How Can I Hold On To Heavy Dumbells?

Newwmn3

Cathlete
Hi Cathe! I have just completed Week 2 of the STS series and am loving every second. I am, however, having a very hard time holding on to the heavy dumbbells during leg work. I am very small (5'3, 103 lbs) and have tiny hands. I use 2 35 lb dumbbells for deadlifts and 40s for squats but I have a VERY difficult time holding onto the weights long enough to finish the set. My legs don't tire and my forearms handle it pretty well but my grip falters terribly. I'm afraid that my tiny hands are causing the issue and am not sure what to do. Do you have any suggestions or ideas of things that may help me? Thank you! :)

Christin
 

kariev

Cathlete
Hi Cathe! I have just completed Week 2 of the STS series and am loving every second. I am, however, having a very hard time holding on to the heavy dumbbells during leg work. I am very small (5'3, 103 lbs) and have tiny hands. I use 2 35 lb dumbbells for deadlifts and 40s for squats but I have a VERY difficult time holding onto the weights long enough to finish the set. My legs don't tire and my forearms handle it pretty well but my grip falters terribly. I'm afraid that my tiny hands are causing the issue and am not sure what to do. Do you have any suggestions or ideas of things that may help me? Thank you! :)

Christin
Not Cathe but look into wrist straps. They wrap around your wrist giving your hands support for the extra weight.
 

spyrosmom

Cathlete
Try a barbell instead of dumbbells? I personally don't like dumbbell squats, I can never get situated quite right, so use a bar most of the time instead. I can also lift heavier with a bar, my hands don't get as tired.

From what I gather from your post on this page and the OD, it's not that your hands aren't strong enough, it's that they're maybe not big enough to go around the grip part of the DB. I say that because you say lifting gloves make it worse. You're a littler person, so it makes sense you'd have smaller hands. I think the solution would be weights with a smaller diameter grip part, but I'm not sure that exists. From what I've seen, standard gray iron hex weights have smaller grips than some of the rubber coated or the fancy black ones. Maybe shop around for weight styles? I'm not sure about the multi-size ones, like Select Techs or something like that. Or, lower the weights and add a vest. But not for deadlifts. No vest on the deadlifts. It's not good for your back and and the vest throws the balance off.

nan
 

fit_fairy

Cathlete
Wow!! I am amazed and impressed that you are squatting 80 pounds in the RWH workouts. I can squat that, but not in these fast paced workouts. I too have issues with grip with heavier DBs and I can see where that would be an issue when the rep count is in the 20s like these workouts. They sell the straps and there is another contraption too (can't remember what it is called). I can not do a barbell on my back, so I chose to use DBs. Good luck finding what works for you.
 
Hi Christine,

I just would like to add suggesting you lower the weight load. With time you will improve and build up endurance. Your forearms will get stronger and you will even be able to hold heavier than you are currently holding. It does take time. Don't despair and get discouraged.
 
Try a barbell instead of dumbbells? I personally don't like dumbbell squats, I can never get situated quite right, so use a bar most of the time instead. I can also lift heavier with a bar, my hands don't get as tired.

From what I gather from your post on this page and the OD, it's not that your hands aren't strong enough, it's that they're maybe not big enough to go around the grip part of the DB. I say that because you say lifting gloves make it worse. You're a littler person, so it makes sense you'd have smaller hands. I think the solution would be weights with a smaller diameter grip part, but I'm not sure that exists. From what I've seen, standard gray iron hex weights have smaller grips than some of the rubber coated or the fancy black ones. Maybe shop around for weight styles? I'm not sure about the multi-size ones, like Select Techs or something like that. Or, lower the weights and add a vest. But not for deadlifts. No vest on the deadlifts. It's not good for your back and and the vest throws the balance off.

nan

Barbell with smaller diameter do exist.
A friend of mine on this forum mentioned during a discussion.
Her user name is Mary/bznmom----. Hope she read this and reply to this thread.
Straps should help gripping confidently and comfortably.

Take it easy and just do what you are safely able to perform at this point.
 
Try a barbell instead of dumbbells? I personally don't like dumbbell squats, I can never get situated quite right, so use a bar most of the time instead. I can also lift heavier with a bar, my hands don't get as tired.

