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Deadlift Grips: Hook and Conventional

There is no question that the deadlift is in a league of its own. This exercise has proven to be a big player in not only strength gains but also muscle mass gains as well. Deadlifts are also a calorie killer, so if you are looking to drop some pounds, do deadlifts! It is a movement that pretty much hits the entire body all at once.


The deadlift does it all to say the least.


When looking at the deadlift closely, you may have noticed different grips that people perform. These grips play a role in numerous facets of the lift, and each carry perks and weaknesses.


Conventional (Overhand)


A conventional, or overhand grip, is when the lifter has his/her palms facing themselves, pressed around the bar. This grip is amazing for grip strength and higher rep work. Also, with this grip style it puts more of an emphasis on better body posture throughout the lift. This is due to is being easier to keep the bar closer to the body throughout the lift, forcing the shoulders and back to stay aligned properly. The downfall to this grip however is the ability to grip. As noted it helps with building up grip strength, because the grip is compromised. Many lifters will find that they have the leg strength to complete a heavy lift, but their grip cannot follow suit. Does this make the conventional grip bad? Not at all. As noted, you will build up better grip strength in the long run (and get a great forearm workout), but if you are looking to pull your max weight off the ground, the conventional grip could diminish your abilities slightly.


Hook (Alternate)


The hook grip, also known as the alternate grip, may be the more popular out of the two. Reason being is it allows the best grip on the bar for pulling heavy weight. This is when the lifter has their weak side in a conventional grip position, and their strong side is in an underhand, or “hook” position. This grip is best used for lower rep, heavier weight work. It is much harder to keep the bar closer to the body as well with this grip, compromising the back so making sure form is intact is critical. This grip also can cause uneven muscular hypertrophy in the back due to the different grips if being used for higher rep work, so be mindful is your lifting for reps or for pounds.


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