Sunday, December 27, 2015

Weightlifting Grips: Which one should you use when?

As someone who lifts weights, it is almost instinctive to hold a barbell or dumbbell a certain way depending on your exercise.  For example, when you want to do a deadlift, most people grab the barbell with palms facing down or away from you (overhand grip); considered the classic grip.  During this grip, you tend to be working the muscles in your forearm, your shoulders and your back muscles.

The underhand grip is mostly used when working the biceps, since that area will have to work the most to lift the weight.  Your palms are facing up/towards you in this type of grip.

These two grips are the most common.  Often times, I would see people holding a barbell with a mixed grip, one hand with an overhand grip and the other with an underhand grip.  I would mainly see Crossfitters with this grip.  That made me think; was I doing something wrong?!  So I looked into it.

The mixed grip is used for a deadlift.  When typically using an overhand grip, as the weight gets heavier, the barbell would be known to slip from a weightlifters hands.  Some use a weightlifting strap, which is wrapped around your wrist and around the barbell to help it from slipping away from you, prior to targeting the muscles/areas that you want to work.  But, they should not always be used.  Using straps is a whole other debate in and of itself.   To avoid the slipping and using straps, a lot of weightlifters use the mixed grip.  Again, this is to help the bar from slipping away from you.  Basically, if it starts to slip, it slips into the other hand.  This grips allows for you to lift heavier weights.  It is important to add that every time you perform a deadlift, you should NOT to use the mixed grip.  Use only when it is necessary.  Another type of grip that is known to help the bar from slipping from your hands is called the hook grip.  Typically with an overhand grip, you wrap your fingers around the bar and place your thumb over your fingers.  In a hook grip, it is actually the opposite.  The thumbs grip the bar first and the first couple of fingers lay over the thumb.

I hope this information helped you.  Different grips work different areas of your body.  The mixed and hook grip with help you lift heavier weights without having the bar slip away from you as easily. If after using this grip, and you can't perform the exercise for the area that you want to target then something is wrong.  It could be your posture or simply that the weights are too heavy for you.

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