle states that a muscle working hard recruits the neighboring muscle, and if they are already part of the action, it amplifies their strength.
During the Deadlift the bar tends to roll if your grip is not strong. For this reason the mixed (sometimes called alternated) grip is preferred by most competitive powerlifters. When using the mixed grip the palm of your dominate hand should be facing up with the other hand facing down. Therefore, if the bar begins to roll out of one hand it will in effect be rolling into the other hand. This usually allows the lifter to hold the bar longer.
Since this article is directed toward the novice competitive powerlifter I do not recommend an overhand grip or hook grip unless you have Olympic lifting experience. Usually beginner powerlifters do not possess the grip strength or skill to utilize these techniques.
Needless to say (but I will anyway) none of this matters if you don’t have a strong grip. We will talk about how to train your grip in the next article.
Keith Payne CPT, YFS
Functional Strength Systems
Powerlifting 101 articles are focused on primary fundamentals of powerlifting and are designed to help novice lifters. For more Powerlifting 101 articles visit
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