Deadlift Straps

I’m at a bit of am impass here…

My deadlift has increased steadily since I brought it into my training a few months back.

But my wrists are killing me. My grip is tired all week afterwards, and I’m getting a bit of aching as well.

I’m concerned about bringing in the straps because I feel like I’ll be building an imbalance between my back/legs and my grip.

But, OTOH, if I brought in the straps I could deadlift about a third more than I’m doing, and my wrists probably wouldn’t ache all week.

I’ve read that you can train grip, but my grip is so annihilated from the deadlifting that I feel like I need the full week to recover. I’d trained forearms with wrist-curls for almost a year prior to starting deadlifts, and it still wasn’t enough to prevent problems in that area.


My forearms kill too. I just continue to do what needs to be done to make them grow. If you can lift the weight and the grip isn’t giving way, then do the lift. Use the strap (if you must) only when your grip can no longer hold the bar, otherwise your forearms will never grow…

deadlifting is the most demanding exercise and if you plan on doing it every week for a certain period of time your going to have to back off too many additional exercises

deadlifting for an advanced lifter can not be done all the time and certainly not heavy all the time however there are a range of exercises that increase the deadlift

front squats (ass to grass)
back squats ass to grass
good mornings
romanian deadlifts
glute ham raise

as far as grip goes, there are a number of exercises that help your grip but you cannot do these if the volume is too much with heavy or even moderate deadlifting:

thick bar work with rows, curls, light deads, snatches, cleans

hercules hold: use two pulleys to hold as much weight as you can for specified time intervals

farmers walk: the strongman event…you can use dumbells or whatever you can find

grippers arent a bad idea, however they won’t have as much carryover as the above exercises for holding grip strength…the captains of crush are the best grippers to get

it’s ok to use straps occasionally, it’s even ok to work partial deadlifting movements but the best advice anyone can give you is to work on your weakness…

if your slow off the floor you need to do more dynamic work, if you get stuck towards the top you need more strength work and things like front squats or good mornings may be good for you but you need to narrow down your focus…you can’t train for too many things at once…pick one or two weaknesses and work on them

I use the old saying “If you can’t hold it, you have no business lifting it.”

I think Dave Tate said that too in an article. I’ve had to bust my ass to play catch-up with my grip a couple of times.

[quote]keithstar wrote:
I’d trained forearms with wrist-curls for almost a year prior to starting deadlifts, and it still wasn’t enough to prevent problems in that area.[/quote]

Working your forearms and working your grip are two different things. You can do a million wrist curls and your hands will never get stronger.

The exercises with the most carryover to the deadlift would be thick bar work, farmer’s walks, static holds, etc. A static hold is where you load the bar up with weight (as much as you can tolerate), and set it where you only have to lift it a few inches, then pick it up and hold for time.

I have the same problem. i increase the weight based on my grip, not on my back or legs. I figure eventually it will catch up.

I have found that if I hang on to the bar after doing a set of chin-ups or pull-ups my forearms get PUMPED…

Also, I will take a set of dumbells and do some curls but I don’t set the dumbells down between the sets, I just let them hang. I can barely hold on to them after only two sets. It’s an awesome pump.


Unless you plan to compete in powerlifting, I don’t really see a problem with straps. Deadlifting isn’t intended to make your forearms grow. It hits so many large muscle groups that to allow your grip to be the limiting factor is silly.

The circumference of the bar isn’t some magical number. It wasn’t chosen because it was the absolute perfect size to allow everyone to reach maximal development. What if the bar was twice as thick? Would it make sense to miss out on the benefits that could be reaped from deadlifting heavy just because your can’t hold onto a bar that large? Of course not.

Deadlift heavy with straps for the full body benefits it gives; work your grip on it’s own.

You are spot on, doogie!

I like using the straps on max lifts so I can focus on my form and moving the weight, not whether or not my grip is going to fail and I need to bail on the lift.

I don’t have bumper plates, so using straps makes life easier on heavy attempts.