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?

  • Why do you think a belt would help you @Meade?
    – Ivo Flipse
    Mar 29, 2011 at 18:08
  • @Ivo - the belt, from what I understand, would support/take pressure off of my lower back Mar 29, 2011 at 19:11
  • 3
    how would it support your back and why do you think you need it? I'm trying to lure you into adding this information into your question That way you'll attract better answers!
    – Ivo Flipse
    Mar 29, 2011 at 19:16

3 Answers 3


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:

  • Squeeze the bar HARD whenever you grip it and keep squeezing throughout your set.
  • Don't use gloves as this inhibits your squeezing. If your hands get raw (and they probably will at that weight), use chalk.
  • Focus on a tight core during your lift: squeeze (internally) anus-to-bellybutton, and make sure you are looking up at ~45 degrees and not rounding your back.
  • Hold the bar at the top position for a few seconds before dropping it on the last rep of each set.

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.

  • Since posting this, I have found that occasional belt use can help with heavier loads - gives your abs something to push off of. However, I still do much without the belt.
    – G__
    Dec 26, 2014 at 22:40
  • I find this a great answer, but I have to say I use straps on heavier lifts because I feel like I'm doing deadlifts for my legs and lower back/core, not my grip strength. I train my grip strength with other movements. (weighted pull-ups, front/back levers, things of this nature)
    – MJB
    Jul 6, 2017 at 6:39
  • 1
    @MJB Yeah, I still think its important to do a few sets without straps, but I definitely fall back on them to get more work in once my hands start to get sore.
    – G__
    Jul 30, 2017 at 5:42

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.


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.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.