Weightlifting grip positions for the older guy

Grips and stuff…

Click here to watch video “Best grip position for weightlifting for the older guy”

A few of my followers asked me to do a video/article on the different grips applying to holding weights.

There are many very fancy grips out there especially amongst the younger generation and fitness coaches. I am not saying it does not work, but I believe in a simplistic approach that delivers, without overly complicating things.

So here I am going to focus on grips and stuff but specifically for the older guy, meaning the guy with possible tennis/golfer’s elbow and or tendon and joint problems or such weaknesses. I am going to make it easy for him to hold the weight in such a way as to provide him the best weapon against all these older guy ailments.

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The critical ingredient in all my grips positions is with a tool called a rubber gripper (weight lifting hand grip workout pads). There are five brands that stock these that I am aware off (check yourself, there might be more) – Muscle Junkie, Armagedon Sports, Mark X Leather, Kobo, Bear Grip and Cobra Grip.


The rubber part of it must be thick and soft (to provide a lot of traction against a bar or weight) and big enough to roll in your hand from palm to the end of your fingers. Key here is that stitching must be strong since this gripper is going to carry a lot of weight for you.

These grippers allow the older guy to relieve strain on the wrist, forearms and even elbow plus it helps one to have a strong solid grip on the weights. I use them for ALL exercises and in my opinion one of the best training companions for the older guy.

I’ll explain just now how I use them, but first some basics regarding how you hold a weight when lifting. Your hand must always be in a perfect line with your forearm. NO bending at the wrists! The moment that you bend the wrist at any part of the lifting process is when undue strain is placed on either the inner or outer elbow tendons and this is how tennis or golfers elbow start. The hand must, at all times for the full motion of the exercise, be in a fixed straight position to fore-arm. Nowhere along the path of movement must there even be the slightest bending of the wrist.

Regarding barbells and dumbbells

420024_02The flat barbell is generally not the most, “friendly” weight for the older guy since the shape of it forces a slight bending in the wrist that actually change even further the through the movement.

Thus, why the older guy should always train with the EZ-bar instead of the barbell, which is more tendon and wrist friendly.CL_Ader_Fixed_Curl_PFGZB_450



Other moves like wide grip back pulls or any other pulling exercise move must also be done in such a way that the wrist (hand) always stays in a straight line with the forearm. Any bending of the wrist with ANY exercises will eventually result in problems. Therefore, choose carefully which handle bar to use so that it enables you to keep you hand and wrist in a straight line through the whole motion of the exercise.

Back to the grippers

…how does one use them effectively?

There are two ways of holding the weight, the over and the under position.


The over position is where the rubber pad is flat against the palm of your hand and you hold the weights normal as you always did.

The under position is where the rubber pad is not resting against your palm but go over the underside of the bar and curling back into your hand. imagesThis is by far a stronger position of the two and helps to take a lot of strain from the wrists and forearms, especially with moves like deadlifts, wide grip pull-ups and traps exercises. But the under position can be used pretty much for all exercises where you need to hold a weight, whether it is a pulling or pushing move.

You will very soon find that you can effectively lift more weight with more confidence using a rubber gripper in this fashion. It can transform your training, especially when it comes to trap and back exercises.

Ok this covers nearly everything except for bench pressing.


Here you do a slightly “risky move” – the SUICIDE GRIP!

The suicide grip is a hand position on a barbell or dumbbell. The thumb is not wrapped around the bar while using this grip.

One of Arnold’s favorite grips…and I agree.


You are not holding the bar any more but let it rest on the bottom part of the palm. The part of the palm that is directly in line with the rest of your forearm. The thumb goes over the bar with the rest of your fingers. Yes, it initially feels unsafe but believe me one get quickly use to it and although it is not impossible that a slip can happen you will find it is highly unlikely. The advantage of this way of bench pressing is that you take nearly all strain from the wrist since the bar is resting on the hand palm which forms a straight line with the forearm. Those with wrist pain (due to heavy benching) will find that after a few months the pain is gone or much better and soon it will feel uncomfortable to bench any other way. This is applicable to both the incline and flat bench press.

Nearly all “naysayers” shoot it down due to what they claim as a “dangerous training method”. If you are a newbie, I can agree, be very, very careful. But for seasoned lifters the risk is close to zero with great benefits. But please, should you feel unsafe, you can try and put the thumb back in a holding position. If you do this, then key is to let the bar rest as close to the bottom of the palm as possible. But the suicide position just feels comfortable and great for benching.

It is a perfect bench hand grip for the older guy to protect the wrist.

So, in short, there you have my few key pointers on how the older guy must grip or hold the weights to lessen the strain on the older body and joints.

Wanna join my coaching? The system I am following and preaching is available fully customised for your goals and body and incorporates all my teachings. To signup and find out a bit more, just click here: ADVANCED SYSTEM II 

So everyone, happy training!

Gert Louw

GERT reach for the stars


Author: gertlouw

In the deepest south of South Africa you will find me. Dwelling in the most beautiful city in the world, Cape Town. I live close to God and try to follow in the footsteps of Christ as led the Holy Spirit. Other passions include Karate and Judo and wrestling (and off course surfing for many years). Karate I did for many years, Judo 4 yrs and for a short period kickboxing until I was knocked silly one time with blood all over and teeth protruding through my lip, but if I have to choose over, I would choose wrestling…simply because of the brutal power against power game with your opponent. Love it. Love my home theatre hobby, my youtube channel and spending time with family! And off course me and my son's new adventure https://mediax.photography ...and love flying my drone - DJI Phantom 4 Pro For those interested, this blog is my database of all my fitness and transformation knowledge. And NO (!) I am not getting any money for it and neither do I promote anything on it or getting sponsored by anybody. My blog is simply where I want to help other guys living a healthier life and become the best they can be, inside and out and ultimately it is my legacy I want to leave my one and only son – now 13 y/o and already eager to get his 6-pack! So donations very welcome! Just click the donation button... I started my healthy living after a very close call with death at age 40. After much hardship one of my main aims now is to assist other guys with healthy living and transforming themselves inside and out. I don’t know how much grace will still be given me, but I live now every moment to be the best I can be. To be the best bodybuilder I can be, the best father, best husband and best friend to those whom my paths crosses. I want to live a life worth living and not just do what excites me or pleases me. Feel free to contact me directly if you wish. Reading this far, the last bit important info on me you need to know, is that my anchor in life is Jesus Christ. Please bear in mind, English is my 2nd language and as a result their might be spelling, grammatical and other language errors in my blog – I do apologise for this! Wish you all many blessings. Gert Louw

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