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View Full Version : Thoughts on the grip and deadlift?



Sensei
08-26-2006, 08:41 PM
I was watching a 2004 PLUSA Video magazine deadlift workout with Brian Meek (58 years old, 700+ deadlift) - here's what he had to say about grip and deadlifts:


We wear straps because we don't want our wrist or grip strength to hinder our back and strength development we get from it. ...it's my experience and my belief that very few deadlifts are missed because of grip strength because people can take out of the rack a lot more than they can ever deadlift without a grip problem. It's just that your grip is a manifestation of a weakness somewhere else... so we use straps.
Thoughts?

drew
08-26-2006, 10:41 PM
I agree. I've missed deadlifts because of "grip" when the weakness was really my lower back or hips not pulling fast enough. Once you hit that lower back fatigue, you can fight forever, and eventually the bar will slip out of your hands.

DumbellDude
08-27-2006, 12:33 AM
From my limited experience on DL, I would agree. In the begining I used straps and was progressing fast. After I stopped using straps, my grip strength increased, and now I feel like my back is the weak point. My grip will fail after several seconds of struggling to pull the weight - I've never used chalk though.

heathj
08-27-2006, 01:45 AM
kind of an oxymoron though. if grip is not a problem then it won't fail and hinder a deadlift.

markdk86
08-27-2006, 08:46 AM
If I cant hold it, I can't do it. No straps, no aids. My grip is just important as any other part of my body.

MixmasterNash
08-27-2006, 09:18 AM
Thoughts? If you can deadlift 700lbs, you can do whatever you want.

HeavyBomber
08-27-2006, 10:46 AM
I was watching a 2004 PLUSA Video magazine deadlift workout with Brian Meek (58 years old, 700+ deadlift) - here's what he had to say about grip and deadlifts:


Thoughts?


Isn't he talking about using straps while performing heavy rack pulls? I would agree with that because my rack pull is a good one hundred pounds more than my sumo off the floor.

drew
08-27-2006, 10:53 AM
I won't use straps when doing heavy rack pulls. One of the reasons I do rack pulls is to hold more weight than I will be pulling from the floor on the platform. If I can hold 600 in my hands, I can certianly hold 500.

HeavyBomber
08-27-2006, 11:06 AM
I won't use straps when doing heavy rack pulls. One of the reasons I do rack pulls is to hold more weight than I will be pulling from the floor on the platform. If I can hold 600 in my hands, I can certianly hold 500.

Yeah but look at those rack pulls I posted back in July. I pulled 725 with no straps but there is no way I could have held on to more. With the straps I did another single with 765.
So I pulled 85 pounds more without straps than my current PR dead off the floor but there's no way I could have gone more without them. So wwith your logic I would have robbed my posterior out of a 765 lift because I couldn't hold on.

WBBIRL
08-27-2006, 11:35 AM
Grip hasnt failed me yet in a single max attempt, but when going for reps my back can go longer then my grip. I can deadlift 315 pretty easy for reps, without straps however every rep above 5 is a miracle to hold on to for my hands.

If your hands are big enough, use the hook grip... mine barely are but I rarely ever use it.

drew
08-27-2006, 11:48 AM
Yeah but look at those rack pulls I posted back in July. I pulled 725 with no straps but there is no way I could have held on to more. With the straps I did another single with 765.
So I pulled 85 pounds more without straps than my current PR dead off the floor but there's no way I could have gone more without them. So wwith your logic I would have robbed my posterior out of a 765 lift because I couldn't hold on.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that at all. I think if you can pull more from pins with straps then you should absolutely do it. My point was more that if you can pull the bar from the floor, and you lose it at the top (at least in my case) it's more because of a slow pull which will eventually fatigue the entire body and the grip will fail, but it's not necessarily because the grip was the primary weakness.

Dinosaur
08-27-2006, 12:10 PM
It's important to do both IMO. For instance, the last time I maxed on deads, I first did it all raw, as that's how I like my PRs to be ("just chalk and socks", as I call it). I then tossed on a belt and straps and maxed out that way, pulling about 30+ more pounds that way. My grip certainly isn't too much of a limiting factor considering how much I work it, but I like the philosophy that once you've worked to the max of your grip, then toss on straps and see what you can do.

Sidior
08-27-2006, 12:26 PM
It's important to do both IMO. For instance, the last time I maxed on deads, I first did it all raw, as that's how I like my PRs to be ("just chalk and socks", as I call it). I then tossed on a belt and straps and maxed out that way, pulling about 30+ more pounds that way. My grip certainly isn't too much of a limiting factor considering how much I work it, but I like the philosophy that once you've worked to the max of your grip, then toss on straps and see what you can do.
:withstupi

I train until my grip gives out, then add straps. This only really happens with rack pulls though in regards to pulling for me.

