What Is Suicide Grip – All You Need To Know To Do It Safely

suicide grip

If you are a bodybuilder or you just train in a gym casually, the chances are that you heard phrase suicide grip. So, what exactly is a suicide grip?

Suicide grip is basically the hand position that you can use on a dumbbell or a barbell. The main difference between regular and suicide grip is that when you use suicide grip, your thumb is not wrapped around the bar.

You will see this grip used by people who are very confident lifting a certain weight. The main problem with this type of grip is the fact that the bar can slip quite easily out of your hands and land on your throat, thus the name suicide grip.

This grip is very dangerous, especially if you are training alone, and we would recommend that you avoid using it unless you are completely sure that you know what you are doing. The safest grip you can use is the hook grip.

Are There Any Benefits Of The Suicide Grip?

The opinions about the suicide grip amongst the bodybuilders and powerlifters are divided and there is much debate over whether there are any benefits at all and if there are some benefits, are they worth the risk of getting your throat smashed.

  • Placement of the bar

This is the top reason why some lifters use suicide grip is the bar placement which they claim is better with suicide grip. Basically, the bar is in much better position for pushing.

But as you can conclude from the name, with this grip, the slightest twitch can cause the bar to slip and land on your throat or chest. So, yes, the bar does sit more comfortable but the smallest irregular move can be a cause of your hurt.

Regular or hook grip are much safer and it is almost impossible for a bar to slip out of your hands while you lift.

  • More efficient muscle activation

Some people claim that the suicide grip is more efficient for muscle building because when you squeeze the bar with 4 fingers and thumb excluded your muscles are activated more efficiently.

Once again, we do not recommend using the suicide grip on a bench press, however, if you use it on back exercises (pull-ups, lat pull-down, pendlay row, etc.) you will notice that the bar sits comfortably in your hand and you will also notice the better activation in your back muscles, which are the primary muscle group on these exercises, and not your biceps.

  • Survival instinct as the motivation

Do it or die! Some of the most hardcore lifters use this as a motivation to complete repetition. Imagine yourself lowering 300 pounds towards your chest with no thumb to secure the bar in place. You have to put all your strength in completing the repetition perfectly and secure bar in the starting position or you will get seriously injured or worse.

  • It’s better for competitions

A bodybuilder Dave Tate claims that the suicide grip can be quite advantageous for bench press competitions. You see, in these competitions, there is a line on the bat that you need to cover with both of your hands.

If you use the regular grip you’ll need to cover these lines with your index fingers, but if you utilize the suicide grip, you can cover them with your thumbs, which gives you a bit wider grip. The wider grip means shorter distance to cover with the bar.

  • Better for elbows and shoulders

Another benefit of the suicide grip is that it is much gentler to your elbows and shoulders than the regular grip. This makes the suicide grip an excellent grip to use if you had an injury in these areas, but you must be very careful not to injure yourself again.

With the regular grip you are forced to your hands in a bit and this applies a stress on your shoulders. With the suicide grip you are in much more natural position and therefore there is a lot less stress on your joints.

how to perform the suicide grip

How To Perform The Suicide Grip Properly

Basically, all you need to do in order to perform the suicide grip is to do your regular pull-up routine with the different hand placement on the dumbbell or a barbell. It is a quite simple thing to do, but let’s break down the technique on the simplest example. Here’s what you need to do in order to perform the suicide grip while bench pressing.

  • First step

Before you start lifting, make sure that your equipment is intact and that everything works properly and it’s safe to use. Place yourself in the best position that will maintain the good stability and balance while you exercise.

Lie down on a bench on your back. The bench should be placed under the barbell of course. Position your body so that the center of the bar is directly above your eyes.

  • Second step

Now grab a bar with both of your hands making sure that there is a proper distance between your hands and body. Wrap the four of your fingers around the bar and let your thumbs stay on the same side. Don’t wrap the thumbs around the bar. Now squeeze the bar tightly.

  • Third step

Press your back against the bench and try to put your chest all out. You are supposed to feel like all of your body is tight. Part your feet and position them flat on the ground. You are now in proper position. Lift the bar and start pressing.

Lower the bar slowly till it’s just above your chest and then lift it slowly back up. Make sure that you don’t put on more weight than you can handle or else your suicide grip will justify its name.

If you can do everything mentioned above properly then you have our respect, but if you can’t you shouldn’t do it at all. It is not our intention to scare you, but the danger that comes with the utilization of the suicide grip is quite real.

Where To Use And Where To Avoid The Suicide Grip?

Basically, use the suicide grip wherever you feel comfortable to use it. Pendlay row, pull-up, lat pull-down or seated row are excellent exercises where you can utilize the suicide grip safely.

Just try it next time you are doing your back workout routine. You will feel your back working much harder while your biceps are not so much involved in the exercise as they were. This also means that you might have to drop the weight a bit, but the exercises will be much more efficient.

On the other hand, we highly recommend that you avoid utilizing the suicide grip on any exercise where your body is placed under the barbell, including the bench press. In this case, the slightest wrong move can be fatal and the benefits are simply not worth it.

We also recommend that you avoid utilizing suicide grip for deadlift. Simply, whenever you are lifting big weights, use secure grip.


So, the suicide grip can really be beneficial for some lifters, depends on what your goals are. But it is a quite dangerous grip to use and if you are not completely confident that you know what you are doing, don’t do it.

Of course, you can always try it, but if you see that you won’t be able to complete a successful repetition, just go back to a regular or a hook grip. Furthermore, you can utilize the suicide grip on the equipment with safety features that will prevent the load from landing on you.

The decision whether you will try it or not is all yours, but whatever you decide, make sure that you stay safe.

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