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Thread: Alternate grip deadlifting safe or unsafe?

  1. #1
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    Alternate grip deadlifting safe or unsafe?

    I just read Geno thread on elitefitness that he tore his bicep tendon while doing alternate grip deadlifting. A member on their said that Alternate grip deadlifting was very dangerous and that injuries like this are common when doing this. He suggest to use a hooked grip instead.

    Is it really as dangerous as he makes it sound?

    How the heck would you hold bigtime weight using a hooked grip without straps. I can't imagine doing 500,600 or 700lbs with a hooked grip with no straps. Right now I use A alternate grip with chalk only.

  2. #2
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    IMO the injury was probably just a freak accident. The alternate grip is the way to go. As far as I'm concerned the alternate grip is safe, and the only way to go.

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    Ya, I agree with Clark. The grip most likely had nothing to do with the injury. Alternate grip is definitely the best for deadlifts and I personally cannot see the danger in doing them this way.

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    Moderator Adam's Avatar
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    Usually when someone tears there bicep deadlifting it is the under hand. Generaly under/over is a safe grip but injuries can happen.
    with hook grip both hands are over so it is a bit easier on your biceps.
    Nate most people say that when the weight gets heavier using hook grip that your hands stay closed better, i only used hook a few times so i cant really say from my experiance.
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    Alternate grip puts an uneven stress on the back. Powerlifters know this, or should. Why do you think back injuries are the third most common injury among weightlifters (after shoulders and hands)? Alternate grip also puts different stresses on the biceps, hence the bicep tear. Other people have torn a biceps by doing alternate grip, it's not just a freak accident as some people suggest. Obviously some peoples' bodies are much more robust than others. Thus they do not get hurt easily. They may be able to get away with using an alternate grip. Fine. No problem there.
    The problem comes when these people recommend the alternate grip to someone, who's frame may not be able to withstand the uneven stress. I would never recommend a grip that's been known to prove injury, unless it was a freak accident. Tearing the biceps while using the alternate grip, is not an accident of this type. Several people, including professional bodybuilders have done this.

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    Senior Member Accipiter's Avatar
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    I've always used mixed grip, and never had any problems, I absolutely could not keep a grip on the weights I'm getting up to with a hooked grip

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    bump I like to hear a response to the post that extremea posted.

  8. #8
    Just call me Chris chrislehr's Avatar
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    Can someone describe these grips?

    Standard grip for deads is supinated (Palms facing you)
    Alternate is palms away? Hooked grip? Mixed grip? Someone give a little more of an idea to me?

  9. #9
    Gaglione Strength Chris Rodgers's Avatar
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    I agree with what Adam posted.

    Will everyone who uses a hook grip pull or tear a bicep?? No

    There have been times though that competitors have sustained an injury just like Geno's with the arm that had the underhand grip.


    IMO the hook grip hurts like hell and takes away from my lift. I'd say that a very small % of competitive powerlifters actually use the hook grip for their deads.

    I'd say experiment with it and if you like it, use it. Otherwise just understand that there is a possibility to get hurt from using a mixed grip. Just like there is a possibility to be hurt from doing curls, leg presses, squats, lateral raises, situps, etc. Use good form.


    Another thing that could cause a bicep injury is having your arms loose before you deadlift. Make sure when you grip the bar, you tighten up before pulling it. Usually the bar will move a tiny bit before the weights resist. It may only be a fraction of an inch, but that is enough to cause a lot of extra strain if you don't eliminate that. All you have to do is grab the bar tight with arms straight and make sure you have it pulled up tight to the plates to eliminate that fraction of an inch.
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    Administrator chris mason's Avatar
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    If you train with good technique, and do not have a pre-existing problem, a mixed grip will be of no detriment (in my opinion). To say it is dangerous is to be stretching, a lot, in my book.

  11. #11
    Trying to figure this out JohnCollins's Avatar
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    I'm not experienced enough to have my own opinion, but I read somewhere that the non-mixed grip--both palms facing your body--is better for form because in the mixed grip the arm that has the palm facing away will try to get that bicep involved. Kind of fits with the poster who suggested it makes for uneven strain as well.

    I've never read anywhere it's dangerous, though. The article's only point was form was better and results would be better because of it if you don't use mixed grip.

    JC

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    If you check out elitefts.com..

    In the deadlift section of "Ask Dave", someone asked similar questions and they replied that the bicep tear is usually due to the sudden jerk at the beginning of the deadlift. Hence, they recommended that the start of the lift should be slow, but accelerates as you are going up. In short, don't jerk the weights off the ground.

    Moreover, one of them replied that the alternating grip put a slight uneven stress on the spine (not the arms), and so he would traing using overhand grip and straps. He also said that he would use alternating grip only at meets.

    HK

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    Re: If you check out elitefts.com..

    Originally posted by HK
    In the deadlift section of "Ask Dave", someone asked similar questions and they replied that the bicep tear is usually due to the sudden jerk at the beginning of the deadlift. Hence, they recommended that the start of the lift should be slow, but accelerates as you are going up. In short, don't jerk the weights off the ground.

    Moreover, one of them replied that the alternating grip put a slight uneven stress on the spine (not the arms), and so he would traing using overhand grip and straps. He also said that he would use alternating grip only at meets.

    HK
    Dave Recommends Using Straps??!

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    It isn't Dave, but one of them.

