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Thread: Dead Lift Forearms

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    Dead Lift Forearms

    Okay, my forearms are completely not catching up to my deadlift weight. I can barely keep grip on the bar for more than 3 reps before I have to set it down and regrip to continue a set. Anyone have in mind some surefire ways to increase forearm strength for this lift especially?...

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    What type of grip are you using? I know on my deadlifts if I just use a standard grip with both my palms facing me I can barely hold the bar for 3-4 reps either. Once I changed over to reverse grip it made it alot better and I was also able to pull a little bit more weight.

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    I do three sets, one with both palms facing me, one with and over/under grip, then the last with an under/over grip. I figured it would be better to use all three. People have told me that my grip will just "catch up" eventually, and that isn't the case as I have now hit 280lbs. at 10 reps. I could easily go up in weight even now, but not without setting the bar down to regrip even more often...

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    Senior Member synonymous's Avatar
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    What about using straps. I've always thought that the whole point of deadlifting was to hit your (to get a little technical):

    Gluteus Maximus
    Adductor Magnus
    Quadriceps
    Soleus

    ...first, and not really your forearms. Therefore, using straps would make more sense. If you want to wait for your forearms to catch up, then you'll just have to keep at it and possibly do more to increase your forearm strength (Hammer curls maybe). Personally, when deadlifting, I was using straps when it got to the point I couldn't hold onto the weight otherwise. When my forearms caught up to X weight, my gluts and what not were at Y weight and so I was using straps again (still).

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    Quote Originally Posted by synonymous View Post
    What about using straps. I've always thought that the whole point of deadlifting was to hit your (to get a little technical):

    Gluteus Maximus
    Adductor Magnus
    Quadriceps
    Soleus

    ...first, and not really your forearms.
    That kind of depends on personal training goals. Forearm development and grip strength are a MAJOR part of why some people use deadlifting. Ultimately, it is a full body compound lift; thinking of it otherwise seems counter productive IMHO.

    As for the original poster, I will answer your question directly and then offer some additional advice.
    Quote Originally Posted by Codeguru View Post
    ... some surefire ways to increase forearm strength for this lift especially?...
    1. Use a hook grip. I started using hook grip after I hit a little over 300# and have not looked back. I put off switching over for a long time, partially because I didn't think it would really work as well as I'd heard. When I finally made the switch, I was floored - I made a huge PR the first time I used, from a wt I'd been stuck at for awhile. I'd recommend using a hook grip to anyone.
    2. Static holds. Spend some time just trying to hold a loaded barbell at the top of the lift; you can even overload the bar on a rack and just lift it from an elevated position so you're focusing on grip and not the rest of the lift.
    3. Deadlift. If your grip is taxed after a few reps at your max... keep deadlifting and your grip will probably catch up eventually.

    ... Beyond that, it may be time to start looking at your routine... after you hit a certain weight, something like 3 sets of 10 reps (which is what it sounds like you're doing) may be too much for your grip to recover from between training sessions - your grip and the rest of you for that matter. Many intermediate programs don't have that much deadlift volume; it may be time to switch to something else...

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    Powerlifter Bruiser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NITF View Post
    That kind of depends on personal training goals. Forearm development and grip strength are a MAJOR part of why some people use deadlifting. Ultimately, it is a full body compound lift; thinking of it otherwise seems counter productive IMHO.

    As for the original poster, I will answer your question directly and then offer some additional advice.

    1. Use a hook grip. I started using hook grip after I hit a little over 300# and have not looked back. I put off switching over for a long time, partially because I didn't think it would really work as well as I'd heard. When I finally made the switch, I was floored - I made a huge PR the first time I used, from a wt I'd been stuck at for awhile. I'd recommend using a hook grip to anyone.
    2. Static holds. Spend some time just trying to hold a loaded barbell at the top of the lift; you can even overload the bar on a rack and just lift it from an elevated position so you're focusing on grip and not the rest of the lift.
    3. Deadlift. If your grip is taxed after a few reps at your max... keep deadlifting and your grip will probably catch up eventually.

    ... Beyond that, it may be time to start looking at your routine... after you hit a certain weight, something like 3 sets of 10 reps (which is what it sounds like you're doing) may be too much for your grip to recover from between training sessions - your grip and the rest of you for that matter. Many intermediate programs don't have that much deadlift volume; it may be time to switch to something else...
    All GREAT advice! When I'm at a point in my training to do heavy rack pulls I always hold each rep at the top ALAP. Has helped a lot.

    To the OP: here's a few other good grip training ideas for you.
    1. Captains of Crush or Heavy Grips
    2. Plate pinches
    3. Grenade ball work
    4. Hang from a chin up bar
    5. Farmers walk
    6. Rolling Thunder
    7. Fat Gripz, fat bar

    And remember, training forearms is not the same as training your grip. If you want to see some inventive ways to really hit your grip hard, look up arm wrestling training. I've been doing it for a while and my deadlift grip has improved a ton!
    Last edited by Bruiser; 09-06-2012 at 06:10 AM.
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    Conqueror of Iron jed2009's Avatar
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    Static holds is a good way to increase the strength.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruiser View Post
    All GREAT advice! When I'm at a point in my training to do heavy rack pulls I always hold each rep at the top ALAP. Has helped a lot.

