How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count The Ways: DeadLifts

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, — I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! — and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

— Elizabeth Barret Browning.

Who amoung you who really cares, can’t relate a good set of deadlifts to all of that?

…It’s a long history but I eventually worked myself up to 325# for 5 reps, back almost a year and a half ago. Here’s a video of 305# for 4. Somewhere along the way, I got an injury—a cervical herniation—that put me down like nothing else, ever. Here’s the this and that of all of that:

I must mention both Dr. kurt harris and Dr. Doug McGuff. Early on, they both tuned me into Dr. John Sarno. Essentially, if the pain is so intense, chronic and constant, 24×7, for weeks and months…to the point you begin plotting suicide—and how not to make a display or show of it for family members—then perhaps it’s time to look at the mind. Additionally, Kurt (a radiologist) graciously looked at my MRI imaging and confirmed the physical side of things.

Interesting thing is, it worked—and totally without fucking woo bullshit. It’s physiological. For whatever reason you should not care about, your mind decides to fuck with you by restricting oxygen at a cellular/muscular level to isolated places, and it causes oxygen deprivation and excruciating pain, which can persist for years—while a broken femur heals from pain in two weeks (hint hint). The solution? Tell your brain to fuck off. Seriously. Explicitly. In the mirror. You don’t need to “work out your problems.” Tell yourself to fuck off. Mean it. Done. It does take some weeks of such self therapy, so’s that you know you really mean it: in the mirror. Face to same face.

More direct: laugh at the pain and the pain becomes a laughing stock.

All that was a while back. I laid off heavy workouts for a good while, gained fat, bla bla bla. About this time last year I went back to the gym and dived into DLs once again. On the first day I pulled 255 for reps with no problem. I did that a few times in a few weeks. Then, we took a trip to the cabin and in getting ready to turn our vacation home into a vacation rental, I worked for a solid day with my arms above my head cleaning ceilings, light fixtures, etc….and the very next day the same pain was back with a vengeance.

What was the real cause???

It was just as powerful and debilitating as before. I had no idea what was in store and at the time, I was slated for both The 21 Convention in Orlando and AHS at UCLA. I contemplated canceling both. I continued to nurse my woulds, gain fat, and wax miserable. Then, I took note of something. The pain went away, and it did so without me doing much in the way of Sarno-esque, “Fuck you, Richard,” affirmations in the mirror. It was about 2-3 weeks. Gone. I suspect it had something to do with no longer having any fear or trepidation in the matter and I kinda just dismissed the pain much of the time in spite of the intensity.

So, I ended up doing my deals: The 21 Conv and AHS. I didn’t look good at all, but made the best of it and was well received.

Since then, I have been very gun-shy about the whole thing in terms of heavy lifting. I essentially didn’t work out for months. A few months back, I got kettlebells. I really didn’t treat them as formal workouts. Rather, it was 5 minutes here, 5 there, maybe a couple of times per day, or none at all some days. I really like that informality and it will continue. However, whatever it was I did—probably with the 45 pounder—the whole deal came back. But and but: way, way less than before. It was only annoying, and it didn’t really affect sleep and such. Zero suicidal thoughts. It went away in a couple of weeks or so, and it’s been a couple of weeks since I haven’t had a single symptom.

…And so, yesterday was: how-do-I-love-thee-let-me-count-the-ways day. It wasn’t planned. Beatrice and I just decided to head to the swim club around 4:30 and I said to myself: I’m going to fucking do dead lifts.

135# x 10. Kittens could do that, and so did the kitten in me. OK, let’s load 25 per side, for 185# total. Whoa. That’s easy. I took it to 5 reps, rested a bit, did another 5. There’s no wind in the gym, so caution sticks around. After a good rest, I thought that 205# would be doable. So I loaded it up and did 5 more reps; pretty damn easy. I put a cherry on top with 400# on the leg press. Two sets for 10 reps each. Piece of cake. Then I went in the pool, the 13ft side for 40 minutes, legs crossed, treading water, arms only (very easy for me: all my life).

