This is a specific deadlift variation that will be brutal for your forearms when you start out. At first glance, it looks just like a normal deadlift. And in many ways, it is. However, you’re using a two inch thick bar, instead of a standard Texas deadlift bar or whatever your gym keeps in stock.
When you perform this, you need to do it over handed to reap the full benefits it can provide. Not only that, you might want to take a look at your stance. More often than not, a conventional puller will opt for a sumo stance when training with the axle, since the added thickness changes the lift. Not only that, a sumo pull shortens the range of motion. In the first stages of training, a shorter range of motion will be helpful.
You must also modify the grip you take. The bigger the bar, the more surface area of your hand it covers. So, you want to maximize that to your advantage. We do that by using what I call the “ice cream cone grip.” So the difference is that instead of reaching straight down, you are going to do the following:
- Reach Straight down
- Grab the bar
- Give the elbows a slight bend
- Internally rotate your humorous
These are a personal favorite of mine. You have two ways to approach this, similar to a normal barbell row. You can do a pronated or a supinated grip. If you do the pronated grip, use the ice cream cone grip like I mentioned earlier. If you choose the supinated grip, mess around with it to find a comfortable position for your wrists. I prefer the supinated grip due to the extra bicep work I get out of it, which is all the more sweet because of the axle.
If you want a fun game, do a set at a light weight and see which gives up first: your lats or your grip. As an honorable mention, you can use a thick bar dumbbell and do single arm rows with them as well.
Chin-ups and pull-ups are a great way to work your overhead pulling motions. As an added bonus, these bodyweight moves will fatigue your grip in a short time. Tread with caution, and apply liberal amounts of chalk.
4. Pinch Lifting
This is a specific deadlift variation, but unlike the other exercises we have discussed, this works out the intrinsic muscles of the hand with more intensity. And it has a specific target of loading right on your thumb, unlike the others.
So to start, you are going to extend your fingers, and they are going to pinch two plates together. If you’re a strong woman, start with two 25 pound plates, men try two 35 pound plates, and both of you apply a lot of chalk.
In addition, we are going to position our arms just like we did for the axle deadlift. Flex the elbow, internally rotate the humerus, as you can see in the video.
To learn more about grip strength check out, Build a Stronger Grip for a Better Deadlift and Healthier Hands.