Deadlift- Hook or Mixed grip

Posted on 11-03-2017 by KJ in CFM

Should I hook grip or mixed grip?

Keep it simple and use the mixed grip for Deadlifts. It’s as secure as the hook grip but doesn’t put pressure on your thumbs. So it increases grip strength instantly without causing thumb pain.

The hook grip puts your thumbs between the bar and your fingers. Your fingers rest on your thumbs instead of under it. This increases grip strength but without needing to hold the bar with one hand up and one down. Your palms face you instead, like with the normal grip.

It has become popular to use the hook grip for the Deadlift too. The benefit is that it doesn’t load your shoulders unevenly because both palms face you. Some say this makes the hook grip safer than the mixed grip – it prevents muscle imbalances and biceps tears. However:

  1.  You’re Deadlifting with the normal grip on most sets. And you’re doing plenty of balanced exercises for your shoulders, back and legs. So unless your shoulders can’t take the asymmetry, the mixed grip is fine.
  2. Biceps tears from the mixed grip aren’t that common. Go to a powerlifting competition – most Deadlift with a mixed grip and yet biceps tears are rare. When they happen it is usually because of bad form – pulling with bent arms or hitching. Steroid-use also seem to be a factor.

The hook grip is definitely safer for people who have torn their biceps in the past, and who don’t want to risk tearing it again. But that doesn’t mean the mixed grip causes biceps tears. Bad form does. Keep your arms straight when you Deadlift. Don’t pull with bent elbows.

The main reason to use the mixed grip instead of the hook grip is that it doesn’t squeeze and hurt your thumbs. You don’t have to lift lighter until your thumbs adapt to the pressure. You can use the mixed grip today on your heaviest set and get an immediate boost in grip strength.

Keep in mind that the stress on your thumbs is higher when you use the hook grip on Deadlifts than on Olympic lifts. The set lasts longer – the weight moves more slowly, you hold it at the top, and control it on the way down. You also use much heavier weights. It will hurt your thumbs more.

Mixed grip is also good if you have small palms or short fingers. If it feels uncomfortable on your shoulders, try to switch your grip around by facing the other hand down.

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