Sick of your grip slipping during deadlifts? You can solve this problem–and without gloves or straps.

Say No to Gloves During the Deadlift

Do not wear gloves. Otherwise, this teaches your hands to rely on something between your hands and the bar. Ditch the gloves altogether, and yes, you’re going to develop calluses. Deal.

Ditching the gloves means you’ll need to go down in weight. Yes, do so, but then you’ll be back to the glove weight in no time, with a stronger grip.

When you perform deadlifts, make a point of gripping tightly, even more than you have to (like during warm-ups with a lighter barbell). CONCENTRATE on applying a superhuman grip on the bar, even during warm-ups.

Make sure that the bar has decent traction in the gripping areas. Some bars are designed to be smoother than others; the smoother ones are lousy for gripping.

IMPORTANT: The above instructions must be done with both an underhand grip for some sets, and an overhand grip for other sets.

Avoid the mixed grip during the warmups!

It’s time to use the mixed grip when you reach a weight for which you can pull completely for one or two reps ONLY with either an underhand grip or overhand grip.

The next weight UP from this, then, will be your first set with the mixed grip, which is what you should do once the weight gets too heavy to use an underhand or overhand grip.

But do not warm up with the mixed grip; it’s pointless for warmups and will not help you avoid slipping at heavier loads.

Farmer Walks

Do farmer’s walks with heavy dumbbells and hold straight-armed at your sides, and walk around until you can no longer carry them.


If you’re walking around for several minutes, however, the weights are too light. You should be able to walk for at least 15 seconds but not more than 30 seconds. SQUEEZE your grip hard like a vice.

If you’re a woman pretend you’re Wonder Woman. If you’re a man pretend you’re the Hulk.

Don’t bother with wrist curls; they won’t do anything for improving your deadlift grip or stop your hands from slipping off the bar.

Don’t use chalk for the same reasons not to use gloves or straps. Chalk is an artificial way to stop your grip from slipping. You want your lift to be ALL YOU, not helped by chalk, gloves or the straps.

Another exercise that will help prevent your grip from slipping when doing deadlifts is the rack pull.

  • Identical to a deadlift except that the bottom portion of the movement is above floor level.
  • The level is at some point along the shin, below the knees.
  • This exercise is done at a squat cage where the height of the bottom movement can be set in place.

And finally, when doing heavy deadlifts, hold the top position for a few seconds before lowering, and lower with control.

Do not let the bar crash down.

The “negative” portion of the lift, even on the last repetition, is very important.

When the negative portion of the deadlift is done with control rather than letting the barbell slam to the floor, you will strengthen your grip even more, and this will help solve the problem of slipping hands — all without gloves.

Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified through the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained women and men of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health. 



Top image: Shutterstock/Burnt Red Hen