The easiest way to deadlift more - be able to grip more
Summary / TLDR
- You produce more force with a secure grip
- Your fingers have no muscle, your grip originates from your forearms
- You are not likely overloading those muscles, ever
- You should overload those muscles
Why your Grip changes your deadlift
In some very advanced body mechanics, your body produces less force when you do not have a solid grip. Literally every person that has used a fat bar or fat grips or picked up a strongman implement is freaked out their body just produces less force through the floor.
Common sense would dictate that you would still push as hard as you can with the lower body, and your hands would spin off a fat bar, but that rarely happens.
You can do this yourself by using a deadlift bar (which is generally easier to grip) and bars with old/bad knurling or wearing straps. The change in grip, changes the ability to pull.
Of course, there is a second scenario when you just lose a dead mid lift. You should always just drop the weight - don’t try to open hand save it (it may tweak you back trying to lock out or lower with a skewed bar)
How grip is produced
You don’t really need to know too much of this, but your fingers have almost no muscle, and the flexing on your fingers is done in the forearms. If you have ever gone rock climbing your forearms kill the next day. Those flexing the fingers forearms differ from the musculature that is hit by things like wrist curls and forearm curls.
Other than max out deads, log your training through your mind and think when you train your grip maximally. Probably close to never. If you could grip, for example, 110% of your dead max, it is HUGE lowering of the max effort of the movement, and could be the difference between white lights and red.
How to train your grip
You can do a few things, but the easiest is holds in a rack, to near failure. 7 seconds is perfect. Grab a bar, pull it off the pins, work up until you can’t hold for 7 seconds - then lower slowly for a working weight.
If you are already under training volume, doing this on a normal bar will require a lot of weight and unnecessary added training load. We only want to overload the grip / forearms, not your upper back and CNS.
If your gym has a thick bar, use that. If not, fat gripz are a perfect option.