T Nation

Improving Grip for Deadlift


Hey, I've been looking around for a while now and I very recently started lifting seriously. One of the problems I've come across is that well, my grip sucks. I can maintain grip long enough to do a good amount of pullups (20~) but for some reason when it comes to the dead lift I just can't hang on. Earlier today I was trying to see what my one rep max is and I was having trouble locking out 265. I failed repeatedly before being able to do it, my main trouble was well.. my grip. About 4/5 of the way up through the lift the bar would start to slip and I would lose concentration, ruining my attempt.

I think the lack of grip is making it harder for me to train my actual muscles since I keep having to stop 3/4 of the way through the motion. I think its also having a negative effect on my 1 rep max, since I wasn't having that much of a problem with the actual strength part of the lift.

I was wondering if you guys had any tips on how to improve grip strength pretty quickly, or will it come on its own if I keep deadlifting.

Should I just train at say 210-2 in a 10x3 format and hope my grip comes, or is there any easier way. I'd like to stay away from using gloves or straps of any kind. Thanks in advance for any help you guys might have.


Use straps when your grip fails and work on your grip. hang from a bar with weight attached to you for time. set the bar in the rack with as much weight as you can handle and hold it for time aim to get better and better.

Work them both the grip and the lifts with straps. that way neither is stagnating while the other plays catch up



I had the exact same problem, so I bought some lifting hooks which work great. They enable me to lift heavy and not worry about my grip, after my set I do some reps with a lighter weight to work specifically on my grip and each training session I increase the weight and i've definetly noticed improvement.

Plate pinches are also good were you pinch 2 5kg plates together for as long as you can.


the hooks and the straps doesn't resolvs the problems.

ok you can use this tools since your grip haven't improved, but after that you have to stop use it.

tips 4 strengthen the grip force:
-use the hook grip (the thumb between the bar & the other fingers)
-use some magnesium
-use the reverse (1 palm up, the other down)grip for the 1RM attempt. always remember to invert the position of the hands
-do some heavy farmer's walk and even some static hanging to the pull ups bar


use a fat bar whenever you can


One word - chalk.


At only 265 lbs or so, chalk shouldn't be too much of an issue yet.

Certainly, if you haven't, you'll want to be using a mixed grip.

Also, like Phill said, if you get into the rack, do some fairly high (short range of motion) rack pulls, you should be able to lock out a fair amount, but you'll really have to man up and hang on to the damned bar.
I'm not using that language to be insulting, at all, but the odds are you can generate more force and grip than you think.

Also, with the weight you'll be using, be sure about your form.

Finally, a long time ago when I was having grip troubles, I was sent out to do hammer curls... perhaps after deadlifting or doing chins.


Hex holds, grabbing the head of a hex dumbbell for time


I dunno. I started using chalk after my grip started giving out at around 250. But I also sweat a LOT (including on my palms) when I lift.


Thanks for the responses guys. Good point about the sweaty hands thing, I think that may be whats causing some of my trouble, I do sweat a lot in my hands when I'm doing anything physical.

What I'll probably do is try all of your suggestions in order of convenience. Next time I do deads I'll try to stop being such a puss and just hang onto the bar, if i still can't I'll buy some straps and chalk to see which works for me. Ill be sure to work on my grip after each time I do an exercise that requires it, so that neither are lagging too far behind the other.

Using a thick bar was a pretty good idea, but due to money restraints I don't think that'll be an option :[

Thanks again for all your help.


try using lynx performance grips. they thicken the bar and give you a firmer grip and they are fairly inexpensive. also you shouldnt overdo it. try to pull your max from time to time but also keep working with higher rep and lower weight and the grip will strengthen with time.



When you say higher rep, lower weight - roughly what do you have in mind? Let's say the 1 rep max is 290 lbs, what would you suggest is good for the higher rep stuff? Would I need to deadlift without laying the bar back on the floor (i.e. continuous up-down)? Many thanks.


i don't think doin' high reps DL is a good idea.

there r the RDL, and other stuff like farmer's walk or static holding.


I probably wont be training in the high rep/low weight range that much at all, I'll be trying to keep it in the 3-5 area for most of my lifting. My main goal is to get a lot stronger, aesthetics are secondary to strength for me.


Do your pullups with a false grip and on a rope.
Do pullups on a flat surface you cant wrap yoour fingers around
They said hex dumbell holds... Do curls like that too.
I don't know ifyou can do this, but I used to do my shrugs and deads with a false grip to improve grip strength


what i normally do since my grip is always the limiting factor:
whenever i start out with a new higher weight i lower the number of reps per set and increase the number of sets. ive noticed my grip stars to give out early if i do more than lets say 3. so i do 8 sets with 3 reps each. to train the grip i just slowly increase the number of reps per set and decrease the number of sets. so start out with 8x3, then proceed with 6x4, 4x6, and finally 3x8. by the time im done my grip seems to be a lot stronger. then increase the weight again and so forth. works for me at least.