The Best Deadlift Grip

The BEST Deadlift Grip – Overhand Grip vs. Mixed Grip vs. Hook Grip

When you are doing heavy pulling exercises such as; deadlifts and shrugs, chances are you find your grip strength giving out before your back strength does.

This is a very common problem among lifters. For most people their grip strength is the “weakest link” when pulling heavy weight. But there are some unique grips and hand positions that you can use when holding the barbell that will increase your grip strength, allowing you to lift more weight, or perform more reps before your grip strength gives out.

1) First, the most common grip is the Double Overhand Grip.

Double Overhand Grip

This is your basic grip where you simply grab the barbell with both hands facing the same direction. This grip is very comfortable and works well for most exercises, but it’s not very strong. When you work up to lifting heavy weights your fingers will start to open up and the barbell will roll out of your hands.

2) Second, is the Alternate Grip or Mixed Grip.

Mixed Grip / Alternate Grip

This is very common among powerlifters. How this grip works is you’ll hold the barbell with one hand facing forwards and the other hand facing backwards in an alternate fashion. The benefit of this grip is that as the barbell is rolling out of one hand, it is simultaneously rolling into the other hand, thus you’ll be able to hold onto heavier weight before your grip lets go.

The downside of the alternate grip is that it pulls on each side of the body differently because your hands are facing in opposite directions. However, you can balance this out by simply switching your grip with each set (i.e. alternate which hand is facing forwards and which hand is facing backwards with each set).

3) Third, is a Hook Grip.

Hook Grip

This grip is not as common as the first two, but it can be just as effective once you get used to it. How this grip works is you’ll hold the barbell with a double overhand grip. But you’ll use your thumb like a mini lifting strap by wrapping your thumb around the barbell and then your first 2-3 fingers around your thumb. This is a stronger version of the double overhand grip. A lot of Olympic weightlifters use this grip for the clean & jerk and snatch. The only downside to the hook grip is that it’s painful at first. You’ll need to toughen up your thumb in order to handle the strain of being pulled on during the lift. But with practice you can master it.

Check out my YouTube video below to see a demo of each of these grips.

What is your favorite grip? Please let me know in the comments below…

About The Author


Lee Hayward is a former competitive bodybuilder and muscle building coach who has been online coaching people since 1997. His work has been featured in several international magazines such as: FLEX, Muscle Insider, Muscle Mag International, Testosterone, Ironmag, and Forbes. Lee's main focus right now is with helping men over 40 - who don't want to be fat anymore - lose the gut, build muscle, and get back in shape. If you're ready to "Start Again" for the last time and finally build a lean healthy body that you can be proud of, just e-mail Lee to discuss a realistic action plan that's right for you...


  • Peter Zimmermann

    The hook grip is with palms facing backwards, right?

    • No, you would do the hook grip with an overhand grip. I just demonstrated it with my hand the other way so I was facing the camera and you could see how the fingers wrap around the thumb.

  • What is your favorite grip to use when doing heavy deadlifts?
    Please let me know in the comments below…

  • Joe Newville

    Most often the mixed grip, to maximize weight. A lot of times I’ll work the double overhand until the weight gets to be too much, just to help build grip strength before switching to mixed.

  • Joe Newville,

    I do that myself. I’ll start my warm up sets with double overhand and then when I can’t hold on any longer I’ll switch to a mixed grip.

  • Satyaki Bhattacharya

    Recently I have shifted to hook grip and it is magical.

  • mixed grip for me so I can lift more weights.

  • prosenjit

    my grip is failing with 90 KG only,(72 KG bw),i started to use hook grip,i didnt feel much pain in thumbs (but my thumb skin tore however after some reps),maybe the weight is too low,thats why.i am using hook grip regularly now,as it is very comfortable for my elbow,bicep and shoulders.I love the grip