Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Using hooks and straps for deadlifting?....

Ok I just had to write something about this.....This morning I saw an ad for a brand of lifting hook/strap. The ad stated that you could lift nearly TWICE as much in a deadlift with these straps because in the opinion of the makers EVERYBODY'S grip strength is MUCH weaker than the relative lifting capacity and strength of the lats, spinal erectors, rhomboids etc....

I just CAN'T agree with this line of thinking though....

And here's my rationale.

- The body works as a unit...I firmly believe that if you compensate for relatively weak 'links in the chain' by using supports, straps, wraps and other lifting aids you are ultimately going to impede your long term overall development and be at greater risk of injury.

- Many of us use TERRIBLE form when lifting weights that are even close to our maximum poundage on lifts like the deadlift, and if we are not competitive powerlifters we need not.

You see the reality is that for elite athletes, recreational athletes and gym warriors the most important aspects of strength and power development are encapsulated by 'Cliffdogs 4 P's of lifting'...
we need to develop correct POSTURE and POSITIONING while lifting to PATTERN for maximum POWER.

In a maximal deadlift most people will lift with excessive kyphosis and hinge unduly at the lumbar spine.
Now this is fine in competition on the platform...because let's face it we just need to see the figures on the board!....BUT in the gym we want to preserve the best position - to transfer to explosive movements in preparation for sports and to pattern into better posture for daily life. This involves using the greatest weight allowable WITH GOOD POSTURAL AND POSITIONAL FORM. This usually involves decreasing the weight initially and therefore allows the grip to handle the weight and develop concurrently with the other links in the chain....

But really.....how strong can your grip be?....
I think again that in most instances straps aren't necessary....
I have used them RARELY when training for Olympic Weightlifting but it was mainly because of cumulative fatigue in the grip - not for maximal loading. There is a time and place for everything....
BUT I have also pulled a rack deadlift (from the knees) of 685lbs (at a bodyweight of only 160lbs!)...RAW, without a belt, straps or any sort of lifting aid...
If you think you can't develop AMAZING real world grip strength then think again!

At a body weight of 160lb I have also deadlifted over 350lbs..RAW, without straps or a belt......WITH ONE HAND!!!

Why pander to a weak grip? Train for strength...Train the body as a functional unit with good form, good technique and correct positioning...and unlock your true potential!!!

Come and train with me and the team at HUMAN MOTION. Contact cliff@humanmotion.ca for more info or visit our site: www.humanmotion.com