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MIXED GRIP DEADLIFT AND MUSCLE IMBALANCE
What’s in your tool box?
Using a mixed grip (one hand pronated-one hand supinated) while performing deadlifts is a commonly used technical tool to increase grip strength in the pull. The mixed grip is much stronger than a regular double-overhand grip because it prevents the bar from rolling in your hands and opening the fingers up. However, this type of grip can lead to some serious muscle imbalances. When pulling this way you’ll always have a tendency to twist slightly as you rise up. The side of the supinated hand will tend to rotate forward while the side of the pronated hand will rotate backwards.
If you only use this type of grip every now and then it shouldn’t be a problem. But if you consistently use this type of grip with the same hand placement you are risking the development of imbalances in your biceps, traps, lats, and even lower back. Unless you change your hand placement every other time you do the mixed grip with opposite hands pronated and supinated then you will be more subjective to this issue. In order to prevent these issues from happening embrace the hook grip.
Although the hook grip can be painful and uncomfortable when first learning how to do it, it is a stronger grip than both the mixed grip and conventional double-overhand grip. Using this grip will allow you to stay muscularly balanced throughout the pull while also increasing your deadlift grip strength.
Now, you don’t have to totally throw out the mixed grip from your tool box, you just have to repurpose it for a more suitable task. This task consist of attempting to PR your deadlift. If you feel you are the strongest in the mixed grip over the hook grip and it’s going to allow you to pull the most weight off the ground then so be it. I am only saying you should neglect the mixed grip in submaximal deadlifts( <80% of 1RM, 3 or more reps). There is no reason for you to be doing a mixed grip in a workout that consists of 20 deadlifts at 50% of your 1 rep max.
Getting stronger with the hookgrip (or double overhand grip) in the deadlift will also contribute to strength in other barbell lifts such as cleans, snatches, and even pressing. In order to get stronger, you have to put yourself in your weak positions. Embrace change, embrace pain, and embrace uncomfortable. Don’t be a deadlift disaster, be a deadlift master!! Happy training!
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