Barbell Grip Variations

Different barbell movements require different grips. There are Powerlifts, Olympic lifts, and traditional Globo gym lifts. Each of these lifts has their purpose and can be utilized to have a well-balanced fitness program. It is important that we utilize the proper grip for the lift that we are performing. This will help build strength and improve efficiency in our lifts. Below are a few examples of different grips and which lifts and exercises they can be utilized for.

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  • Double overhand grip (pronated grip): This grip allows you to pull and hold the least amount of weight unless you have brute gripping strength. It is the most common grip used inside and outside of the gym. Palms are facing towards your body with your knuckles facing the ground. Lightweight deadlifts such as Romanian deadlifts, bent over rows, lat pull-downs, and pull-ups are just a few exercises that use a double overhand grip. This grip, when trained, can help us improve overall grip strength.
  • Close grip: A close grip is used for sumo deadlifts or sumo deadlift high pulls. This is due to the fact that the legs are wider than normal and we do not want the arms to be impeded by the legs. The close grip creates clearance for your arms during movements that include a sumo deadlift. You an also utilize a close grip for pull-ups to target the arms more than the back when compared to pull-ups with a regular grip. You can also utilize a close grip for pressing movements such as bench press or shoulder press, which will target the triceps muscles. A close grip will increase your range of motion on pull-ups and presses.
  • Hook grip: This grip style is very popular in Olympic Weightlifting. The hook grip is where the thumb is pinned between the barbell and the remaining fingers. It is used to prevent the barbell from turning while in the hands. It is also a more secure grip than more traditional grips, where the thumb is outside of the fingers. The hook grip is especially useful during the second pull of Olympic lifts (snatch and clean) because it prevents the bar from rolling towards the fingertips and it also prevents the athlete from early arm pulling (pulling up on the bar before extending the hips and knees). The hook grip puts a lot of pressure on the thumbs and may cause damage to the skin or thumbnails. This can be overcome with regular training using a hook grip, or taping your thumbs. It typically takes about 2 weeks to get used to using a hook grip when first incorporating it into your lifts.
  • Mixed grip: The mixed grip is used in weightlifting to lift heavier loads to allow a more secure grip. It is typically used during 1-rep max deadlifts. It prevents the bar from rolling towards the fingertips and opening the fingers, causing the bar to slip out of the hands. The bar will roll towards the fingers in one hand, while rolling towards the palm in the other. Typically, the strong hand is pronated with your palm facing toward you, while the weaker hand is supinated with the palm facing away from your body. A mixed grip is also less fatiguing on the forearms, so it is used for higher volume sets so that the lifter can maintain a grip on the bar. The mixed grip is not transferable into Olympic lifts because it does not allow the lifter to receive the bar at the shoulders or in an overhead position because of hand placement.

Each one of these grips has their place and purpose in different styles of lifts. It is important to train all of these styles and have a variety of lifts that you perform as a part of your program. The Maddox Method program incorporates all of these grips as we program Olympic Weightlifting, Powerlifting, and traditional Globo gym style lifts. It is important to train all of these grips to become stronger in each style of grip so that we can utilize the grip that best suits whatever lift we are going to perform. This will allow us to increase grip strength, overall strength, and become more efficient in our lifts.

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