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Old 07-17-2012, 08:18 PM   #20
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Max Brawn

Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: U.K
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The answer to the question, was actually lifting straps. But you just recommended them Faz! Don't interrupt me!!! I know I did, so let me explain.

In my explanation I talked about how the grip acts as somewhat of a safety valve when dealing with heavy things and our inability to pick them up. If it's too heavy causing a loss of structural integrity/form and increased risk of injury then our bodies feedback loop on this occasion is the grip and it forces it to let go.

Lifting straps forego this safety valve. Now, imagine an intensity scale which ends as 10 as supremely hard and 1 as easy (something like Tuschererererererer talks about). With intensity levels of around up to around 8-9 you're relatively safe. But when you're dealing with max effort type of weights and you include lifting straps in there you really need to know when to quit if things don't go well. For singles it isn't as much of a big deal unless you're in to pulling 10 second deadlift singles. But multiple rep sets is the big one. One of the most famous of these cases was Stuart McRobert, the guy who did a deadlift set of 20 so intensely he broke his back and then took 12 years to recover (true story). One of the main issues with that last Dead set he did was the he was locked in with lifting straps, and he grinded every single last few of his reps. His body was unable to exert it's feedback loop to force him to let go of this damn bar which was killing him. Basically to his safety valve he said FCUK YOU! Not once but many times in the space of 5 minutes or however long his set took. This resulted in not only massive trauma to his back but also three good selling books and a monthly magazine.

Another example looking at the other end of the relationship, loose grip leading to loose upper back. The current 105kg BSM and I had a conversation regarding a problem of his. We had the conversation to do with his upper back tightness when wearing straps as opposed to not wearing straps. He said for the life of himself he could not figure out why his upper back felt loose when he wore lifting straps! But we know why right? It was because mentally his body knew he didn't have to be tight when he wore straps. It allowed him to loosen up because he wasn't gripping hard. So I told him that next time he wore straps to grip the bar insanely tight, problem solved.

So the two above example show a positive relationship between grip and upper back. When one is strong the other is strong, when one is weak the other will weaken. This might give the example of equality but again, it is mostly the upper back which is the culprit as long as an alternate grip and chalk is used.


Onwards to specific questions.

Originally Posted by BendtheBar View Post
I teach using straps to improve grip strength, and that you should never let grip strength hold back your upper back strength. This is not a popular opinion, so I was hesitant to spew in your thread.
You're right for doing so, I just wouldn't recommend them for death sets.

Originally Posted by Off Road View Post
I remember David Maurice saying that when the grip fails, the form breaks down. I also remember that most of the powerlifters say that the grip is usually never a problem on max attempts. So, good points made by Faz.

Originally Posted by Kuytrider View Post
This didn't seem to make sense as chalk helped me improve by 15kg but when I failed 185kg, it was my upper back that prevented me locking out thus causing me to fail as the chalk kept my hands on the bar. Everytime I have hit deadlift PRs since or went heavy, I can feel my upper back straining first. The chalk will always keep my grip but if I keep pulling, I will injure my upper back once the weight is too much. I am working on my upper back more often now and I believe my deadlifts will benefit massively.
Exactly right. As 5kg alluded to, the chalk has allowed you to improve your grip to the point where it isn't a concern. Like I said most men who have trained for any decent length of time will not have their grip as a genuine issue as long as they alternate and use chalk. BUT the upper back straining is a definite something to work on. That will cause the grip to loosen not because it's weak but because it's a natural feedback mechanism.

Originally Posted by 5kgLifter View Post
Chalk may not have improved your lift per se but just made it easier to grip a bar with little to no slippage which then permitted you to make the lift, a load which you may have been able to make well before the chalk was applied had you used chalk; does that make sense?
Word, total sense. Green sticker for you.
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