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Old 08-30-2011, 12:51 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by BendtheBar View Post
I have to tell you Jim, I always suspected that my grip was actually getting stronger with straps. This is controversial I know, but I was able to use heavier weights more frequently and my forearms and grip were still taxed very hard.

I suffer from severe carpal tunnel so my strap use was primarily to prevent waking up each morning without feeling in my hands.

If you're never going to compete, I am 100% an advocate of straps. If you are going to compete, then I would use straps and keep a keen eye on your grip strength from time to time.
Just a follow up question Steve, and to any others that care to chime in. In your opnion, does the use of straps on a deadlift make the lift any less than what it is, especially in the powerlifting community? I ask this, because once a respected member on another forum posted up a comment in a thread about deads that a deadlift is not a real deadlift if straps are used. This really bothered me, even tho I use straps due to a medical condition. BTW, I didn't know you have CTS.
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Old 08-30-2011, 01:09 PM   #22
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Another angle to the straps/grip argument:

There's quite a compelling argument to support that when the grip fails it is actually an indicator of form breakdown elsewhere. Typically a follow-on effect from the upper back failing.

I know this sounds ass-backwards but hear me out. When looking at a lifters technique and deciphering where they are 'weak', the body can be quite hard to interpret. Sometimes what looks like one bodypart failing is in fact just the signal that form breakdown is occurring across the body.

The grip is a good example of this: Your grip begins to fail and the body's first response is to go into a bear hug...the shouders pitch forward, the upper back rounds, and the buck stops at the low back. The upper back failing can cause the grip to fail and the grip slipping can cause the upper back to round also.

The following is from a discussion I had on the topic some 9 years ago:

"Losing grip will tend to cause upper back rounding as the lifter attempts to regain grip. Upper back rounding itself can cause a weakened grip. i.e., both upper back rounding and grip weakening are potentially capable of causing the other.

If this is true, then losing grip is a sign that either form is breaking down, or form is about to break down. Losing grip can then be a signal to terminate the set for safety."


To tie this back in with what Steve has experienced. He may well have been a candidate for a 'relatively' weak upper back. Strengthening his upper back via the use of overload by the straps, allowing him to lift weights he might not have done without straps has improved his deadlift, without him suffering any ill-effects from the straps taking up the slack.
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Old 08-30-2011, 02:58 PM   #23
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To me it's simple, if the grip limits heavy rep work on the deadlift then use some straps. I don't use the deadlift as a grip builder, it has a bigger focus.
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Old 08-30-2011, 03:21 PM   #24
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Maybe it was because the straps I used sucked but I failed on 135kg on DL with straps and a few weeks later made 140kg with no straps and no grip issues.
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Old 08-30-2011, 03:50 PM   #25
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Just a follow up question Steve, and to any others that care to chime in. In your opnion, does the use of straps on a deadlift make the lift any less than what it is, especially in the powerlifting community? I ask this, because once a respected member on another forum posted up a comment in a thread about deads that a deadlift is not a real deadlift if straps are used. This really bothered me, even tho I use straps due to a medical condition. BTW, I didn't know you have CTS.
I get a lot of comments on the use of my straps while deadlifting. It bothers me some, but I trust in my knowledge of my own body.

Training in the gym isn't powerlifting. Powerlifting is powerlifting. There are some movements I can't do at all without straps. I could do 250 pound one arm dumbbell rows, but I can't do them without straps. I don't care. I'm probably one arm dumbbell rowing the deadlift of the guy criticizing me.

As long as you are getting stronger, and doing what you need to do to keep your body in good health, then feel good about your accomplishments. My grip was so incredibly strong on my pulls this weekend that it shocked me a bit.
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Old 08-30-2011, 03:51 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Fazc View Post
To tie this back in with what Steve has experienced. He may well have been a candidate for a 'relatively' weak upper back. Strengthening his upper back via the use of overload by the straps, allowing him to lift weights he might not have done without straps has improved his deadlift, without him suffering any ill-effects from the straps taking up the slack.
Excellent post.

I didn't start lifting real heavy back work until about 2 years ago. In that time my rows have rocketed up. I also never deadlifting seriously until late 2007.

My upper back strength went up substantially in the last several years.
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Old 08-31-2011, 12:28 AM   #27
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I used to use straps, but haven't for the past year and a half or so. I guess the thing that keeps me strapless is that would become a variable for me on meet day (should I ever compete). I'd like to be able to go into the meet having dress rehearsed everything dozens of times. The flip side of the coin is that in a PL meet, you're looking at pulling a single rep. Whereas my current training is almost all medium to low rep work. I find that my grip has NEVER failed on the initial pull, but as I've gotten deeper into a set.

Very good opening post BTB, and very good discussion everyone!
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Old 08-31-2011, 06:37 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by BendtheBar View Post
I get a lot of comments on the use of my straps while deadlifting. It bothers me some, but I trust in my knowledge of my own body.

Training in the gym isn't powerlifting. Powerlifting is powerlifting. There are some movements I can't do at all without straps. I could do 250 pound one arm dumbbell rows, but I can't do them without straps. I don't care. I'm probably one arm dumbbell rowing the deadlift of the guy criticizing me.

As long as you are getting stronger, and doing what you need to do to keep your body in good health, then feel good about your accomplishments. My grip was so incredibly strong on my pulls this weekend that it shocked me a bit.
I couldnt agree more! You have been training long enough to know what works for you. Nothing wrong with taking advice, infact everyone should listen to people to some degree. At the end of the day though, its what works for YOU!
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Old 08-31-2011, 07:14 AM   #29
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I find Fazc's comment interesting. I've only started deadlifting any serious weights in the last month, as I've been training my wife in powerlifting. When I got up into what were for me heavy weights, I had no grip issues whatsoever even though I was using sumo style with no gnurling on the bar and no chaulk, whereas my wife kept losing her grip over and over. Even though I haven't been dead lifting, I've trained my back much more than the average guy, including plenty of heavy rows and pull/chinups, so upper back strength for me is definitely a non-issue.
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Old 08-31-2011, 10:15 AM   #30
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I really appreciate all the insightful replies above guys. I have one variable that I have to deal with and that is my tremors. My tremors are so bad sometimes I cannot even sign my name. The meds I am on now control the tremors,(and conrol my high blood pressure) which enables me to deadlift raw, but decreases my metabolism to a slow crawl, which is why I have to do tons of cardio on my cut.

Even ignoring my tremor issue, it is a great feeling I can go and smash the occasional super heavy set single of deads using my versagripps and still be proud of my lift. I will go ahead and do as many of my working sets raw and see how far I can get and if need be, strap up without any guilt.

Sharing all you experiences above has really meant alot to me. Thank you.
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