Sensei
08-27-2006, 02:23 PM
My point was more that if you can pull the bar from the floor, and you lose it at the top (at least in my case) it's more because of a slow pull which will eventually fatigue the entire body and the grip will fail, but it's not necessarily because the grip was the primary weakness.
This is Brian Meek's point too. He uses straps with an overhand grip in ALL of his gym deadlifts - he didn't do rack pulls in that workout, but I would imagine it's the same there too.

bics56
08-27-2006, 02:39 PM
I dont think there is a reason not to use straps. Think of it this way...oyu can hold your grip with a heavy weight as long as you can and when the grip gives out the straps take over a bit. So it isnt like your grip doesn't get a workout...it actually gets a better w/o b/c you are using a heavier weight. So either wat starps FTW.

Sidior
08-27-2006, 02:56 PM
I dont think there is a reason not to use straps. Think of it this way...oyu can hold your grip with a heavy weight as long as you can and when the grip gives out the straps take over a bit. So it isnt like your grip doesn't get a workout...it actually gets a better w/o b/c you are using a heavier weight. So either wat starps FTW.

I don't agree for with this. I trained for over a full year always using straps and when I went to doing things strapless at first my grip was lagging way behind.

Hazerboy
08-27-2006, 03:51 PM
If powerlifters used some sort of equipment to hold on to the bar on the squat would there be this small of a protest?

I only believe in equipment if it prevents injury, i.e. pads in football, thick shoes in basketball. As of now there is some debate over whether a bench shirt or knee wraps/belts will prevent injury so on that I am undecided (though I still don't use any of them as I"m nowhere near that level). Straps, however, are purely an aid to the lift, they're there to make it easier. From this point you have to ask what the deadlift is mean to test - back strength, or the ability to pull a set amount of weight off the ground.

If you're using straps in training, however, such as for rack pulls, that is a little different. From there you simply have to assess your weakness - is it holding on to the weight at the top of the lift, or pulling the weight at the top of the lift? Train as follows. Even this becomes somewhat self defeating, however; if your weakness is locking out at the top of the lift, and NOT grip, then why do you even need straps?

WBBIRL
08-27-2006, 07:25 PM
Its a moot point.... someone with larger hands or a bigger chest has an unfair advantage. Your challengeing your muscular strength... not your genetic given advantages.

Sensei
08-28-2006, 05:43 AM
If powerlifters used some sort of equipment to hold on to the bar on the squat would there be this small of a protest?

I only believe in equipment if it prevents injury, i.e. pads in football, thick shoes in basketball. As of now there is some debate over whether a bench shirt or knee wraps/belts will prevent injury so on that I am undecided (though I still don't use any of them as I"m nowhere near that level). Straps, however, are purely an aid to the lift, they're there to make it easier. From this point you have to ask what the deadlift is mean to test - back strength, or the ability to pull a set amount of weight off the ground.

If you're using straps in training, however, such as for rack pulls, that is a little different. From there you simply have to assess your weakness - is it holding on to the weight at the top of the lift, or pulling the weight at the top of the lift? Train as follows. Even this becomes somewhat self defeating, however; if your weakness is locking out at the top of the lift, and NOT grip, then why do you even need straps?
I think you're missing the point somewhat Hazer. You only need three good lifts at a meet - in training, you do a lot more volume and grip strength is, for most people, an issue when doing reps. Just so you know, I don't necessarily agree 100%, but I think it's an interesting thought.

Brian also said that he believes using straps with an overhand grip lessens the chance of bicep and lower back injuries.

Anthony
08-28-2006, 05:50 AM
I don't own a pair of straps and never will. I don't see the point in wanting to lift something if you can't hold on. Your bigger muscles may be able to handle the load, but why promote an unbalanced system?

Sensei
08-28-2006, 05:57 AM
I guess I should have given more background. As of that 2004 interview, Brian Meek had done a 750lb deadlift in competition. He doesn't train the deadlift particularly heavy in the gym - usually pulling (in the gym) no more than 100lbs under his competition lifts. He's not pulling more than he does in competition - he's actually pulling much less.

MixmasterNash
08-28-2006, 08:14 AM
I don't own a pair of straps and never will. I don't see the point in wanting to lift something if you can't hold on. Your bigger muscles may be able to handle the load, but why promote an unbalanced system?
I can think of a very good reason to use straps to work something like deadlifts:
Your grip is toasted from some other activity.

I may be an extreme example, but if I were to go climbing immediately before or the day before deadlifting, my grip would probably be much weaker than if I were coming in fresh.

More generally, pulling grip work is isometric, and as such will lead to fatigue before the dynamic movement of pulling muscles. Deadlifting loads are closer to maximal for gripping muscles than, say, other muscles used isometrically, such as the traps or lats, and so they will fatigue first.

Anthony
08-28-2006, 08:20 AM
Maybe if you were doing high volume, but I can't see singles being much of a problem. And if they were, well, that's your max for the day. Suck it up, move on. :)

Bob
08-28-2006, 08:50 AM
Another great thought provoking thread..

Maybe if you were doing high volume, but I can't see singles being much of a problem. And if they were, well, that's your max for the day. Suck it up, move on. :)
I have always thought this way too..
But the idea that the volume is taxing to the grip.. and the comments from Brian about overhand grip and bicep injuries.. I think I might add a set or 2 of heavy DLs with straps..

