T Nation

Losing Grip on Deads


I'm currently doing CW's ABBH and had my 10x4 deadlift day yesterday. On the 7th set, I began losing my grip on the third rep and this carried through to my 10th set. The shitty thing is that I KNOW I would have completed all of the reps if my grip didn't give out. Has this happened to anyone else?

I obviously don't want to lower the weight and I don't necessarily want to start using straps because I like the grip/forearm-strengthening side benefit from doing deads. Should I finish, say, my third rep, and when I feel my grip failing set the weight down, wait a few seconds and complete the fourth (and next week, fifth) rep? Thanks in advance for any feedback.


Get some chalk. If your gym doesn't allow it, smuggle it in and use it anyway.


Use a mixed grip... one hand over, one hand under. Use chalk.



It's a tradeoff, I would expect most people's forearms to give before their hammies do, at least that's the case for me. I would do all the sets until I start noticing my grips getting in the way of my deadlifts. That's when the straps come out.

Think of it this way, why is your grip giving out? It's because you've worked your forearms to death, you've already fatigued. That's your weakest link, don't make your legs suffer (skip sets) on account of that weakest link. Compensate when need to and if you desire, train your forearms separately and try to bring it up to your expectations.


I'd mix your grip, like the other poster said. I like to switch what hand does what with each set (for instance...first set=left hand pronated, right hand supinated; second set=left hand supinated, right hand pronated) so things stay balanced out.

You'll most likely have one combination that feels best to you, but after a while it should even out to feeling pretty good with both grip positions. I got to the point where a straight grip just wasn't enough and once I started mixing my grip I haven't had any problems with slippage. I suppose if mixing your grip wasn't enough you could get some chalk, but I don't have any experience with that.


Had the same problem. Used the mixed grip, but now my right bicep is slightly larger then the left and i only do deadlifts and owerhead presses. So make sure to change which hand goes ower frequently, my 2c


Seriously, dont ignore the chalk advice. I always figured chalk couldnt be that important of a change, could deadlift 515 with straps, like 420 without, when i started using chalk, within a month i pulled 520 with no straps. Do the mixed grip if you dont already and chalk up, grip will never be a problem again.


Chalk can indeed work wonders.

If the gym where you work out bans chalk, look into liquid chalk which is no muss and no fuss.

I have not tried it, but several people on this site have and they have given it good reviews. Not quite as good as the real thing, they say, but pretty close. Do a search on this site for liquid chalk, or you could probably google it and find a supplier.


If you use the mixed grip be sure to alternate hands.

Also, be careful not to try to curl the weight with the hand that has the palm facing out. This results in a lot of torn biceps.


Yeah, my gym doesn't allow chalk, but I'm there at 5:00 am and I'm often the only one in the place at that time so I can't imagine how I'd get any shit for it.


You could always hook grip that bad boy, too. Just tape up the thumbs and away you go.

It nicely removes the bicep strain problem.

  • Sean


Can you elaborate on the thumb taping? I'm a hook grip virgin...


I used to have this problem with deadlifts. The way that I overcame it was by constantly (every 5 to 6) deadlifting. To become an expert in a movement you have got to constantly perform it. I also recommend doing heavy rows. This too builds good gripping strength. I also recommend a powerlifting grip viz. one hand under and one hand over (also change this grip arrangement from set to set so that one will not outperform the other and create hand gripping imbablances).


I understand why you don't want to use straps, but I believe that's not necessarily always the right thing to do. You should certainly try to improve your grip strength (there are articles on here that can give you some ideas), but I do think you can use a strap for very heavy deadlifts.

After all, by playing to your "weakness", you restrict your back and posterior chain from growing - given all the hard work that comes with a deadlift, you might as well go the whole-hog in my view.

After a workout, you can do some ancillery work on your grip to help it catch up with your back/glutes etc.

I resist using straps and work really hard to "get a grip", but I also use straps when I think it's warranted - for me, that's with very heavy deadlifts (3-4 x 1RM).




It's sad, that some ("call 'em") gym don't allow chalk. And if you really have to train in those kind overclean fitness gym's, - bring a vacuum cleaner with your chalk.. :wink:


The hook grip works...however it takes a bit to get used to. Taping the thumb is a big help.

If you use mixed grip, switch hands with each set so your back and arm strength and deveolpment is static.

For a while I went with straps...because of the frustration of losing my grip. Then I switched to the hook grip after reading about it in T-Nation


Hummm...I have been using straps because of slippage on DL's but after reading this thread I may try to get some chalk and see if I can get a way without the straps. I looked for chalk a while ago and no one seems to carry it around this area. I have to do some more hunting.



Someone posted a thread regarding a liquid chalk online....I would try doing a search.


Ask a gymnast or rock climber.


Personally, I can deadlift at least as much with chalk as with straps, probably a little more. Just use chalk and a mixed grip. All you should have to worry about is the skin peeling off your hands after. And wipe the chalk off the bar and floor with a damp towel after so you don't get booted from your gym.