Here’s the thing: all reps were done double overhand grip. This, I owe to Clifton Harski. I had a great steak and salad lunch with him in Los Gatos after AHS last fall…talked about my troubles, my injury, and he immediately nodded his head. He’d seen this before. His advice was something that would likely have not dawned on me ever, because I’m simply not deep into the details of physical training. He said: do only double overhand on deadlifts, and lock your arms “outwards.”

When you think of it, the evolutionary logic makes sense. We’re a system. We evolved in such a way that muscle groups are in concert. Or: our arms can do things our legs can’t; our feet can do things our hands can’t…and all which ways around the mulberry bush.

It seemed like a sensible thing to me, since my forearms and hands, and arms, ultimately, are the endpoint on the bar: to not let the far more massive muscles of my glutes, back and legs injure my far more tender assets—but also far more brainy assets.

It’s a simple concept:

The weakest link in your system is your limit.

In deadlift, that’s your grip. Yea, a reverse grip gets the job done, but it’s interesting to see where all competitors in this deal lift comp failed. Many got into the 400s, some into the 500s, but every single one failed eventually on grip, not on what their butt, back and legs could do.

And so, with an abundance of caution I go forth. I still want to pull a 500# deadlift in my lifetime. I’m 51, and I want to be able to pull 500# when I’m 60, and I’m willing to take it slow and easy. But, when, and if, I do, it will be double overhand.

The way I look at it, my ability to grip is the weakest link, and as such, is what just might keep the rest of my body safe to progress for as long as it takes for my grip to strengthen over time. Moreover, I think that realization has a lot of application in the entire workout and lifting industry.

Don’t shortcut the weak link.

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More


  1. Mark Bender on June 26, 2012 at 14:13

    Hey, my buddy has his own gym out in San Diego and just wrote an article about Deadlifts that has been getting some attention on various social networking sites. Figured I’d go ahead and link it for you here as it certainly pertains to the topic of this post.

    • Richard Nikoley on June 26, 2012 at 14:39


      I take very serious note of this:


      #4: You Look Up

      By far and away the biggest injury risk is cervical hyperextension as it’s a very sensitive part of your spine that takes ages to heal.

      To show you how serious this is I want you to try a quick exercise with me. Stand up at your desk and look straight up at the ceiling.

      Feels awkward, right? You can physically feel your neck pinching and all you are doing is just standing there looking up. Now picture that exact feeling while trying to move two to four hundred pounds. Something bad is probably going to happen, right?


      I pretty much figure this is what happened to me.

      Never, ever have this happen, people. That it takes ages to heal is not the worst part. It is the most agonizing pain in whichever trap and delt it manifests in, and it’s 24×7 serious agonizing ache for months.

    • Evan on June 26, 2012 at 16:14

      the head angle is probably the thing that surprised me the most when I first taped my own lifts, with squats and deadlifts of course. when you visually see your own body/neck/spine craned in such a way you just know its wrong

    • Russ on June 27, 2012 at 04:30

      As a fitness professional myself I’ve sat and bit my tongue on a few posts regarding such – most recently the kettlebell posts and your comments that followed regarding hand wringing over gettting actual professional instruction on how to properly use them. I try not to be a troll I suppose. Frankly the majority of my sessions are spent ‘fixing’ people who have hurt themselves using poor movement patterns etc. Shoulders, knees, hips etc. We are an othropedic mess in this country at the moment. People will spend money on health & fitness, it just depends on whether it’s proactively by getting massages, training instruction, etc. or reactively but visiting the doctor and the accompanying co-pays, being pumped full of medication, etc.

      I’m curious now as to if your perspective has changed on that matter at all?

      A good coach would have quickly corrected something basic as maintaining a neutral spine while performing the deadlift as well as the kettlebell swing, as they are both the same ‘hip-hinge’ movement pattern. Chances are the pain resurfaced after the kettlebell workouts for the same reason – you lost neutral spine and kept your head up while the bell was swinging back. It’s a common mistake and why we first teach the movement using a pieve of PVC pipe or dowel of sometime requiring contact at the head, thoracic spine, and sacrum – quite self correcting. If you lose any of those 3 contact points as you move through the movement it’s wrong and gives you immediate feedback.

