You can instantly add up to 20 pounds to your struggling deadlift–without wrist straps or gloves.

The first thing to disintegrate for many people during the deadlift for many is the grip. When many people perform heavy, compound movements, the weakest muscle is ALWAYS the first to fail.

With deadlifts, grip strength determines whether you hit a personal best or fail miserably. In a nutshell, a strong grip equals a strong deadlift.

When All Else Fails

Grip position is crucial to a successful deadlift. Many will step up to the bar, bend down and grab the bar without concern for hand position. The bar may come up successfully, but it won’t budge once weight is added.

If you do get the bar up, it will most likely roll out of your hands. This is why your grip can help you get 10-20 pounds more on your personal bests.

Introducing The “Mixed Grip”

If you’ve been in a rut, try a mixed grip on the bar. Meaning, one hand is over the bar and the other is under the bar – much like a barbell curl. Everything else in the setup is exactly the same.

Why Does This Work?

With a traditional deadlift, grip gives as the bar gets heavier – eventually rolling out of your hands. With the mixed grip, weight is distributed differently across the entire bar.

Since most people can pull better from a underhand position, lifting the bar becomes easier.

In the real world: I once witnessed a young woman fail 185 pounds using a traditional grip. After “mixing,” she lifted 205 pounds easily.

Next time in the gym, try switching your grip. Don’t get caught up in which hand is over and which is under. Practice using both hands in the under position for a stronger deadlift.

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.