From what I gather from your post on this page and the OD, it's not that your hands aren't strong enough, it's that they're maybe not big enough to go around the grip part of the DB. I say that because you say lifting gloves make it worse. You're a littler person, so it makes sense you'd have smaller hands. I think the solution would be weights with a smaller diameter grip part, but I'm not sure that exists. From what I've seen, standard gray iron hex weights have smaller grips than some of the rubber coated or the fancy black ones. Maybe shop around for weight styles? I'm not sure about the multi-size ones, like Select Techs or something like that. Or, lower the weights and add a vest. But not for deadlifts. No vest on the deadlifts. It's not good for your back and and the vest throws the balance off.

nan

Hi,

Your post got me thinking:):):). where do i start?

Hope you learn to feel the difference between both "toys" Barbell and dumbbell.
Barbell is my prefered equipment but I must admit it is beneficial to switch to various equipment from time to time.

Barbell offer a balance challenge while performing squat compared to dumbbell.

Sometimes when I want to hit my legs in different angle i like to do a deep narrow squat for example.
For me I hit quad sweep muscles....meaning outer thigh muscles. I don't feel it while squatting with
my favourite toy Barbell:rolleyes::rolleyes: I personally like to switch between for variety. It helps getting motivated IMO.
 
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Stebby

Cathlete
Lifting straps have made a huge difference for me in being able to handle heavy weights. When the straps are wrapped nice and tight around the weights, I don't even have to hold on that tight. Without them I can deadlift no more than 50 lbs. With the straps I can deadlift more than double.

Stebby
 

Newwmn3

Cathlete
Thanks everyone! I went to a fitness supply place today and tried out several options. I think I am going to try a combination of things - lifting straps with wrist wraps (those felt the best to me), 10 lb wrist weights, and a weighted vest. Someone mentioned Versagrips and I am curious about how those differ from standard lifting straps. I'm going to try to find a place that carries that brand so I can "try before I buy". I'm sure it will take some time to figure out what I like best for the various exercises. Thank you very much Spyrosmom for the advice about not using the vest for deadliest. You likely saved me from toppling over onto my face. :D I am still in awe at how helpful and encouraging everyone is on this forum. Very very thankful for you all!!!
 

bzbnmom

Cathlete
Hi Christin. I did have the same problem when I did STS. I'm 5'0" but I weigh more than you. Before I bought a weighted vest and straps, I put ankle weights on my wrists and I loaded a backpack with weight plates to decrease the weight in my hands for dumbbell squats. (I had heard the vest and straps were kind of a nuisance to use, time-wise. Also I wasn't sure how much use I'd get out of them.) I used these for few weeks and that was enough to strengthen my grip. I gradually didn't need to use the extras. I also had a problem with bent over rows and deadlifts - my grip strength was the weakest part. I really struggled through the exercises at first but it became easier eventually. I guess for me, I wanted my grip strength to be able to catch up with what I wanted to lift, and it did.
 

Newwmn3

Cathlete
Hi Christin. I did have the same problem when I did STS. I'm 5'0" but I weigh more than you. Before I bought a weighted vest and straps, I put ankle weights on my wrists and I loaded a backpack with weight plates to decrease the weight in my hands for dumbbell squats. (I had heard the vest and straps were kind of a nuisance to use, time-wise. Also I wasn't sure how much use I'd get out of them.) I used these for few weeks and that was enough to strengthen my grip. I gradually didn't need to use the extras. I also had a problem with bent over rows and deadlifts - my grip strength was the weakest part. I really struggled through the exercises at first but it became easier eventually. I guess for me, I wanted my grip strength to be able to catch up with what I wanted to lift, and it did.

Oh my gosh, what an amazing and budget-friendly idea!!!! I am going to try the backpack + plates trick on Friday when I do legs. Mary, I do believe you just saved me $100! :p
 

fit_fairy

Cathlete
Just make sure if you use the back pack option mentioned above that the weight is distributed as such that it will not shift while you are working out. That could result in injury ;)
 

Newwmn3

Cathlete
Just make sure if you use the back pack option mentioned above that the weight is distributed as such that it will not shift while you are working out. That could result in injury ;)

Good thought, Catherine, thank you! I am going to try to find one of my daughter's old school backpacks. I always got her sturdy ones with thick, padded straps and I will definitely be super-cautious when I use it for the first few times.
 

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