      While there is probably truth in the position that a man should be able to figure these things out on his own and it not being rocket science etc…..seems quite often if one wasn’t too prideful to seek out professional assistance here and there they could achieve the same result minus the pain, frustration, and doctor co-pays you have experienced. Efficiency.

      In the end I’m happy you have seemingly found the cause of your misery and I wish you the best in your jounrney to that 500# deadlift!

    • Richard Nikoley on June 27, 2012 at 07:55

      Hey Russ

      2 things. First, I was under a pro trainer for all my deadlifts. I was always told to look up when pulling and apparently this is wrong. Second, I tend to doubt that had I not sustained that injury in the first place that it would have been aggravated by the bells.

      At any rate, I am definitely taking it easy. Just got a message from Clifton Harski who’ll be in my area in a couple of weeks and has offered to drop by for some Kettlebell instruction.

    • Russ on June 27, 2012 at 08:18

      I certainly understand the mindset you’ve had when you had an experience such as you had with a professional giving incorrect advice. There are bad and good trainers just as there are good or bad doctos, paleo bloggers, etc. It is tough knowing how to and when exactly you may have found one.

      That doesn’t mean the trainer you had was bad. I myself used to coach the same head up posture early in my career. But the best of us continually evolve and educate ourselves and most importantly aren’t afraid to admit when we were wrong in the past and make the necessary changes. Hopefully that individual has done this for himself and his clients sake over time.

      You should look up to some degree as you stand up, the trick or rub of it is that it should be done with your eyes and NOT your head. If that makes sense.

      I would tend to agree that you wouldn’t have gotten as serious of a flair up as you experienced from kettlebells if no previous injury existed – if any at all. That however does not mean it would still be correct or a good thing to perform swings with the head up. Research with baseball and tennis players has shown as high as 40% of those who recieved MRI’s showing partial or full-thickness tears of the rotator cuff were ASYMPTOMATIC.

      Dysfunction starts well before your body begins to cry out in pain.

    • Richard Nikoley on June 27, 2012 at 08:27

      My trainer was good as far as your average gym stuff goes. I was his only client doing DLs and Squats to any real degree.

    • Russ on June 27, 2012 at 08:39

      ..and you’ll be in great hands with Cliff. The RKC and HKC distinctions are the only ones I impilicity trust when it comes to physical training. The rest are just regurgitation of out of date text books with no practical requirement to deem one’s self a ‘professional’…

      Part of why finding a good trainer is difficult for a lot of people…low barrier of entry. In many instances I agree with your rambling about government, but I sure wish we had some sort of licensure that could weed out many of the unqualified folks bastardizing everything.

      The devil becomes who sets those standards right!

    • fred hahn on June 27, 2012 at 09:08

      That’s why it’s important to do neck work. A good Nautilus 4 way neck is important to use.

  2. CHUCK on June 26, 2012 at 14:05

    now you are getting into my area of expertise. i train deadlift a lot and go double overhand as much as possible. those guys you linked to were using a 2″ bar with no knurling. very different than a powerlifting bar with knurling. i suspect having your grip be your weak link would protect the rest of your body but you did get the same issue with a 45# kb.

    personally, i love training grip. strong hands = strong person.

    • Richard Nikoley on June 26, 2012 at 14:10


      More info: I happen to have a solidly ectomorph frame, big chest and such. Germanic. But I have very tender, slim forearms and hands. My grandfather used to marvel at the delicateness of my long slender fingers… (he was an artist and fisherman).

      Hey, it’s what I got. Now I have to work with it.

    • chuck on June 26, 2012 at 20:21

      i have skinny hands too but i’ve emphasized grip in the last year with big returns. grip work is something that is fun and kinda bad ass without the risk of big, debilitating injuries. as with anything, listen to your body and give it the time it needs.

