T Nation

Mixed Grip Barbell Shrugs


I'm to the point where my grip strength is the limiting factor on barbell shrugs, and am thinking about mixed grip so I can go heavier. I don't personally like straps. Is there any problem with this as long as you alternate your grip for balanced development?


Possibility for a bicep tear, I wouldn't do it. Just use straps, I don't see what the big deal is.


I do them with mixed grip, but I alternate the grip from set to set.


So... you won't use straps on an exercise that you can go extremely heavy on, with insanely high reps... because you don't "like them."

Kewl, let us know how those go for you dude.

(By the way, if you seriously don't understand why your idea is extremely asinine you may want to try knitting or something.)


I vote no but for no other reason than I dont like the idea of doing anything with mixed grip if aesthetics are in mind.

I'd try a hook grip before resorting to mixed.




Why is mixed grip "extremely assinine" for shrugs, but not for deadlifts or vertical rows?


If you are bodybuilding then you shouldn't deadlift with a mixed grip either. It will end up with an imbalance in traps, rhomboids, lats, and biceps. Just use straps or do more grip work.

I compete in strongman and only see mixed grips in deadlifting and the occasional fat man continental clean, So I have no idea what a vertical row is? I suppose you can do some mixed grip pull ups just for variation.


If you alternate between sets, why would mixed grip result in an imbalance?


Because you are moving your shoulders up with shrugs and hence possibly flexing your elbows as well. This can result in a biceps tear. In a deadlift your arms are stationary and are (ideally) "locked" into place. I've done mixed grip on shrugs, but not with a lot of weight for this very reason.


I see your point, but couldn't you lock your arms in the same way while doing shrugs? Ideally, your shoulders and traps should be doing the work rather than your arms.


Vertical rows? Whats that

Using a mixed grip for statically holding a weight (deadlifts) makes more sense than doing it for shrugs.

Have you ever watched somoenes traps move when using a mixed grip? The muscles move differently.

Use straps but dont let the straps hold all of the weight. Your forearms will get stronger. Chalk too.


could you site some sources on the mixed grip imbalances?

I alternate while deadlifting.

But for shrugs I use straps. Do some bar holds or something afterward if you are concerned about your grip.


Yeah, but the weight is imbalanced, and one side could easily take over and you would barely notice it until something actually happened.

It's just safer to use overhand grip and/or straps. Nothing wrong with straps, just wear them for your heaviest set instead of for all the sets and you'll still be developing your grip strength and all (if that's what you're worried about).


I don't know that it is possible for one side to take over for the other, but the direction of loading on your shoulders is going to be ever so slightly different. Maybe a degree or so. Hence why I alternate hands while deadlifting.

I don't use mixed grip on shrugs because I use really heavy weights and lift it explosively. Doing that I'd rather not have either hand under the bar for fear of biceps. I wouldn't be as concerned with it creating an imbalance your shoulder growth.


That's actually what I meant. I meant that one side (the underhand grip) could take over in the sense that it is holding up more of the weight than the other hand and that this might result in a biceps tear. Especially when lifting explosively (as I assume we all do...or at least should) this could likely mean that you are unknowingly flexing the side just a bit that is holding up more of the weight. This increases the chance for a biceps tear.


If you don't like straps, try versa gripps. But I wouldn't recommend mixed grip shrugs.


"could you site some sources on the mixed grip imbalances?
I alternate while deadlifting.
But for shrugs I use straps. Do some bar holds or something afterward if you are concerned about your grip. "

What sources would you like? The biomechanics of the lift change with a mixed grip. The supinated grip would put scapula into a more retracted position. You also change the manner in which the trap is activiated, and put more tension on the biceps.


Could you describe exactly what you don't like about straps?

I kinda considered straps "cheating" until a few weeks ago. I still don't use them for deadlifts, my grip sure as hell isn't weaker and I now use 33 more pounds on Kroc rows for the same reps. If you do deadlifts, cleans, pullups or whatever your grip will still get a lot of volume. Letting your hands "rest" now and again could actually allow them to get stronger. And prevent injury. Especially considering the alternative you're proposing.


I put a lot more tension on my biceps doing curls than when I use an alternating mixed grip.

The only reason I can think why mixed grip might not be ideal is that it creates torsion, and is less "natural" than a standard pronated grip. But as long as you alternate the grip and use decent form, I don't see it being a big deal. Maybe over time it would be a bigger deal than I think, though.

I've considered a hook grip, but I'm not sure that is any more natural than a mixed grip. The reason I don't like straps is that I want my grip to keep pace with the rest of my gains. Also, I prefer not to carry around straps or a second set of gloves for my other lifts that don't require straps.