Deadlift Grip and Stance

Deadlift grip and stance

Before you begin the deadlift it is important to prepare your position, stance and grip.

Perfecting your deadlift grip and your deadlift stance will improve your deadlift technique, enable you to lift heavier weights and reduce your risk of injury.

Deadlift position 

When preparing for the deadlift, place the barbell directly in front of you on the ground. Place your feet under the bar about a shoulder width apart. Feet should be flat on the floor, slightly turned out, with your bodyweight evenly balanced on both feet.

The bar itself should be close so that it nearly touches (or just touches) your lower shins, with toes just under the front of the bar when looking down at the floor from above.

Deadlift stance

As you prepare to lift, your arms should be straight and your head should be up, with face directly forward. Be careful not to hunch your shoulders or pull in your chest – your chest should be pushed out with hips down and shoulders back.

It is very important that your back is straight and rigid when performing the deadlift, with no hunching or twisting. Keep your abdominals braced throughout to provide a strong centre and protect the back during the deadlift.

Once your deadlift stance is ready, squat down to grip the barbell keeping your thighs parallel with the ground. Now is the time to think about your deadlift grip.

Deadlift grip

A good deadlift grip is vital for the correct deadlifting technique. When you grasp the barbell to perform a deadlift, you can choose between different grip styles.

A deadlift grip can be an overhand grip (where both hands grip the barbell overhand, with palms facing the body), or a mixed hand grip, where one hand grips overhand and the other underhand (one hand has its palm facing the body, the other hand has its palm facing away from the body).

Overhand deadlift grip

The overhand deadlift grip may feel more natural when performing a deadlift but provides less control over the movement of the bar.

Weaker forearm strength in particular may result in rolling of the barbell and may even result in the weight falling out of your hands.

You will need a strong grip to ensure stability when using heavier weights with an overhand deadlift grip.

deadlift grip - overhand grip

Mixed grip for deadlift

The mixed grip is where one hand takes an overhand grip and the other hand takes an underhand grip. This offers more control against rolling of the barbell during the deadlift.

Many weightlifters prefer to use the overhand grip for light weights and the mixed deadlift grip for heavier weights, where more control is needed. The chance of the weight falling out of your hands is greatly reduced by using the mixed grip.

deadlift grip - mixed

Underhand grip for deadlift

A fully underhand grip should never be used when performing the deadlift as this increases the load on the bicep muscle as well as increasing risk of rolling. The underhand grip results in an uncomfortable and potentially hazardous lift.

Once you have decided whether you want to use an overhand or a mixed grip for your deadlift, grasp the barbell in your preferred style with your hands placed either side of your legs, just outside the shins.

Your thighs should be parallel to the ground at this point in a parallel squat position.

Hands should be just wider than shoulder width apart, so that they come just outside your knees at the start and finish position. You are now ready to perform the deadlift.

Read more:

Introduction to the Deadlift

Deadlift technique

Deadlift Safety

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