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.
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 are symmetrical but leave you with a weak grip and fingers.
The Hook Grip
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.
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.
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.