    To the OP: here's a few other good grip training ideas for you.
    1. Captains of Crush or Heavy Grips
    2. Plate pinches
    3. Grenade ball work
    4. Hang from a chin up bar
    5. Farmers walk
    6. Rolling Thunder
    7. Fat Gripz, fat bar

    And remember, training forearms is not the same as training your grip. If you want to see some inventive ways to really hit your grip hard, look up arm wrestling training. I've been doing it for a while and my deadlift grip has improved a ton!
    Some good advice from you as well ... especially the point about training forearms ≠ training grip. I would have to caution that some of the more "exotic" methods, however, do not always offer the best carry-over to the deadlift. This includes things like grip trainers and plate pinches, in my opinion; these methods do offer some crossover, and more so for some people than others - but they are suboptimal at training grip for deadlift.

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    Senior Member RichMcGuire's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Codeguru View Post
    Okay, my forearms are completely not catching up to my deadlift weight. I can barely keep grip on the bar for more than 3 reps before I have to set it down and regrip to continue a set. Anyone have in mind some surefire ways to increase forearm strength for this lift especially?...
    Do you use chalk?
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    ~ For me ~ I've been struggling with the same thing ~ I would steer clear of the straps ~ because you want the arm development also.

    Here is a suggestion that 'I think' is working for me. When I'm working bicep curls, I continue to hold the dumbells between sets. Biceps are recovering, but the grip is being trained the entire time..... After 4 minutes it begins to get interesting....
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    I'm waiting on the chalk question.


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    No, I don't use chalk. I do use gloves though as the deadlift itself destroys my palms, pinches them horribly. I guess I could build a callus up, but that's not really something I'd want to do. I do the same thing for one arm rows. I don't think the gloves are the problem though as even without the problem persisted. The only difference is my hand not getting pinched...

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    Senior Member RichMcGuire's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Codeguru View Post
    No, I don't use chalk. I do use gloves though as the deadlift itself destroys my palms, pinches them horribly. I guess I could build a callus up, but that's not really something I'd want to do. I do the same thing for one arm rows. I don't think the gloves are the problem though as even without the problem persisted. The only difference is my hand not getting pinched...
    Gloves dont really help the lift much or your forearm strength. If anything, they add a thickness to holding the bar which can make it harder (depending on the glove). And the glove is the problem and so is the lack of chalk. My suggestion is to burn your gloves and buy some cheap chalk and man up. You will have a much easier time holding on to that bar, plain and simple.
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    Conqueror of Iron jed2009's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Codeguru View Post
    I guess I could build a callus up, but that's not really something I'd want to do.
    Why not? Do you want to continue to lift weights for a long time? You have to get tough sometimes and build/rip those calluses up so you can deadlift/clean the rest of your life with tough hands. Use chalk and ditch the gloves as well, mate. Maybe not what you want to hear but it will help in the long run.
    Last edited by jed2009; 09-10-2012 at 09:29 PM.
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    The only grip training I have ever done is Deadlifting itself. I have never lost a lift because of my grip (including 315x17 reps and 405x10 reps, etc.). I have a pretty strong grip, but nothing crazy. I feel it all depends on how you are grabbing the bar (technique). Here is my two cents:

    1) lose the gloves
    2) use chalk or a chalk-substitute
    3) use a mixed grip
    4) make sure the bar is deep in your hands (not in your fingers). To achieve this, try flexing your wrists very slightly forward when you grip the bar(like 5-10 degrees). They should never be bent back at all; this will just make the bar sit on the fingers...which are not very strong.
    5) squeeze with your lower fingers and hands, not the fingertips (as if you were asked to squeeze without bending your fingertips - just an exercise).

    Hope that helps.
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    Towel hangs

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    Thanks for the suggestions. I'll admit, with mixed grip and the other gripping ideas, I can make it to about 7 reps on my first set without setting the bar down, out of 10 reps. That's a lot better than I have been doing. I'll just attack this head on and take care of it for good. I could definitely use a little strength training for my grip regardless, so I'll try out some of those exercises. Do people use a chalk bag like a pitcher or is there another more preferred method?...

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    Blocks of chalk work well but nearly any chalk is fine. Also, building up calloused hands is not necessary. People should be filing them down like with a pumice stone. Ripping callouses is a bad thing, not a cool thing. Filing them down keeps your hands tough and prevents unnecessary tearing.
    Last edited by Xellarz; 09-19-2012 at 07:13 PM.

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    Good call Xellarz. Ripping a callous because "you're manning up" is totally unnecessary. I'd try chalk and maybe even the hook grip although you can mess up your thumbs good with a the hook grip.
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    Grammar Nazi BG5150's Avatar
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    My question is why are you doing sets of 10?
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