Mehdi, thanks for your 5×5 report. As someone who has believed a lot of bodybuilding bs over the years, i welcome your report like a breath of fresh air. I haven’t done 1rm in about 13 yrs. My all time 1rm is 240 bench, 260 squat and 275 deadlift. I sure would like to be stronger than that. I am absolutely going to use your system to get there! A few questions:
- do you approve using straps for deadlifts?
- do you approve using gloves?
First the gloves: no, I do not approve them at all. And that’s advice coming from a guy who wore gloves during his first 6 months of training in 1999 because the sharp knurling on the bar hurt my hands. Keep in mind I didn’t know about chalk back then, nor did anyone in that gym, so I just bought the gloves they sold.
After I met my mentor I stopped wearing gloves because he didn’t use any and I thought, “if he can lift without gloves, then why can’t I?” Frankly, frugal me also got sick & tired of having to buy a new pair every time these gloves broke. Add that I’m the eczema-type: I easily get “Pompholyx” on the inside of my fingers from sweating, and this was aggravated from wearing gloves.
- Gloves Kill Grip Strength – thicker bars are harder to grip. Gloves add inches to the bar which will kill your grip strength on pulling exercises like Deadlifts, Rows or Pullups. And if you can’t hold it, you can’t lift it.
- Gloves Screw Your Technique – the thickness of the gloves will make it impossible to keep the bar close to your wrists on the press and bench. Your wrist will roll back as a result and this can cause wrist pain.
- Gloves Don’t Prevent Callus – the fact is that you will get callus on your hands whether you wear gloves or not. You’re actually much more likely to get callus because you won’t be able to Deadlift with the bar correctly in your hands. So then why lift wearing gloves?
The only situations where gloves are okay is if you want to train with a ripped callus, or when it’s freezing -13°C like in my home gym. Temperatures like these are rough on the hands so I will wear gloves in the winter until the bar “warm-ups”. But once I reach my work weight, I always remove the gloves because as I’ve explained above: gloves will mess with your technique.
Remember gloves aren’t allowed at powerlifting competitions, so better to build good habits from the start. Lose the gloves and instead…
- grip the bar correctly on Deadlifts, Rows and Pull-ups
- use chalk – or an eco ball if your gym doesn’t allow chalk
- take care of your callus – shave them bi-monthly and moisturize
Regarding straps – if your grip is holding you back on Deadlifts, straps can allow you to pull the weight you otherwise couldn’t. Just don’t be one of those gym monkeys wearing straps on every exercise and every set, including the warm-ups, because your grip will never get stronger if you do this.
If you have a weak grip: use chalk, white knuckling (grip the bar harder) and a mixed grip. If that doesn’t help it, use straps but only on your last heavy set. Read 7 Ways to Build Massive Grip Strength For Deadlifts for more info.