T Nation

Little Girl Hands


Hi, I've been deadlifting for just over a month now. I started at 130 and now i'm at 250, I've progressed rapidly. The problem is I have a slight frame, I weigh only 135 and I am very proportionate so I only have little hands. I do a 5x5 split and last week I managed to lift 250 for 5 but this week my grip gave out and I only managed 3 (I had done some heavy rows before, last week I did it the other way round).

My question is, am I at a severe disadvantage because of my small hands, or can I still get really good grip strength? I'm trying to get hold of a Captain of Crush gripper which I hope will help. I guess part of the problem is that I may have progressed too rapidly wih regards to back development and not grip.

Have any of you had this problem and overcome it?

Also I'm not using a belt, should I?


Also just to add, I'm 24 so my hands won't be growing anymore unfortunately.


I think you answered your own question. In the previous week did performing DLs first impact your ability to perform rows with adequate poundage?

I think you should just stick to doing the DLs first.

As far as belts are concerned, different people will have different opinions. For what it's worth I've never used one, and have never had an incident.

I think the best protective measure for your back is to ensure you DL technique is optimal, because even the belt won't protect you much if your form is poor.

However if your form is optimal and you want to wear a belt, I would recommend using it only on the heaviest set/sets.


Small hands are an obstacle, definitely, but not a complete progression-killer. I too, suffer from dainty hands, and have managed to get through several deadlift/pull-up plateaus by training my forearms and grip directly and with great intensity for 3-4 weeks and then returning to my normal lifting program.

My favorite exercises include farmers walk, barbell holds, holding DBs by the ends using only my fingertips, reverse curls, and plate pinches.

Oh, and if you're using gloves, stop immediately. Guys with huge hands can get away with gloves. Those of us who can't palm a basketball will never pull heavy weights using gloves.


wrist straps.


If you want to increase your grip strength or ever compete I would suggest chalk as well as using an alternate grip. If you have no plans of competetion then there is always wrist straps or hooks.


Over under grip solved my problem dealing with heavy weight(s) specifically deads.


Thanks for the advice.

My gym is a bit rubbish, the bar has little or no gnarling (I think thats what it's called) which is definitely not helping. However, I live in Poland for the moment and don't really want to go around making demands in broken Polish.

Regardless, I think I've hit my plateau for now. Grip strength will be my focus for a while. I've only just moved to free weights so I'm relatively happy with my progress so far.


pics or it didn't happen


What didn't happen?

You want to see to see my little girl hands? Didn't realise this was a fetish website.


HolyMac, are you evaluating him for a possible MMF or something?

All joking aside, OP, if you haven't taken fuzzyapple's advice about using a mixed grip, then do so. It provides a serious mechanical advantage (around 80lbs for me), while still providing a good stimulus for your forearms. Meanwhile, just do some finger rolls to improve your grip strength.

I have fairly small hands myself, but I've never found them to be much of an impediment to my lifting. Of course, when it comes to musical instruments, that's a different story.



a website designed for the 'intelligent and relentless pursuit of muscle' and you'd be surprised to find odd fetishes?

that being said. i would refrain from mixed grip deadlifts unless you are doing singles or doubles as you run the risk of creating muscle imbalences down the road. a belt and straps should be enough.

however, i would definatly be interested in seeing your hands. preferably with something that includes a point of reference, like a dollar bill or a football.


I'd have to respectfully disagree with you on this one. As long as you alternate which hand you pronate each set, you really shouldn't develop much in the way of imbalances. Moreover, even when doing straight sets, you'll probably only have to resort to mixed grip for the last set or two - at least that's been my experience.



to the op, as said before, really intensify ur grip training


My hands are not ridiculously small, but they definitely impede me. I've got academics hands too due to being a teacher at the moment, so pencil curls were my forte up until 3 months ago.

I'm going to look into doing some finger rolls, they seem like they could do the trick. I had a look on a climbing website, they suggested finger rolls too and I would hope they know what they're talking about when it comes to grip.

Perseverence is key, I just bought a 100lb gripper of eBay and oddly look forward to squeezing it. I think you are right about the fetish thing HolyMac.

Thinking about it though, the lack of knurling on the bar in my gym is definitely a problem. I recall my fingers slipping even at lower weights. It's pretty much smooth. I'm coming home to England at the end of the month so I won't have to worry for much longer.


I have small hands. Since I started lifting my fingers have gradualy become more sausage like. I have small sausage hands now (and no it's not because i'm fat).

That was the bad news. The good news is that my grip strength has gone up considerably since I started lifting. Grip is one of those things that takes time to develop. It won't happen over night. Just keep training your grip and it will come around.


Thanks, sausage hands sound awesome.


Speaking of climbing websites, something like this might help:



Thats great, don't think my landlord would be too pleased if I drilled one into his wall though, or if he came home to find me crippled under some load bearing brickwork.


...because pics or it didn't happen...

Small hands are horrible. I pretty much do all of my dead-lifting, shrugging, and bent-over rowing with straps because I hate being preoccupied with the inevitability of the bar slipping out of my hands. It's not even that I'm incapable of squeezing as hard as other people(I've been working as a mover for the past year or so, so my grip is taxed almost daily), I'm just at a mechanical disadvantage compared to you long-fingered freaks.