Why Grip Before Shins? Why Grip Before Shins?

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Thread: Why Grip Before Shins?

  1. #1
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    Default Why Grip Before Shins?

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    Hi Rip, recently I've been thinking about the 5 step deadlift set-up and trying to figure out why gripping the bar comes before dropping the shins. It seems to me that dropping the shins first would eliminate some of the problems that can occur when somebody is learning to deadlift.

    Within the first 3 steps, assuming they aligned the bar over midfoot correctly in step 1, there are 4 ways they can mess things up. Rolling the bar behind the midfoot when they grip the bar, rolling it in front of midfoot when they grip the bar, knocking the bar forward with the shins and, lastly, leaning forward rather than bending the knees to bring the shins to the bar. Wouldn't dropping the shins first eliminate the problem of the person being able to roll the bar backwards after they take their grip? It might also stop some people from rolling it forwards since they've already been instructed to touch the bar with their shins and they'll be trying to maintain the contact between shin and bar. On a minor note, it might also save a little bit of time doing it shins first since they wouldn't have to keep redoing the grip step if knocking the bar forward with the shins was an issue.

    There are also two problems that can occur with grip width when setting the grip first, either gripping too wide for their stance and increasing the range of motion or too narrow and having the grip get in the way of the knees. However, If they set their shins forward first, this eliminates the possibility of setting their grip too narrow since they can now set their grip around their knees which stops them from being able to box them in and limit external rotation. This also means the grip width now always accommodates the stance width and degree of toe out the lifter has chosen, and the grip width will always self adjust if they accidentally take a stance that is wider or narrower than usual.

    Just wondering what your thoughts are on this and whether I've missed a crucial reason why the grip goes first.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Josh K View Post
    Within the first 3 steps, assuming they aligned the bar over midfoot correctly in step 1, there are 4 ways they can mess things up. Rolling the bar behind the midfoot when they grip the bar, rolling it in front of midfoot when they grip the bar, knocking the bar forward with the shins and, lastly, leaning forward rather than bending the knees to bring the shins to the bar. Wouldn't dropping the shins first eliminate the problem of the person being able to roll the bar backwards after they take their grip? It might also stop some people from rolling it forwards since they've already been instructed to touch the bar with their shins and they'll be trying to maintain the contact between shin and bar. On a minor note, it might also save a little bit of time doing it shins first since they wouldn't have to keep redoing the grip step if knocking the bar forward with the shins was an issue.
    The reason we teach grip before shins is because we want the hamstrings tight, not slacked, as the chest is set up. I'll leave the mechanics of this for you to explain. And this is just the teaching progression, which means that as you learn to assume the correct position at the start, we don't care how you get there as long as your hips are in the right place and it looks the same every rep. As you begin to do sets of multiple reps without releasing the grip, this will have to happen anyway, i.e. you'll have to learn to find the position without the 5 steps.

    There are also two problems that can occur with grip width when setting the grip first, either gripping too wide for their stance and increasing the range of motion or too narrow and having the grip get in the way of the knees. However, If they set their shins forward first, this eliminates the possibility of setting their grip too narrow since they can now set their grip around their knees which stops them from being able to box them in and limit external rotation. This also means the grip width now always accommodates the stance width and degree of toe out the lifter has chosen, and the grip width will always self adjust if they accidentally take a stance that is wider or narrower than usual.
    I always identify my grip against the bar knurl so I can take the same grip every time. I think your experimentation phase should be severely truncated. Find your grip, take it, and stop fucking around.

  3. #3
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    The reason we teach grip before shins is because we want the hamstrings tight, not slacked, as the chest is set up. I'll leave the mechanics of this for you to explain. And this is just the teaching progression, which means that as you learn to assume the correct position at the start, we don't care how you get there as long as your hips are in the right place and it looks the same every rep. As you begin to do sets of multiple reps without releasing the grip, this will have to happen anyway, i.e. you'll have to learn to find the position without the 5 steps.
    But aren't the knee and back angles the same after step 3 whether you grip first or drop shins first, resulting in the same amount of hamstring tightness prior to setting the chest? If anything, shins first might result in more hamstring tension because hamstring extensibility isn't challenged as much when setting up shins first, so people may finish step 3 with less spinal flexion when attempting to grip the bar. Same knee and back angle and more spinal extension means more hamstring tightness prior to squeezing the chest up, no?

    I always identify my grip against the bar knurl so I can take the same grip every time. I think your experimentation phase should be severely truncated. Find your grip, take it, and stop fucking around.
    I also identify my grip against the knurl and make sure it's in the same place every time, and if it's not in the same place after setting shins first then I know I've done something different with my stance by mistake. If one hand is further out than usual then I know I'm off centre and can shift my stance around until I'm symmetrical, or if my grip is narrower or wider than it usually is against the knurl then I know I've set my stance wider or narrower than usual.

    Also if you don't have access to the same bar every time you train, then doing shins first allows you to be more consistent since, even if the knurling landmarks are completely different, you can look down and get your feet more or less the same as you always do and the grip will take care of itself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Rippetoe View Post
    As you begin to do sets of multiple reps without releasing the grip, this will have to happen anyway, i.e. you'll have to learn to find the position without the 5 steps.
    And of course, your grip will be there first in all reps except the first anyway even if you felt like pushing the shins to the bar on #1.

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    Quote Originally Posted by stef View Post
    And of course, your grip will be there first in all reps except the first anyway even if you felt like pushing the shins to the bar on #1.
    If I understand what you're saying here, isn't this only true if the bar keeps losing contact with the shins at the bottom of each rep?

    If you bend your knees after the bar passes them on the way down, both the grip AND knees should be there simultaneously in all reps except the first.

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    Watch what actually happens. Hairy-nosed-wombat-reps are not a compelling basis for rules.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by stef View Post
    Hairy-nosed-wombat-reps are not a compelling basis for rules.
    I love this....but have no idea what it means. 'splain please?

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