  3. Luke on June 26, 2012 at 14:19

    Great post. I’m quite smitten with the ol’ Deadlift as well. You may be aware that the deadlift was called “the Health Lift” back in the day when it first became mainstream.

    Question on your grip– You mentioned grip is your weakest point. Anatomically, the pinky and ring fingers provide a lot of extra grip strength, so I like to focus on those. The mixed grip seems easiest since it counters rotational torque the best. I agree, that asymmetrical torque on the shoulder & neck isn’t great, but I alternate sides, so in a given workout, the forces are well-matched. When I do the overhand grip, the barbel feels like it’s going to roll out of my hand, and I haven’t been able to master the weird-feeling thumb-lock grip. I don’t see why the mixed grip is so bad–it increases your ability to maximally load, because it negates rotational torque on the bar. I get your perspective, though–the overhand grip acts as a natural rev-limiter so that you don’t overload the rest of the body. But…how many powerlifters have safely mastered the mixed grip to put up big numbers?

    Another neat deadlift trick: A super-heavy partial in the top 3″-4″ of range will help you get neurologically ready for heavier deadlifts. Missed lifts are often neurological rather than pure strength deficits.

    I too would like to pull #500 someday. I’m 37, and #150 body weight and have only really been toying with the deadlift for a year or so. I can pull #325 for reps most days, and have been known to pull up #365 for heavy doubles. I hope to crack 400 this year.

    • Richard Nikoley on June 26, 2012 at 14:45

      “The mixed grip seems easiest since it counters rotational torque the best. I agree, that asymmetrical torque on the shoulder & neck isn’t great, but I alternate sides, so in a given workout, the forces are well-matched.”

      Ah, you missed the point.

      I know all of this and alternated as well, even sometimes intra-set (with each rep). The point was that I can lift far more when the bar is not going to roll. Again, the video. Where did they fail? It was not on the lift in terms of the raw strength, per se, but what they could grip without biophysical workarounds.

      The point I’m making is that that the reverse grip allowed me to advance perhaps far quicker than I should have. Or, perhaps it was bad form. At any rate, I’m going to use my weakest link as a gauge for the time being.

  4. Todd on June 26, 2012 at 14:45

    I have always used a double-overhand grip because the mixed feels weird to me. I think the deadlift is my favorite lift (pull/chin up too) because it seems to be the most practical lift, and it’s all encompassing.

    I like the Captain of Crush grippers and extension bands for one of the avenue’s of grip strength. Static holds for 10-20 seconds can feel like an entire body workout sometimes.

    • Richard Nikoley on June 26, 2012 at 14:49

      I actually saw this 20-somthin’ dude in the gym yesterday doing…get this….isolated forearm curls, with like a 15 pounder. I just wished I had had a set of pink spandex tights to go over and hand him.

    • Mountain on June 26, 2012 at 15:08

      You should keep a pair of pink spandex tights in your gym bag at all times for these occasions like this =)

    • Richard Nikoley on June 26, 2012 at 15:14

      Excellent advice, I hate shopping, but I may make an exception.

      I’ll chock it as being for the children.

  5. Ted Walther on June 26, 2012 at 15:11

    Richard, have you tried micro-weights? Add an ounce or two at every workout. Mike Brown sells a product you can add to your barbell, let’s you completely control the weight. It is two cannisters. Well worth it. I’m doing the same thing with a hollow dumbell right now. Until I hit my limits, I’m adding 1/2 pound per day. My gains are coming in nicely, and no soreness the next day. No injuries either. My dumbell has a 2 inch handle, so I’m also building up my grip strength at the same time.

    Check this out:

    • Richard Nikoley on June 26, 2012 at 15:17


      I’m old school and kinda like soreness, and I don’t exclude the male member, either.

