How to Grip a Barbell

Weightlifting is not just about brute strength; it also calls for the right gripping technique. It’s imperative to master this aspect as it can make all the difference in terms of performance enhancement and injury prevention. In this article, we’ll delve into the various types of grips you can employ when holding a barbell. Each grip offers distinct advantages and poses its own considerations, making it crucial to understand them comprehensively. By honing your grip technique, you’ll improve your lifting form, amplify your strength gains, and safeguard yourself against potential shoulder problems or other injuries. Ready to embark on this journey towards discovering the optimal ways to grip a barbell? Let’s dive right in!

Double Overhand Grip

A strong and secure grip is essential when it comes to lifting weights, and one of the classic grip techniques is the Double Overhand Grip. This technique involves gripping the barbell with both palms facing towards you. It may seem like a simple grip, but it has its own benefits and considerations.

  • Improved Grip Strength: The double overhand grip forces your forearms and fingers to work harder to hold onto the bar, which helps develop your grip strength over time.
  • Balance and Symmetry: By using the same grip position for both hands, you ensure balance and symmetry in your lifting technique.

Considerations for Double Overhand Grip:

  • Grip Limitations: The double overhand grip may have limitations when it comes to lifting heavier weights. Due to the lack of leveraging effect, holding on to heavy weights for an extended period can be challenging.
  • Bar Stability: Since both palms are facing towards you, there is a higher chance of the bar rolling out of your hands during certain exercises such as deadlifts. Using chalk or lifting straps can help improve grip stability.

Tips for Double Overhand Grip:

  1. Grip Width: Start with shoulder-width or slightly wider grip width.
  2. Thumb Placement: Wrap your thumbs around the bar alongside your fingers.
  3. Hand Position: Align your hands evenly on the barbell.
  4. Squeeze & Maintain: Squeeze the bar tightly throughout each lift and maintain a consistent hold.

With proper form and technique, mastering the double overhand grip can help build forearm strength, improve gripping ability, and lay a solid foundation for more advanced grip variations.

Hook Grip

The hook grip, a technique favored by weightlifters and powerlifters alike, is a game-changer when it comes to improving barbell grip strength. Unlike the traditional grip where the thumb wraps around the bar, the hook grip involves tucking your thumb inside your fingers. This unique approach creates a tight hold on the bar that not only allows you to lift heavier weights but also reduces the chances of slippage.

One standout advantage of utilizing the hook grip is its ability to maintain a neutral wrist position. For those who struggle with wrist discomfort or limitations while using an overhand grip, this technique can be particularly beneficial. By keeping your wrist in a straighter alignment, you not only relieve stress on the joint but also ensure proper form throughout your lifts.

Using the hook grip is simple: start by placing your fingers around the barbell and then loop your thumb underneath those fingers to press against the bar. Initially, this may feel awkward or uncomfortable, but with practice, you’ll gradually adapt and appreciate the solid grasp it provides.

It’s important to note that although employing the hook grip significantly enhances your capacity to lift heavy weights, it may initially cause temporary discomfort in your thumbs as they bear more pressure compared to other grips. However, fear not! Over time, as you persist with this technique, any initial discomfort will subside as your thumbs become accustomed to it.

In addition to its gripping prowess, incorporating the hook grip into your training routine can also lead to an increase in forearm and finger strength. Since this particular grip places greater demands on these muscles during lifts, they are forced to work harder, resulting in substantial gains in overall strength.

All in all, whether you’re an athlete seeking additional support during hefty lifts or an individual grappling with hand placement difficulties due to shoulder issues, the hook grip will undoubtedly prove its worth as an effective alternative technique.

Mixed Grip

When it comes to gripping the barbell, one technique that has gained popularity is the mixed grip. This involves positioning your hands in two different ways: one hand facing up with palm supinated, and the other hand facing down with palm pronated. This unique grip provides increased stability and strength during heavy lifts, making it a go-to choice for many.

The benefits of the mixed grip are twofold. Firstly, it helps prevent the barbell from slipping out of your hands, especially during deadlifts. The supinated hand ensures a secure grip on the bar, while the pronated hand adds extra stability. This combination makes it easier to control heavier weights and reduces the risk of accidentally dropping the bar.

Secondly, using a mixed grip can help address any muscular imbalances or weaknesses you may have between your dominant and non-dominant side. By alternating which hand uses each grip, you can evenly distribute the load across both sides of your body and work towards developing balanced strength throughout.

It’s worth noting that when utilizing a mixed grip, it’s crucial to switch which hand takes on each position between sets or exercises. This practice ensures that both hands receive equal training stimulus over time, preventing potential imbalances from forming.

Now that we understand why the mixed grip is beneficial let’s dive into some tips for using this technique effectively:

Lifting Straps

When it comes to boosting my barbell grip, I’ve found that lifting straps can be a game-changer. These handy accessories provide extra support and improve grip strength, which is especially helpful for folks like me who struggle with gripping heavy weights or have problems with our wrist or shoulder joints.

