I've been trying to dead lift heavier (up to 380), but seem to have reached a plateau...the biggest obstacles seem to be my grip strength (thinking of using straps) and pressure on the lower back. Is it time to use a belt? what are the drawbacks to using one? and should I just put it on when I get to the heavy sets?
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I would advise against either straps or a belt. Your grip and lower back seem to be weak points; you want to work on strengthening them and these pieces of equipment do the opposite, taking pressure off. You'll end up with an even greater strength imbalance.
Instead, work around your plateau for a while and focus on techniques that will help these problem areas. A few suggestions:
Once you have your grip and lower back stronger, then you'll develop new weak points (quad strength, for example) and you can once again work on increasing that and increasing weight without equipment crutches.
If you having sticking points, do what Greg suggested.
Working on getting the lower back stronger and overall core. Otherwise, you are just setting yourself up for disaster on that.
Implement more heavy bar holds without straps and some specialized grip training.
You can try wrapping a towel, squat pad or anything that can increase the thickness of the bar to get some good grip training in.
To improve grip strength try deadlift holds for time and try to beat your time. Other exercises which strengthen grip include farmers walks and weighted pull ups.