My current trip from grip failure problems.. and overwork.. perhaps this is another lesson??

Ey... what are a few workouts giving it a try??

Guido
08-28-2006, 09:08 AM
You can't use straps in a meet, so why use them when training if you're training for meets?

I tax my grip a lot when doing rack pulls, shrugs, and bentover BB rows and I never use straps. I think anyone can get to a point where grip is never an issue if they train it enough (without overtraining).

drew
08-28-2006, 06:43 PM
I use straps if I'm doing shrugs well over my DL max and if I'm doing SLDLs over 400 for higher reps.

body
08-29-2006, 01:42 AM
You can't use straps in a meet, so why use them when training if you're training for meets?

).

you can't use bands and chains in powerlifting comps either.
But people use them in trianing.

Guido
08-29-2006, 07:38 AM
you can't use bands and chains in powerlifting comps either.
But people use them in trianing.There's a big difference. Bands and chains are added to the BAR, not to YOU! Using bands and chains will also help you move more weight when not using them, not so with straps.

WillKuenzel
08-29-2006, 09:12 AM
Using bands and chains will also help you move more weight when not using them, not so with straps.
I disagree. If you need them, use them. If not, then don't. Its really that simple but I think like everything else, that if used properly, there's no reason why you can't get something out of them. I use straps on a consistent basis and its never hampered my strength. Take it with a grain of salt but I'm a fan of straps.

Guido
08-29-2006, 10:45 AM
Using straps is okay SOMETIMES, obviously, but not ALL the time. That's what I believe and that's not going to change. Of course, I've never used straps and grip has never been a problem for me.

Dinosaur
08-29-2006, 10:48 AM
For those of you saying grip doesn't matter, it certainly does. A weak grip will make you miss a relatively easy lift for your back. This is why axle deadlifts in strongman competitions are popular. The current record for a double overhand deadlift on a 2" axle is only about 405 pounds. Sounds pretty light for your back, but on your grip it's brutal.

http://www.brutestrength.com/forum/index.php?act=Attach&type=post&id=162

Sensei
08-29-2006, 11:45 AM
For those of you saying grip doesn't matter, it certainly does. A weak grip will make you miss a relatively easy lift for your back. This is why axle deadlifts in strongman competitions are popular. The current record for a double overhand deadlift on a 2" axle is only about 405 pounds. Sounds pretty light for your back, but on your grip it's brutal.

http://www.brutestrength.com/forum/index.php?act=Attach&type=post&id=162
No one's saying that grip isn't important - if it's a weak link then you certainly need to address it. But, the question is (in most max DL attempts) whether grip is the weak link when people drop a max DL or if losing your grip during a DL is just a symptom of a weakness somewhere else... I think it's worth some thought.

ElPietro
08-29-2006, 01:08 PM
You can't use straps in a meet, so why use them when training if you're training for meets?



Do you have a "noticeable pause" before each press you make on bench in the gym?

Guido
08-29-2006, 01:10 PM
Do you have a "noticeable pause" before each press you make on bench in the gym?Yes. Because I always train as if it were meet conditions. I also have my partner call "press" and "rack" commands.

ElPietro
08-29-2006, 09:27 PM
So you said:

"You can't use straps in a meet, so why use them when training if you're training for meets?"

So by that logic, you should only be training as if it were a meet. If not, then I assume you are doing something that may help improve your performance at a meet, despite it not being legit AT a meet. Yet you have issue with someone using something not legit at a meet that aids in targeting an area of the body to help improve his lift for a meet.

:rolleyes:

Guido
08-30-2006, 07:44 AM
So you said:

"You can't use straps in a meet, so why use them when training if you're training for meets?"

So by that logic, you should only be training as if it were a meet. If not, then I assume you are doing something that may help improve your performance at a meet, despite it not being legit AT a meet. Yet you have issue with someone using something not legit at a meet that aids in targeting an area of the body to help improve his lift for a meet.
:rolleyes:What? I think we're all getting off track here.

Westsidemonster
09-17-2006, 04:35 AM
In my opinion, that older guy that can deadlift more than 700lbs has a very strong grip already! Probably because of years of intense training, but to begginer powerlifters, I would recomend just using chalk, lots of chalk, that will strengthen your grip, there's nothing sadder than seeing how you failed a deadlift because you lost your grip!

chris mason
09-17-2006, 08:38 AM
I can see both points.

I am ok with using straps to allow for an overload of the involved muscles in order to strengthen them. You still need to train without them to make sure your grip is not the limiting factor in competition.

Anthony, if you think about it you might translate your point to suggesting that someone only squat what they can hold in their hands as opposed to resting the bar on the back which obviously allows for heavier loads. In a way straps are the same concept.

Patz
09-20-2006, 09:22 PM
Maybe our grip is there to tell us when to end the sets, so we don't overdo it and **** something up in our back?

Maybe it's akin to masking pain with cortizone...?