Various Ways To Grip The Deadlift & How They Differ

zercher deadlift

Mix up your deadlift with different grips, each unique in their own way.

When it comes to the deadlift, how often do you change up your grip? Most likely never, or at the very least, rarely. It’s nobody’s fault. We get comfortable with a grip, especially with a lift as heavy as the deadlift, and refuse to change given that we continue to lift big weight.

However, for those looking to change up their deadlift grip and really elevate those gains, knowing what different options are out there can make or break those gains for the better. Each grip targets the lift in a unique way to give ourselves that added benefit of increased growth and constant muscle confusion to never stop said growth.

The deadlift is one of those beastly exercises, testing not only our sheer strength but also mental will as we look to be the absolute best we can be. While there are all sorts of equipment and gear we can use, like deadlift socks or a weightlifting belt, when it comes down to the deadlift and your respective grip, nothing beats the connection your hands have on the bar. As the only point of contact, you want to be sure this will only enhance your gains so you see the best results possible.

Let’s take a look at various deadlift grips and see what makes each of these unique. By knowing how to do each grip, while also knowing what benefits they have, you can greatly enhance this monster lift in the deadlift so you see the best gains possible.

deficit deadlift

Benefits Of The Deadlift

Before we jump into these deadlift grips, let’s do a quick recap on some of the benefits of the deadlift. What you will find is this lift is something to test real strength and mental will and isn’t for those just out for a casual lift. Sure, you can put light weight and still see progress, but for the serious lifters, it’s all about lifting as much weight as possible. However, the deadlift must be done in a safe and effective way to avoid injury.

Benefits of the deadlift include:

  • Increased back strength: Building those muscles and overall muscle mass is important for this works to allow us better support and stability when it comes to pulling movements and also better postural support.
  • Enhanced lower body muscle growth: For those looking to build their lower body, the deadlift will work your quads, hamstrings, and glutes and can give you a more grounded and supported feel.
  • Better power: With the increased lower body growth, and the explosive nature of the deadlift, what you will find is that your power output will increase greatly (1).
  • Better grip strength: With so much weight on the bar and you needing to properly grip this exercise, you will find your grip will improve when it comes to other exercises and more functional movements (2).

Related: Engineering the Perfect Deadlift

Why Grip Matters

Grip matters because without a good grip, your lift is uncomfortable. And by uncomfortable we don’t mean not relaxing or not fun. We mean that you can seriously hurt yourself, or your gains, by not actually caring enough about grip. Your hands are the principle point of contact to the bar and you must take advantage of this in order to see the best gains possible.

The right grip is also important because it does matter how much you lift. The more weight on the bar, the more secure of a grip you need in order to actually get that weight up. With a focus on grip, you will most certainly find success with this lift.

deadlift socks

Various Ways To Grip The Deadlift

Now, let’s get into these various grips. You may find one on here that you wish to explore further and ultimately, unlock some gains you may have been missing.

  • Traditional or Overhand Grip

This is a very common grip and one that is useful as you try to improve your overall grip strength. Great for keeping everything symmetrical, this allows you to build better grip and will fix any imbalances that can arise. Most likely, this is the grip you have been using for everything, and we don’t blame you, for it is the standard.

  • Mixed Grip

A mixed grip is an interesting grip but one that is very easy to transition to from the normal overhand grip. Simply flip one hand under the bar so you grab it with your palm facing up. Leave your other hand with an overhand grip over the bar. You will find you can lift a bit more weight this way since the bar is supported from underneath.

  • Snatch Grip

The snatch grip will see you with a grip very similar to the snatch exercise. Your hands will be a bit wider and the benefit of this is that you get more of the back involved, especially the upper back. This is a good one to try if you are feeling adventurous and can help boost your snatch exercise at the same time.

  • Hook Grip

A very strong grip position, you will find the hook grip is something to take advantage of as you try to lift heavy weight in a safe way while avoiding any unwanted imbalances. The trick here is to place you thumb between the bar and your fingertips, giving this a more solid feel and supported hold.

  • Using Lifting Straps

While using weightlifting straps may not count as your traditional grip, this piece of equipment is a must have in your gym bag if you are a constant deadlifter. What you will find is that lifting straps can enhance grip, assist with heavy lifts, reduce injury with extra support, and provide comfort when lifting such big weight. Definitely look into a quality pair of lifting straps if you feel the deadlift is your go-to exercise.

Wrap Up

The deadlift is one of those exercises we love to perform but we don’t always think about our grip and how it can affect us. Putting an emphasis on changing form and allowing ourselves the opportunity to see better gains is all that matters. Mix up your grip and see if this changes the way you deadlift today.

Let us know what you think in the comments below. Also, be sure to follow Generation Iron on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 

*Images courtesy of Envato


  1. Thompson, B.; et al. (2015). “Barbell Deadlift Training Increases the Rate of Torque Development and Vertical Jump Performance in Novices”. (source)
  2. Incel, N.; et al. (2002). “Grip strength: effect of hand dominance”. (source)
Austin Letorney is a writer, actor, and fitness enthusiast. As a former rower, he has shifted his focus to sharing his knowledge of the fitness world and strength sports with others.