Why Deadlifting with a Mixed Grip, Straps or a Hook Grip Is for Egomaniacs and Cheaters (never do it)

| November 27, 2018 by Truth Seeker |

The functional philosophers have convinced the powerlifting nerds that straps are for cowards and losers. Only men who wear bikini rely on straps. The only exception are power shrugs a.k.a. Rippism shrugs a.k.a. heavy bar holding that looks like a shrug. For all else, the pupils have to stay away from straps and leave them to the insecure metrosexual individuals who are trying to figure out their gender.

What is the motivation behind this rule?

Dependence on straps leaves you with a weak grip. You can lift the weight, but only when your soft, girly hands are tied to the bar with heavy duty canvas.


What is the solution offered by the professors?

When the weight gets heavy, the apprentices must switch to a mixed/baseball or a hook grip. Those are the manly options for those who want to move big iron. Either of them is fine.

The mixed version requires more hand and finger strength, but the hook grip hurts so much that people still consider it barbarian and legit.

I believed in this fallacy for a long time, but I no longer subscribe to this ideology. One could say that I had a revelation, and simplicity found its way to my cranium.

All three grip modifications designed to allow the elevation of bigger barbells are a form of cheating unless there’s a medical reason for their application.

The aforementioned methods permit egomaniacs to lift heavier weights and post their PRs on Facebook so that the horde of brainwashed fans can mindlessly hit the like button.

I asked myself – “Why is the grip always catching up? Why can you lift more when you remove the grip factor?”

Then a message from a reader that I received many moons ago came back to me. He always deadlifts with a double overhand grip to do damage control. Since you always lift sub-maximal weights with this grip, the stress on the body is lower. Therefore, the overhand grip acts as an injury prevention mechanism.

What if this mechanism is meant to prevent you from subjecting your architecture to unnecessary stress?

Maybe if you can’t hold a weight, you shouldn’t lift it because you may drop it and damage the item or yourself?

Think about it. In the meantime, I will explain why each of the crutch-grips sucks.

Rickey Crain deadlifting | via: bodybuilding.com Notice how one side of the bar is higher than the other. It’s because of the mixed grip.

The Mixed grip

Deadlifting with a mixed grip has always been the lowest IQ route to do things. It is proven by the fact that everybody does it. Another fact is that the mixed grip is asymmetrical, unnatural and a good way to tear a bicep. The instructors will say that this is impossible if you straighten your arms, but we all know that heavy weights make ultra-precise execution of the battle plan rather difficult if not impossible.

The mixed grip shortens one of the arms artificially and creates a side to side discrepancy. Look at the videos of mixed grip deadlifters – very often one side of the barbell is higher than the other.

Straps

Straps are symmetrical but leave you with a weak grip and fingers.

The Hook Grip

The hook grip – designed for egomaniacs and masochists who hate thumbs.

The hook grip represents strap lifting without straps. It does not require more grip strength than ordinary straps, only pain tolerance.

When you hook, your thumb is smashed by the barbell and hurts. Some people experience nerve damage and lose sensitivity in the region.

When I was deadlifting this way, my thumbs started to shake and twitch even when resting. The hook grip was the culprit. Once I cut it, the weird sensation and involuntary flexing went away.

Ultimately, the hook grip fixes all the problems that the mixed grip creates, but it still sucks and doesn’t develop any grip strength whatsoever.

Mixed grip Hook Grip Straps
Advantages 1. More weight on the bar.

2. Develops more grip strength than the hook grip and straps.

3. You don’t need extra equipment (straps).

4. You are not damaging your thumbs.

5. Legal in competition.

 

1. Symmetrical position and back engagement.

2. “Longer arms”

The hook grip allows you to take a very narrow grip which in return makes you more upright.

3. No need for equipment.

4. Legal in competition.

5. More secure than the mixed grip.

6. You can lift more weight in comparison to the regular overhand grip.

 

 

1. Symmetrical.

2. Allow high volume training.

Downsides 1. Asymmetrical position and back engagement.

2. High stress on the bicep tendon.

3. Does not build as much grip strength as the overhand grip.

1. Damages the nerve endings of the thumbs.

2. Does not build superior grip strength.

 

1. Do not build superior grip strength.

2. Illegal in most competitions (some strongman events are an exception)

I don’t care

People will hate on this post, but that’s fine. I am not sorry that I see things this way now.

The hook grip and the mixed grip should be removed from powerlifting and possibly Olympic weightlifting since they are a cheating method. They are allowed because they look visually fine and create the perception of unity and self-sufficiency. Yet they are a crutch.

But, bro? Why would you want your grip to be the limiting factor in a pull designed to strengthen the glutes and back?

Calm down. You can still lift plenty of weight with this grip. If you can’t, it’s because you have a weak grip – another reason to train this way. The extra 10-30% that you can add by cheating are not as precious as you think. Your legs and back will get stronger even if you lift with an overhand grip.

I felt something was wrong…

In the past, I used the hook grip for singles and straps for rep work. This is the best method if your goal is to avoid the mixed grip, compete in powerlifting and minimize the damage to the thumbs.

Every time I would feel stupid and inadequate for doing this, but I would ignore this feeling. Lifting a weight that I cannot hold felt wrong.