One of the great things about using lifting straps is that they free up mental space to focus on working those targeted muscles instead of obsessing over maintaining a solid hold on the barbell itself. This perk really comes in handy during demanding exercises like deadlifts or rows, where grip fatigue or weakness can seriously limit performance.

To use lifting straps effectively, I start by looping them securely around my wrist and then around the barbell. It’s important not to make them too tight and restrict circulation. The strap should sit comfortably across the palm side of my hand, providing a nice tight grip on the barbell.

It’s worth noting that while lifting straps are fantastic for improving grip strength, they should never become a crutch or permanent solution. It’s crucial to continuously work on developing natural grip strength through various exercises and training techniques.

Here are some key takeaways when it comes to using lifting straps:

  • Lifting straps are an absolute game-changer for individuals who struggle with weak grip strength or have issues with their wrists and shoulders.
  • They provide that much-needed extra support and enhance your ability to maintain a strong grip during heavy lifts.
  • When using lifting straps, ensure they’re wrapped securely around your wrists and then around the barbell.
  • Remember not to solely rely on lifting straps alone but rather prioritize developing natural grip strength through other methods.

Now that we’ve gone over how amazing lifting straps are at improving your barbell grip, let’s dive into other crucial factors you should consider for maintaining an ironclad hold on that beloved barbell.

How to Train Your Grip

Training your grip is essential for improving your overall strength and performance in the gym. Whether you’re lifting heavy barbells, performing pull-ups, or gripping various equipment, having a strong grip will help you maintain control and prevent injuries. In this section, we’ll explore different methods to train your grip effectively.

Firstly, incorporating exercises that target the muscles in your hands and forearms can significantly improve grip strength. Some examples include wrist curls, farmer’s walks, plate pinches. These exercises work the extensor muscles of the forearm so that they become just as strong as the flexor muscles.

Additionally, using gripper tools or hand strengtheners can also enhance your grip strength. By squeezing these devices repeatedly for several sets, you’ll gradually build up both muscular endurance and hand dexterity.

Another beneficial approach is using thick bars or fat grips during your training sessions. These specialty bars increase the demand on your grip due to their larger circumference. As a result, working out with them challenges not only your major muscle groups but also forces you to engage smaller stabilizing muscles in your hands and forearms.

Lastly, remember to implement progressive overload into your grip training routine. Gradually increase the weight or resistance you use for each exercise over time to consistently challenge yourself and make progress.

By regularly including these grip-focused exercises and techniques in your workouts, you’ll develop a robust grip that translates into improved performance across various exercises in the gym.


What is the double overhand grip?

The double overhand grip is when both palms face towards your body and grip the barbell.

What is the hook grip?

The hook grip is when you wrap your fingers around the barbell and then tuck your thumb under your fingers for added security.

What is the mixed grip?

The mixed grip is when one hand uses the overhand grip and the other hand uses the underhand grip to provide a stronger grip on the barbell.

When should I use lifting straps?

Lifting straps are useful when your grip strength is a limiting factor in your lifts and can help take some of the strain off your hands and forearms.

What are other important grip factors to consider?

Other important grip factors to consider include grip width, thumb placement, chalk, and hand position on the barbell.

How can I train my grip?

You can train your grip by performing exercises such as deadlifts, farmer’s walks, wrist curls, and grip strengtheners.


In conclusion, having a strong and secure grip on the barbell is crucial for maximizing your performance and safety during weightlifting exercises. By taking care of your grip, you can activate different muscles effectively, allowing for better control and stability throughout every workout.

Throughout this article, we have discussed various barbell grip techniques and their pros and cons. The double overhand grip provides a balanced approach, while the hook grip offers maximum security. The mixed grip is commonly used for heavy deadlifts, but it’s important to be mindful of potential imbalances. Additionally, lifting straps can be used as a temporary solution for improving grip strength.

Remember that proper barbell gripping techniques will help you get more out of each exercise and reduce the risk of injury. By using the right grip variations and focusing on proper form, you can target specific muscle groups like the chest, shoulders, triceps, and core effectively.

To improve your grip strength for barbell exercises, consider incorporating specific gripping exercises into your training routine. These can include farmer’s walks, plate pinches, or using hand grippers. Gradually increase the intensity and duration of these exercises to build up your strength over time.

In summary, – Experiment with different barbell grip positions to find what works best for you. – Take care of your wrists and knuckles by maintaining proper alignment during exercises. – Incorporate grip-specific exercises into your training routine to strengthen your grip. – Focus on overall form when performing lifts to avoid unnecessary strain on the joints. By implementing these tips and practicing regularly with attention to proper form and technique, you’ll be well on your way to developing a strong barbell grip that will enhance both your performance in the gym and minimize any potential risks associated with improper gripping. So go ahead – grab that barbell with confidence!