    • Richard Nikoley on June 26, 2012 at 15:21

      That said, whatever works for just not going to micro manage, I feel I have a beed on my injury now, so hopefully manageable. Once I get my DL into a solid 8-10 rep range, progress will be another 10 pounds when I can do 10. I was at a 3-5 rep range before, ala Berkhan. I hold nothing back from him, but he hasn’t hit 30 yet and I’m 50, so I can still work his basic ethic but just on a lighter note,

    • rob on June 26, 2012 at 15:45

      I’m joining you in the 50 club in three months, when I was young I always knew exactly what my 1 rep maximum was, now I have no idea, if I’m not confident I can lift it at least 5x then to hell with it.

      I’ve stuck with the CT and it has helped a lot, I use Ace cold compresses, got five of them in the freezer, use them twice a day on joints.

    • Richard Nikoley on June 26, 2012 at 15:53


      I have to think this is smart movish. We want to lift as long as we live. The older, the longer the recovery, the more lost time, the more wasted time and all the hot chicks lose interest 🙂

      Yep, I would shy away from 1RM at my age, even though I think I could probably pull mid-300s if I had to, over 400 if my life depended on it. But that’s speculation and I have time. I want to enjoy every second of it to the max and sensible heavy DLs help. And c’mon, how many workday guys could even do my kitten pul for 10?

      Most men are pussies, now. Don’t be one.

    • josef on June 27, 2012 at 07:23

      A cheaper solution is to buy large washers at a hardware store.

  6. Evan on June 26, 2012 at 16:23

    interesting take, grip preference aside, it makes me cringe thinking about those people who dl using those straps.

  7. Bill Strahan on June 26, 2012 at 17:55

    I started reconsidering the opposing or alternating grip when I looked at how many biceps tears occur on the reversed arm while deadlifting! That sad, you might consider working on an olympic style hook grip. I can deadlift 445 now, but can do one arm deads at 275 using a hook grip. Fun stuff.

    Also, I just ordered a parallel grip deadlift bar. It puts a bit more emphasis on the legs and results in a little less stress on the back. I’m going to play with it and decide. Like you, I have a long term goal of a 500 pound deadlift, but I don’t really train it any more. If I keep squatting my deadlift stays about the same or gets a little better, so I’m going to use the parallel grip bar once or twice a month, squat heavy 3-5 times a month and I’ll retest my straight bar deadlift every 3-6 months.

    I also like to put the goals in bodyweight terms. I could probably kill that 500 pound deadlift by going on a mass gain program and accepting 25% bodyfat as I packed on muscle. So instead I like to think of a 2.5X bodyweight deadlift being pretty dang good and a 3X would be awesome. Paltry numbers for powerlifters, but absolute strength is just one set of goals. Speed, endurance, agility, etc. would all suffer if I pursued the powerlifts exclusively.

    Hope you’ll take a look at the parallel grip bars, I think you might find it useful if you’re having some back issues. You can always keep it at your gym and take it with you if you leave. 🙂

    • Richard Nikoley on June 26, 2012 at 20:29

      My gym does have a parallel grip bar in the corner. I will wait a while before considering it. Perhaps later, after I’m in the high 200s with the straight overhand grip.

      Wow do I. Feel good today, nothing like the day after DLs.

    • Bill Strahan on June 27, 2012 at 06:47


      One other thing I forgot to mention: Have you read about the neurological stress of heavy deadlifts? I’ve come across a lot of information that lines up with my experience that it’s such a large stress that it’s easy to overdo the frequency. I found a couple of times that if I trained deadlift every week I would eventually stall and get weaker. Laying off 2-3 weeks would have me stronger than before I laid off.

      I guess at 45 I can put myself in the “older guys” camp, but for us older guys who don’t recover like a teenager, it’s probably even more important to keep intense deadlift training to no more than 2-3 times per month.

