Losing grip (boy, that sounds dramatic)

Ran into a lot of my own limitations at the gym yesterday. I did my deadlifts with 65kg/143 pounds, great! But around the 6th rep, I lose my grip. It’s not the sweat, my hands just can’t hold the bar anymore, my thumb slips, then my fingers slowly give way. Now what to do? I guess I have a couple of options:

  • Do my 24 reps in sets of 4 (instead of sets of 3 like i do now), assume the deadlifts and other exercises I do will strengthen my grip as much as my other mucles
  • Wear gloves. A gym buddy tells me this will help me keep grip, but I’m not so sure. I’m not slipping away, I just can’t grip the weight long enough.
  • Experiment with different ways of holding the bar. Perhaps an alternating grip with one hand ‘backwards’. I tried that, and it feels very unnatural, but perhaps i should try again.
  • Add in grip-strengthening exercises. But which ones?

I don’t know, I’ll have to do more research.

If that wasn’t enough flaws to discover in one day, then it was time for lunges.

My helpful gym buddy:  Wow, could you lean any more forward?
Me: Yeah, I know I should point straight up, but I just can’t.
Me: I think it’s because I have an anterior pelvic tilt. You know, like Kim kardashian.
Gym buddy: You should fix that, your lunges are crap.
Me: What do you mean, fix? I thought it was just a characteristic like your starsign or your bodytype. Plus, my ass looks great now. Badadunk!
Gym buddy: Yeah, how’s your hernia going to look in 20 years?

Long story short, I gotta work on my pelvic tilt. My gym buddy has done a lot of back therapy and gave me useful pointer: to pull my navel to my spine. That sounds slightly unsettling, but by doing that, my lunges became a lot straighter. But if i want to untilt, I’ll need to do a lot more work than that.

Once again, back to doing research (There’s a nice article on pelvic tilt here – it only uses normal english words, not of that physical therapy speak)

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2 Responses to Losing grip (boy, that sounds dramatic)

  1. Gubernatrix says:

    There are two types of grip that will make it a lot easier to hold the bar:
    1. Alternate grip – which is I think what you are referring to above, where you have your strong hand in an overhand grip and your weak hand in an underhand grip. This may feel weird at first but will make an enormous difference to the amount you can lift.

    2. Hook grip – this is what olympic weightlifters use. Both hands are in an overhand grip but the thumb is placed over the first two fingers to trap them and hold them against the bar. It’s rather uncomfortable until you get used to it but it means that you can use a double overhand grip (which is vital in olympic weightlifting).

    I’d recommend the alternate grip for you. I also find it helpful to use chalk. This doesn’t make your grip stronger but it does help to prevent the bar slipping in your palm.

    Your instinct about gloves is right. In fact they make it harder to grip becauase they increase size of what you are gripping (which for us women with our smaller hands can make quite a difference).

    You are also right that simply continuing to train deadlifts will improve your grip as well but it’s obviously frustrating when grip holds you back from using heavier weights. I reckon alternate grip will do the trick for you but if grip is still a problem, do what you suggested above and decrease the size of your sets (you can compensate by having less rest between sets. You could even do rest-pause reps where you re-grip between every rep).

    Good luck with whatever you try!

  2. LOLfitness says:

    Wow, thanks! I’ve been getting used to the alternate grip, and with it I can squeeze a good 3-4 extra reps out of set. Great! I’ll try using my weak hand for the underhand grip tonight. I hope to hit 100% BW tonight! Chalk sounds good too, although I’m going to feel pretty silly doing that in the middle of the gym :)

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