    You can go check it out yourself.
    It is in the deadlift section, I believe in a couple of threads in March, 2002.

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    Use good form and you won't hurt a damn thing.
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    Never heard of anybody getting a hand injury from weightlifting, much less hand injuries being the 2nd most common type.

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    Administrator chris mason's Avatar
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    One more thing. The people tearing their biceps while deadlifting are all taking steroids (or nearly all). I think you would be hard pressed to find natural trainees tearing their biceps while deadlifting, and those individuals obviously have a genetic predisposition to muscle tears. Think of it this way, quite a few professional bodybuilders have torn their pecs while benching, but people don't think the bench is dangerous. The one's who do tear their pecs are all big time steroid users, not natural trainees.

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    Chris, I am the guy who tore his bicep tendon. I am a 45 year
    old lifter with a low test level. I am on low dose testosterone
    as given to me by my doctor. Could this be the cause of my
    tear - maybe. However, a friend of mine who is not using test
    or any type of anabolic, tore his pec off. Injuries are part of
    the sport with or without test/steriods.

    By the way, my injury was caused by two factors - large diameter
    bar and grippers. The gym had no DL bars and no chalk. I
    normally pull more in my fingers. The large bar and grippers
    put the bar more in my palm. This caused my bicep to fire and
    with the kind of weight I pull, this meant injury.

  19. #19
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    Hand injuries are caused by: pinching fingers between dumbbells, lifting with poor form, bench pressing on a bench where the rests are close together and not watching where your hands are, among other things. Among people who lift weight regularly, hand injuries are the second most common injury. This includes wrist and fingers injuries as well. This information is three years old though, so it could be out of date. Mr. Mason, I did not say that the alternate grip WAS dangerous, I said it could be dangerous, in that a less robust frame, MAY not be able to withstand the stress it puts on the back. Accepitor, as I mentioned, some people may be able to get away with using a alternate grip. "no problem there" Finally something to think about. Mr. Latman should be the authority on this, since he is a powerlifter, and judging from some pictures I have seen, his lifts are NOT "Internet lifts" and quite respectable. I think (not quite sure) that he said he only uses the alternate grip at meets.
    If this grip was not dangerous in the slightest, then why only at meets? Why not train this grip often, to get stronger at it?

  20. #20
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    At lower weights, the alternate hand grip is safe. At higher
    weights, be very careful. If the equipment does not feel right
    or if your grip does not feel right, do not take a chance.

    Given the lighter weights I see most folks pulling, I would say
    that the under hand grip is fine.

    The hook grip, both hands turned under, is probably safer at
    higher weights. The hook grip, with heavy weight, would involve
    the thumb pinch. This is very painful during the adjustment
    phase. The weight is basically smashing the thumb. Brad
    Gillingham employs this grip, I think. He has pulled 840.

    I will be experimenting with this grip when I get well.

  21. #21
    Gaglione Strength Chris Rodgers's Avatar
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    Extreme- I appreciate the kind words. I do, however, use the mixed grip in all of my deadlift training except for the first few warmup sets. Like I said though and even Dave Tate makes the point, is that you shouldn't really jerk the bar at the beginning of the pull. You have to be tight and pull it up forcefully. Speed is important, but the amount of stress you will add if you jerk the bar without your arms being fully extended and tight can definitely do some damage.


    Chris- that is a very good point about the bench press and pec tears. I hear a lot more about those than I do torn biceps from deadlifting, yet you don't see a thread worrying about tearing a pec. Usually if someone isn't doing BB benches it is because of rotator discomfort.
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  22. #22
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    Re: If you check out elitefts.com..

    Originally posted by HK
    In the deadlift section of "Ask Dave", someone asked similar questions and they replied that the bicep tear is usually due to the sudden jerk at the beginning of the deadlift. Hence, they recommended that the start of the lift should be slow, but accelerates as you are going up. In short, don't jerk the weights off the ground.

    Moreover, one of them replied that the alternating grip put a slight uneven stress on the spine (not the arms), and so he would traing using overhand grip and straps. He also said that he would use alternating grip only at meets.

    HK
    Another reason why I like to do top-down deadlifts...

    Chris made a good point... the majority of muscle tears happen to people on juice (that is not to say naturals don't experience these type of injurys, just not as likely).

  23. #23
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    Oops! Sorry about that Mr. Latman. I guess I didn't read your post carefully. My apologies for misrepresenting your training.

  24. #24
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    I have been doing beaucoup research on ruptured tendons the
    past few days for obvious reasons. I have found that this is a
    very common injury. My doctor blew his left bicep tendon off at
    the elbow while doing a hard pole plant in big moguls, a 60
    year old electrician stumbled and caught himself with an
    outstretched arm causing his bicep tendon to blow at the elbow,
    etc. Tendons are not very elastic and given enough stress, will
    rupture. This is a common injury in older folks.

    I was able to pull 495 totally natural. By the way, I can go to
    any USAPL meet and pass the drug test and I am on test. I
    blew my tendon at 495. My maximum DL is in the middle 600s.
    The point is that I got the injury at a weight that I could pull
    in college without the aid of steriods or test therapy. I am 45
    years old and older lifters are more prone to this type of injury.
    It also happens to young people, even with their stronger and
    more flexible tendons. Also, do not think that because you are
    natural, you are immune to this type of injury.

    Hope this helps you guys in journey to greater strength and
    fitness.

    Geno

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