      I worked with Martin Berkhan as well, and what I noticed was I improved consistently until deadlifts would stall, and within a week or two everything else would stall as well. No reflection on his work, he’s spot on in my opinion, but the athlete has to be able to determine when they’re overtrained. Later I started tracking morning resting pulse, and that gave me the info I needed to see it coming, but I’m really spiraling off topic now. 🙂

    • Richard Nikoley on June 27, 2012 at 08:02

      I can’t recall the frequency but I do specifically recall Martin talking about DLs and squats that when one buils to the point where they’re very heavy and a significant CNS stressor that it’s more like once every 2 weeks. I think for DLs (he’s 600+) he was talking something like every 19 days.

  8. Marc on June 26, 2012 at 18:23

    Just a side note on “grip” training.

    Years ago, my martial arts teacher had us train grip the following way. On Sunday save your “sunday newspaper”
    split the paper in half…half for the left hand half for the right. Take one sheet of paper and lay it in the center of your palm. work the sheet in to a tight ball in you your hand using all your fingers than discard and switch hands. Once you can manage to crumble an entire NY Times, you will have a grip that rivals that of pipe welders and iron workers.

    the suicide reference got me sad and made me flashback….I’ve been there and it’s no joke. When joints, vodka and pain killers don’t work, something is truly fucked up. 🙂


  9. Asclepius on June 27, 2012 at 02:08

    Interesting post. FWIW I’ve always DL’d with a double overhand grip. Alternate grip always felt like it was twisting me pulling me forwards toward my out-turned hand. I’d partially assumed this was due to my years of climbing – a sport which obviously favours ‘overhand’ movement.

    As an aside, climbers have found that finger strength is quite grip specific (there are broadly three positions climbers train; Open Hand, Open Crimp and Closed Crimp). If you want a good grip in the DL then try pull ups without wraps.

    If you want a grip of steel then try one arm chins allowing your shoulder to fully open at the bottom of the movement (you might need to start at a pull-up station to assist you).

    • Asclepius on June 28, 2012 at 08:40

      Another good way of working on grip strength is rope climbing (with a L-Sit straddle).

  10. Andy on June 27, 2012 at 06:35

    What’s peoples take on traditional lifts vs what Anthony Johnson is doing with “Body by science” and focus on injury prevention etc. Worth it or no?

    • Darin on June 27, 2012 at 08:10

      I switched to the “Big 5” as describe in Body By Science 2 years ago and have been thrilled with the results.

      I can’t believe all the unnecessary time I wasted in the gym for 15+ years for the inferior results I have received compared to the Big 5 workout which takes about 15 minutes a week.

      All the extra time I now have I use playing racquetball, basketball and hiking. Much more enjoyable.

    • Richard Nikoley on June 27, 2012 at 08:23

      I cnt recall what the big 5 is, but I’m in roughly the same sort of place, once or twice per week.

      One day is just DLs and leg presses, takes maybe 10-15 minutes, depending on how much rest between sets.

      Next day is standing press, weighted chins, maybe some bench but on the lighter side, and upright cable rows. Another 15 min or so.

    • Richard Nikoley on June 27, 2012 at 08:24

      And the Kettlebell stuff in the backyard is more for play, 5 min here, 5 there, no schedule, no must do.

  11. Timothy on June 27, 2012 at 14:55

    Richard, I love this! I know you’re going to have 500 some day. Respect for sticking with double overhand.

    Do you still squat? And have you ever tried swinging a sledgehammer? Kettlebell on a stick, y’know…

  12. Richard Nikoley on June 27, 2012 at 16:21


    I only squat light, for fun, not to matter much. I seem to not have a body well designed for it of, I’m too much of a pussy lazy ass to figure it out.

    But I love the incline leg press and I can do 600-800 in my sleep. 400-500 for reps. It takes all the trouble out of what I experience with squats so I’m just going to take my vagina home and go with it.

    • Timothy on June 27, 2012 at 16:31

      No apologetics necessary, those leg press numbers are the next best thing. Besides, I know you’ll make up for it on the deads!

