T Nation

Mixed Grip Deadlift


#1

So a while ago when I was deadlifting and started struggling on grip I bought some straps.

I used to go double overhand only because I once tried mixed grip and felt really awkward.

Now a days I've adopted mixed grip for my heavier sets, I run 5/3/1 so I'd do double overhand for like 5 sets and on my last 6th heavy set I would pull out the mixed grip.

I was unaware ( didn't think of it ) that mixed grip could cause muscle imbalance... I did some research as I heard that from a friend and actually found out that mixed grip was more prone to tearing my bicep and giving me massive pain and basically making it so that I probably couldn't go to the gym anymore, which scared the fuck out of me.

I figured I'd be smarter and try to use double overhand yesterday on my heavy set, not getting injured means I can make gains on a longer period of time and not being set back by a stupid injury.

And so when I got to the gym everything went fine until I reached my set, I was supposed to pull 380x3, I go on and double overhand grip the bar and try to pull, didn't even manage to pull the weight off the floor on the first attempt, then went ''fuck it'' and mixed grip and managed to pull the weight 5 times easily, I still had 2-3 more rep in me but my friend then came along and started saying stupid shit so I dropped the weight. I'm focusing on the 405 next week anyways.

But anyway the point of this thread is, I'm wondering... what are the real risks of tearing my bicep when doing mixed grip? I'm really scared it would happen but... at the same time, I figured if I did 5 other DL set before this big one, probably my bicep would be warmed up more than enough, even if I pull my 5 first sets with double overhand?

I'm reeeeeeeally worried to injure myself, yet I never felt discomfort anywhere when doing deadlifts so I guess I must be doing them fine... and the fact that I barely pulled the bar off the floor with double overhand yesterday makes me think mixed grip must be far superior?

What are your takes on these? How do you grip the bar when you pull and how do you prevent getting injured?


#2

Don’t worry about. Just pull with a mixed grip. If you are really paranoid, learn to use the hook grip or use straps for most of your work sets.

If you are worried about muscular imbalances, then use more assistance exercise to build your back.


#3

I think of it this way: I will only use a mixed grip on my heaviest sets. During my warm-up sets and for my first one to two worksets I will be able to pull with a double-overhand grip. Then I switch to mixed-hand. The likelihood of my injuring myself owing to a poorly-executed double-overhand grip with too much weight is, in my opinion, far higher than the likelihood that I’ll tear something using a mixed grip, which in turn enables me to perform a set with proper technique and tempo.

How often have you had to bail on a set because your grip wasn’t up to par for the weight you wanted to pull? We all know that that’s very frustrating, and you’ll often perform these reps with poor technique and lose tension, which in turn puts your back and other muscle groups in danger.

Go for the mixed grip for your heaviest sets, grip the bar hard, stay focused on your technique, switch your hand orientation from time to time and nothing should go wrong.

Even without switching hands (a hand fracture that I had when I was a teenager makes deadlifting with a pronated right hand rather painful) I’ve not had any arm issues after several years of deadlifting with a mixed grip.


#4

Follow the advice above.

I have mix gripped alot of weight for my size and never had any bicep or other issues as a result. Do one arm presses and rows if you are worried about imbalances. Dont forget to do curls.


#5

When I used mixed grip. . .
for touch and go I switch my hands every set to keep it even.
with resetting the weight between each rep I switch my hands every rep.

It takes getting used to but at least I know that I’m even.


#6

Occasionally, I get some elbow pain in my left (under-hand) arm. Bicep curls are actually supposed to help alleviate this/prevent it from happening (I really dislike doing them).

On the other hand, switch your alt-grip orientation sometimes and that helps to maintain balance. Like for my accessory pulls, when I do RDLs or rack pulls or the like, I’ll under-hand with my right hand instead of my left. Do your warm-ups with double-overhand.

And yeah, do your curls to keep that elbow tendon strong.


#7

idk if any of you guys been following my log but I did mention I hated doing curls because I though it made me look like a dbag, glad I can incorporate them in my training now, knowing it’ll have a carry over to something lol.

Simple question, do you think the curl variation matters? Since I want to strengthen my elbow tendon for deadlifts, I’m assuming a olympic bar or straight bar would be the better variation to perform as opposed to hammers or e-z’s and what not?


#8

Think about how often you really even have to use mixed grip. Here’s a sample workout that I might personally do:

double overhand:
135 5x
185 5x
225 5x
275 5x
315 5x
365 3x
405 1x
switch to mixed grip:
455 1x
475 1x
495 1x

If you only use it for your heaviest sets, you’re only going to be doing like three to maybe nine reps at the most I would imagine. That’s hardly enough to imbalance anything really. Also, some people actually focus on having their triceps flexed when they deadlift. Just don’t try to pull any of the weight with your bicep, and don’t do that thing that some people do where they roll the bar into their shins.

You should have nothing at all to worry about mate.


#9

[quote]csulli wrote:
Think about how often you really even have to use mixed grip. Here’s a sample workout that I might personally do:

double overhand:
135 5x
185 5x
225 5x
275 5x
315 5x
365 3x
405 1x
switch to mixed grip:
455 1x
475 1x
495 1x

If you only use it for your heaviest sets, you’re only going to be doing like three to maybe nine reps at the most I would imagine. That’s hardly enough to imbalance anything really. Also, some people actually focus on having their triceps flexed when they deadlift. Just don’t try to pull any of the weight with your bicep, and don’t do that thing that some people do where they roll the bar into their shins.

You should have nothing at all to worry about mate.
[/quote]

Yea as mentioned in my log basically yesterday was

Overhand
1x5 170
1x5 210
1x3 255
1x3 295
1x3 340
Mixed
1x5 380


#10

Get new training partners that won’t say stupid shit during your sets. Seriously though, I only know one lifter that pulls double overhand who is also really strong… Brad Gillingham. Most lifters use some form of mixed grip.


#11

I only pull mixed grip in competition. It seems pointless to use in training. I use straps the entire time I train and ensure I train my grip outside of deadlifting. Avoids any sort of muscle imbalance and minimizes risk of bicep tear.


#12

You need to get over this “fear” of tearing your biceps. Make sure your arms are straight, don’t try to flex your bicep at all and you shouldn’t tear anything. I usually go up to around 495 double overhand then switch. It builds grip strength doing this. Good luck.


#13

Sweet Jesus I have never seen something so simple turn into such a complicated issue.


#14

Serious question: why can’t you just switch hands every alternate set? I would figure that gives you the best of both worlds.


#15

Keep your arms straight, triceps locked and your chances of tearing a tendon are greatly reduced. As for your muscle imbalance worries, all the imbalance talk is a bunch of over hyped bullshit. I know several 700+ lb pullers and one at 800 and none have even the slightest noticeable imbalance.


#16

TM: Jim, what’s your opinion of mixed grip deadlifting? Yes, no, depends?

JW: This is a simple black & white issue with me. If you’re so worried about tearing a biceps that you don’t want to do a mixed grip deadlift, you clearly don’t want to lift big weight, and therefore you’re in the wrong hobby. You probably also own a lot of ties and drink wine- so you and I likely wouldn’t get along, either.


#17

haha drake37 that jim wendler quote is so awesome really says it all in a very simple way :slight_smile:


#18

I have been mix gripping since 1996. No bicep pain. No tear.

Beefcakemdphd


#19

[quote]dalle wrote:
haha drake37 that jim wendler quote is so awesome really says it all in a very simple way :)[/quote]

Thanks. I think he really nails the issue.


#20

If you’re worried about tears, read the DL commandments in this article:

I think a lot of it has to do with flexibility.