Friday morning I was doing deadlifts and I was really struggling with my grip. I never realized how weak my grip was until now, so I decided to do a little research over the weekend for some self-help advice. Turns out, I didn’t have to do any research because the perfect article came to me in my RSS reader.
7 Ways to Build Massive Grip Strength for Deadlifts
There are some awesome tips here. Some key take-aways I got from it are:
- Grip the bar as hard as you can (white knuckling)
- Use mixed-grip (one hand facing in, one facing out) only on heavy working sets
- Hold the weight for 5-10 seconds after finishing reps
- Using straps all the time will leave your grip weak
I never thought about holding the weight at the top of the deadlift to build more grip strength, but it makes a lot of sense. I also use mixed-grip and/or straps for almost all deadlift sets, no matter how light the weight is, so I’ll be stopping that right away.
Deadlifts have always been one of my weaknesses so I think it’s finally time I start working on it.
Different Deadlift Positions
Kyran of fitnesssecret.com also reached out to me with some tips that I wanted to share.
When deadlifting there are a couple of different positions where your hands can be placed on the bar.
First, the regular deadlift position with your hands just outside of your knees.
Second, the sumo deadlift position. In this setup, your feet are a little wider and you grip the bar inside of your knees with your hands about a foot apart. The mixed-grip works well to increase grip strength.
Third, the snatch grip deadlift position. This requires your hands to be a lot wider and you should usually aim to have your index fingers on the guide rings of the barbell.
Some of these deadlift variations are easier to grip the bar and require less grip strength. Depending on which variation you are working on, you may need to put more or less attention on building your grip strength.
I’ve heard of weighted vests and ankle/wrist weights, but I’ve never seen weighted calf/forearm weights, called BodyTogs, like the ones in the picture. I’m a big fan of all weighted clothing items, although I don’t currently own any anymore. I used to have two sets of ankle weights, both of which are now in bodybuilding heaven and I’ve never owned a weighted vest, but I want one really bad. 😉
Weighted clothing is great because you can go out and live your normal day, but you’ll be carrying this extra weight and getting a constant workout. You’ll burn extra calories and gain strength. When you take those weights off, you won’t believe how much lighter and faster you feel.
The coolest thing about BodyTogs is that they are much slimmer than bulky ankle weights and the weight is distributed much more evenly along the legs or arms, which I’m sure is much more comfortable to the wearer as well.
According to the manufacturers, wearing these for 10 hours a day is equivalent to about a 2 mile run. That’s not half bad! The weights are also rust-proof and hand-washable, so don’t worry about sweating with these on either. Personally, I’d like to get a set of these just to workout with.
I’m sure someone else has had this problem before so I wanted write a post about it and see if anyone can provide some input. When I do standing calf raises (like the lady in the picture) with dumbbells in both hands, maybe 15-20 lbs each, my lower back really starts to hurt. Sometimes to the point of me having to hurry and put the dumbbells down before falling to the ground. Has this ever happened to you?
I can do any other exercise with no problems whatsoever, from upright rows to a variety of curls, all of which are in the same particular stance. I suppose it’s because with the calf raises the weight never moves and strains my back, but it’s something that really bothers me.
I’m guessing I have a few options; I need to start working out my lower back more often, I could start doing curls while doing calf raises to keep the weight moving, I could use a barbell instead or I could start going back to the gym and using a calf machine. I really don’t want to go back to the gym though, so I guess I’ll have to pick from the other three.
I’ve tried positioning the weight on both the front and back part of my legs and that doesn’t help either. Does anyone know if the workout loses function if I’m holding the weight up near my chest? Do I have any other options?