    • RobW on June 29, 2012 at 07:02

      I have to make a plea for the low-bar squat to be included in every strength-based workout. (Mark Rippetoe makes the case here and explains it’s usefulness: The fact that you can train it heavy 3x a week (for at least a few months) is also helpful, since as mentioned previously, the deadlift is a monstrous CNS hit which generally has to be spaced out a week or more at a time between workouts. And, since it trains similar muscles to the deadlift, it is also a driver of progress for that very lift.
      If you don’t wish to do the reverse grip, you could always attempt the hook grip that Bill mentioned above. It’s a real bastard until you get used to it, but it allows a double overhand grip.
      After a year of serious strength training, I am hoping by next month to pull a quarter ton by age 35. I wish you the best on your goal. There is little like a big deadlift to make you feel like a beast.

  13. marie on June 27, 2012 at 20:21

    O.k., this is clearly the place for me to ask this question (and apologies for the estrogen interjection here) : when I consistently work on grip strength (mainly pull-ups, spring-grips and chinese music balls) I see rapid gains But my hands get so ‘tight’ that I can’t reach the span to play ‘moonlight sonata’ (yes, I know…but this is a real problem for me).
    So, does anyone know how to also keep the stronger hands supple? Am I doing something wrong, should the hand not be getting tighter across the palm? Any suggestions, I’d be thankful.

    • Richard Nikoley on June 27, 2012 at 20:29

      Sorry, I have no idea, Marie.

    • marie on June 27, 2012 at 20:47

      🙁 . Oh well, it was worth a shot, thanks for considering.

    • Todd on July 1, 2012 at 19:31

      When I bought my first two captains of crush grippers I felt tightness in my hands too. I went ahead and bought their extension bands (thin to thick rubber bands basically) and it has helped balance out my hand/forearms.

      Maybe try using rubberbands as a substitute and see how it goes before you buy a set.

    • marie on July 6, 2012 at 22:38

      Thank you Todd! I’ll look into the bands.

  14. Mark on June 28, 2012 at 04:12

    I started with the double over hand grip but switched to the mixed grip
    when I started getting over 300 pounds. The mixed grip solved the problem
    of the bar rolling. I then managed to pop my lower back attempting 370#. I was
    a bit freaked at first but it popped back into place a couple of days later and I was
    back in the gym about ten days later. This was a definite wake up call not to sacrifice
    form in attempting a 1 rep max.

    I backed off the weight but kept the mixed grip and now
    seem to have strained my bicep on the hand that is turned up.
    I don’t switch hands on the grip. I have now gone back to the
    double over handed grip and am working on grip strength.
    I have been doing fireman walks with heavy dumbells and that
    seems to help. I’m grateful to hear other pointers on developing grip

    I am also looking for a way to develop lower back strength as this
    seems to be the other weak link in the chain. Just yesterday a friend
    suggested Good Mornings so I will start giving those a try.

    As a 45 year old, I find there is nothing like DL and squat to keep one feeling
    young and flushed with the natural production of testosterone. Richard, glad to
    hear you are back into the deadlift and
    kudos on your goal of 500. I will be happy to get up to 400 with
    good form.

    • Asclepius on June 28, 2012 at 04:29

      @Mark – I put a few headstand reverse leg lifts in to my training to work the lower back (see the first photo sequence in this article for an idea –

      Planches and back lever progressions will also strengthen your lower back (as well as your shoulder girdle).

    • Richard Nikoley on June 28, 2012 at 08:01

      Thanks for weighing in, Mark. Yep, shot cutting that natural limitation of grip strength seems to have consequences for some, especially us older guys for whom heavier DLs are a relatively new thing. Perhaps if I had been doing them since my 20s it would be different, but the first DL of my life was when I was about 48.

  15. josef on June 28, 2012 at 12:30

    Weight training injuries can be a bitch. Unfortunately, some of us are more susceptible than others.

    I have suffered in this order a rotator cuff injury from bench press, a meniscus tear from squat and more recently – Thanksgiving 2009 – a bulging disk from deads.

    I gave up weight training and instead do three times a week interval training – alternating bike and elliptical – followed by a pullup/dip combo ladder style, currently up to 70 reps.

    This little routine keeps me in good shape.

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