Why do dogs have better senses of smell than us? Well, their noses are pretty big. But the area of their brain that is associated with smell is a much larger percentage than ours. It is the same thing with our hands. Our hands have some of the tensest nerve clusters in our bodies. We also have a corresponding large percentage of our brian devoted to interpreting the stimuli from our hands.
Ok, what does this have to do with deadlifting? On a heavy deadlift it is absolutely imperative that the bar does not slip in your hands. Well, duh, that’s pretty obvious. What is also imperative is that you do not receive any stimulus from your hands. You do not want to even think about your hands. Such a large part of our brain is tied to our hands that any slippage or opening of the hands will receive undo attention from the brain, thus taking away focus from the lift.
To combat any slippage or opening of the hands, there are several different grips that can be used. The most basic and least secure grip is just the double overhand grip. This grip should be used on lighter or medium heavy loads to strengthen the grip.
The hook grip where the thumb is under the first two fingers is the province of the Olympic lifts. It locks the bar in the hands without requiring the over cramping which slows down the snap of the elbows and hands on the clean and snatch as well as promoting early arm bend. It is an excellent way to prevent the bar from slipping out of the hands on a heavy deadlift or on repetitive deadlifting (on Diane for example).
The reverse grip is probably the most common method for gripping the bar on a heavy deadlift. By reversing the grip on one of the hands, the bar is locked into the grip by the fact that if the bar rolls out of a hand, it will always roll into the other hand.
A final option is a reverse grip with a hook grip. This is a great way to go for people with overly small or weak hands.
Strengthening your hands will certainly help your deadlift. Always endeavor to use a regular grip with ever heavier weights. But, on really heavy lifts, don’t let anything distract from lifting the weight and go with a hook or reverse grip.
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