Eventually, I asked myself – why? The only answer that comes to me is ego. All other arguments are self-righteous rationalizing similar to the way people defend the low bar squat – an exercise that makes sense only in a powerlifting context, a state of a very specific injury or in a sick head obsessed with booty activation.

One day, I just went to the gym and decided to stick to overhand grip deadlifts regardless of what happens. It felt way better than strapping or hooking.

In conclusion

The standard double overhand grip is the best way to deadlift for everyone except dudes who compete in ego lifting.

You will not gain extra muscular development by eliminating the grip factor. The only prize is a worthless weight on the bar that increases the stress on the supportive structures.

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22 comments

  1. Robert

    I’ve never been part of the using straps or any kind of spotter coming to think of it. My philosophy has alway & always will be if I can’t lift a certain weight on my own it’s not for me.

  2. Jb

    Hey dumbass – when competing in a sport health is not the consideration. Lifting the most weight is. Leave us competitors alone and be happy with your girly weights.

  3. Philip

    Man, this really might have helped me out. I’ve had a nagging ass shoulder pain for a while now. Seems no matter what I do I can’t shake it. Its on my open hand side that I deadlift with. Been doing lot of sets with 405 and I think its always worse after my deadlift days but I would have never attributed it to that. I’m going to lay off for a few weeks and see what happens.

  4. Philip

    Well instead of my usual 5×5 with 405 switch grip today, I could only muster 315 double over hand. Hell I can squat more than that for 5×5, so might as well dump the fuckin deadlift, 😂😂 what a shit show.

  5. Louis

    As with medicine, a useful “body-building” objective (physical improvements in strength development, perhaps in muscle, bone, nerve and other internal benefits) should be—first do no harm, or the least possible harm.

    In this regard, the fully-pronated grip is better than the options described in the article—at loads that are therefore intrinsically manageable for the lifter, symmetrically performed—and assuming all other aspects of proper lifting form are present.

    And within the structure of an otherwise balanced program, those interested in physique development will look pretty much the same absent these other devices.

  6. ChronicPain

    This is my favorite post of yours by far. The smart ones will listen. The dumb ones will end up like me with a broken body and no longer able to do the training they loved.

    1. Truth Seeker Post author

      They make more sense for the snatch grip deadlift because the exercise is brutal on the grip, and you may fail to get the wanted back stimulation. However, today, I would not use them even for the snatch deadlift.

  7. marlon

    I would recommend the hex bar – if you can find one – to do deadlifts.

    I think you did an article on squats which combatted the ego-lifting we can get caught with in the gym.

  8. Pep

    Are you kidding me… I swear I had the exact same reasoning as you 8 months ago.
    I’ve been doing snatch grip deficit deadlifts for a year now, and considered the hook grip because I thought it would be impossible to hold on to the bar. I even used straps for my heaviest sets.
    8 months ago i just said fuck it, if in a perfect environment with a tiny perfect barbell designed to be holded perfectly I can’t lift the weight because my grip is too weak, then there is no point in lifting the weight. You are only as strong as your weakest link, and in the real world your grip/forearm strength is the bridge between your other muscles and objects.
    So I started snatch deadlifting with a double overhand.
    And in the begining, I couldn’t hold on to it for my life. But now.. guess what, my forearms grew, and the grip is no longer that much of a limitation. deadlift strength went up tremendously, Even tho I always work with “suboptimal” weights. Plus I dont get fatigued as I did after the deadlift days.

    Also. If I conventional deadlift, I can literally pull more with double overhand than mixed grip. And that is just f*cking amazing.

    If you can’t grip a tiny perfect bar, how do you expect to hold on to messy shit in real life?
    Double overhand forever

    1. Truth Seeker Post author

      An amazing comment. Thanks for sharing this story.

      My motivation was that I hated being unable to hold the weight.

  9. gilbert

    go lift with a clean grip. if you can . but the mixed grip is standars stuff for lifters more secure grip with big weights

  10. Reformed Ego Lifter

    I used to use mixed grip so I feel personally attacked. I don’t actually deadlift anymore but I decided to take a similar philosophy as yours to all lifts. I finished starting strength lowbar squatting 150kg for 5 and felt like I was the coolest dude, but the second I tried Front Squatting, I couldn’t even hit 100kg for a single. I started hitting paused reps for 80kg and all I noticed was lighter weight on the bar but a more brutal leg workout than any lowbar squat could ever give me, joint pain however, nothing.

    Now I try and get as much as I can out of less weight. My muscles hate me like usual, but the rest of my body appreciates it.

  11. François Dion

    Apparently, everyone is entitled to their own opinion of what’s cheating and what isin’t. But those that think that hook-gripping is cheating probably also think that arching during the bench press is also cheating.

    1. Truth Seeker Post author

      Excessive arching is cheating. Arching to protect the shoulders and load the chest is part of the proper execution.

  12. joesantus

    Heh…although I’m not nor have ever been a powerlifter, my longtime idea for an alternative powerlifting sport replaces the back squat, mixed-grip deadlift, and bench press with the front squat (off rack), overhand-grip deadlift, and military press.(off rack).

    1. Truth Seeker Post author

      It’s interesting, but it won’t become popular. You can’t lift a lot of weight that way. We all know powerlifting is all about the numbers.

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