T Nation

One Arm Deadlift for Grip...and Everything Else

I have done a one arm DL, really just screwing around in the past, but today I was trying to think of a good assistance lift to do after my main workouts. I thought “what the hell” and tried the one arm DL. Since I go to a commercial gym that is really geared towards old people they don’t have good cambered bars for this lift so I had to MacGyver something up on the spot. It was basically a shorter version of the swiss bar seen on the link below, picked up from the sides instead of the handles, with two sets of weight clips to make sure the discs didn’t slide.

All I have to say is…wow! I was just expecting to get a good grip workout, but I found this trained just about everything! I felt much more “body awareness”(if that makes any sense)compared to any lift I have tried before. I did 10-15 (wasn’t counting) sets of singles until I found a good working weight. For every set when I reached the top position I held the bar as long as I could before setting it down. My working weight ended up being about 165lbs.

My question is: what is the best way to train the one arm DL as an assistance lift for both grip and total body? On another workout day I do farmers walks as well.

This lift will remain in my regiment for many months to come.

One thing to consider is that the grip component of any lift will depend greatly on whether or not the handle can rotate out of your hand. This is why a mixed grip makes a huge difference in deadlifting. The bar can’t rotate out of your hand any more.

Single hand implements like farmer handles or the bar that you linked have the handle vertically offset from the center of mass. This prevents the implement from rotating out of your hand. Hex bars similarly prevent rotation. Doing a farmer walk with really heavy dumbbells, if you have access to some, is humbling for the grip.

There are lots of ways to go with this whether you focus on a rotating handle to focus on grip or get an offset handle to just go heavier.

A side comment on the link that you posted, the name ‘trap’ bar is not because the bar is a trapezoid. I’ve heard several different etymologies for the name, but this one doesn’t hold up. This is mainly due to the fact that the bar is not a trapezoid.

I’m not a strongman or powerlifter, but I also found that one-arm deadlifts actually seem to be a great exercise. I’ve always wondered why no coaches have ever spoken about one-arm DLs, it just seems odd since it’d probably be a killer assistance move for the deadlift. I found that since the load is significantly less, legs don’t get much work.

But the core and the back, wow. It’s like my entire back and core works to try and prevent my arm from being pulled down and my torso from twisting. Mid-back, lats, low back, I feel them all working so much more than they would in a normal DL.

And oh, it’s a great grip exercise too (duh).

[quote]ChristNhero wrote:
I’ve always wondered why no coaches have ever spoken about one-arm DLs, it just seems odd since it’d probably be a killer assistance move for the deadlift.[/quote]

I honestly cannot think of a weak point in the deadlift wherein a 1 armed deadlift would be the best choice to use to fix it. I would imagine this is why it has limited exposure.

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:

[quote]ChristNhero wrote:
I’ve always wondered why no coaches have ever spoken about one-arm DLs, it just seems odd since it’d probably be a killer assistance move for the deadlift.[/quote]

I honestly cannot think of a weak point in the deadlift wherein a 1 armed deadlift would be the best choice to use to fix it. I would imagine this is why it has limited exposure.[/quote]

I suppose that is a good point, makes sense… But still, a great exercise for multiple body parts

http://www.T-Nation.com/strength-training-topics/one-arm-front-deadlift
Found a video where CT talks about the 1 arm DL. What he says seems to match what I feel pretty accurately. Traps and lats.

[quote]ChristNhero wrote:
I’m not a strongman or powerlifter, but I also found that one-arm deadlifts actually seem to be a great exercise. I’ve always wondered why no coaches have ever spoken about one-arm DLs, it just seems odd since it’d probably be a killer assistance move for the deadlift. I found that since the load is significantly less, legs don’t get much work.

But the core and the back, wow. It’s like my entire back and core works to try and prevent my arm from being pulled down and my torso from twisting. Mid-back, lats, low back, I feel them all working so much more than they would in a normal DL.

And oh, it’s a great grip exercise too (duh).[/quote]

I am with you on that one, brother. Guys like Pete Rubish and Jamie Lewis don’t seem to shy away from either.

I wouldn’t be using this as an accessory for legs at all. I have 10 sets of squats in my program that take care of my legs for about 5 days. If anything, my focus is grip, core and back strength improvement.