T Nation

Deadlift Questions

I’ve started doing deadlifts a couple months ago and haven’t had any problems. But now I am experiencing a problem.

The problem isn’t in the legs or form, its in my grasp strength. I’m only doing 225# deadlifts but I can only complete 3-4 reps at a time not because my legs start to fatigue, but rather my grasp starts to fail on my right (strangely enough as I’m stronger on my right than left).

I’m also doing the deadlift first so as to minimize my grasp fatigue from other exercises. It’s the only exercise I perform where I have this problem (I’m 200# and can do 4x8 pull-ups without wrists giving out).

What’s the best way to overcome this deficit? I feel like I’m only getting a 1/2 decent workout on my legs on deadlift day because of this. I don’t want to use wraps or anything that going to cheat my overall development.

One other question, what is the best set/rep ratio for deadlifting? My goal is functional strength and I tend to use 5x5 for a lot of my routine, but I’m not sure if this is best for deadlifting.

I recommend getting a Captains of Crush gripper from the EliteFTS website, start with the #1 gripper.

Also, when deadlifting, use a weight that really challenges the grip, and just hang on as long as you can. Doing rack pulls with even heavier weight challenges the grip even further.

Doing pullups helps a lot as well, because that exercise really can only go on as long as your grip holds out. Grap some heavy-ass dumbbells and walk around the gym with them until the grip fails as your final bit of training daily and this will make some real improvement.

Hope this all helps you out. I did this when my grip really sucked, and I can now pull well over 400 lbs. several times with no worries about my grip. Don’t use the inverted grip on your deadlifts, just the standard “double overhand” and over time your grip will become a strongpoint for you.

What kind of grip are you using? Overhand or alternating? I remember having a similar problem as well with around the same amount of weight, until I began using an alternating grip instead of an overhand grip.

Go to some lower reps with a little heavier weight on occasion. Like pull 250 or 275 for singles instead of 225 for triples or quads.

I usually use double overhand or hook grip during workouts and save my mixed grip for competition pulling.

Get the heaviest dumbells (or as heavy as you can handle) and start doing farmer walks and timed holds.

Heavy rack lock outs and bar bell hold Hang onto a load Higher then your DL for time.


Thanks for the advice. I’ve been using overhand grip exclusively and normally try to lock in by grasping the bar on the palm of my hand with my wrist in a flexed position. I then squeeze tight and rotate my wrists back to neutral. I’m unfamiliar with the grippers, do they still force just as much work out of the arms or do mainly help prevent slipping/increase friction?

Are you using Chalk??

Helps a TON


[quote]Phill wrote:
Heavy rack lock outs and bar bell hold Hang onto a load Higher then your DL for time.

Are you using Chalk??

Helps a TON



I agree with both of these.

The difference of using and not using chalk is night and day. I just use it on heavier sets when I deadlift. This is also dependent on how I’m feeling. If the grip is fine then I don’t sweat it.

I’ve have also had good experience with doing rack pulls exclusively for a couple of weeks and then going back to full deads.

Hope this helps.


Doing some thick bar work will help heaps also. If you don’t have access to one, use two pairs of Lynx Grips.