To mix grip or not to mix grip, that is the question.
The mighty deadlift is a foundational CrossFit movement and a staple in our program. However a common discussion point is which grip to use and when?
The alternate or mixed grip is everyone's favourite; in this grip one hand is in a supinated/underhand position with your palm facing out whilst the other is in a pronated/overhand position with your palm facing in. This grip prevents the bar from rolling in your hands and therefore you can lift more weight, more frequently.
Surely that's a good thing?
Well, maybe not. Like most fitness questions, the frustrating answer is 'It depends’.
With a mixed grip because your shoulders are loaded asymmetrically with your prone arm in internal rotation and the other in external rotation this is less than ideal from a stabilisation standpoint. During the lift, the side of the supinated hand will tend to rotate forward while the side of the pronated hand will rotate backwards resulting in a tendency to twist slightly as you rise up.
Prolonged use of the mixed grip can also develop muscular imbalances as most people never mix up their alternate grip; the same hand is always pronated and the same hand is always supinated. This can also lead to a compensating movement pattern such as twisting off the floor to favour your dominant side.
Needless to say, we all want our spines to remain neutral when we perform a deadlift.
While this won't be a problem if you only use the mixed grip occasionally eg competition maxes, unfortunately if this is your default style then sooner or later it is going to take its toll, it's only a matter of when.
Plus once you get into a mixed grip habit, it's hard to shake, I've even seen people deadlift a PVC pipe with a mixed grip in warm ups!
My recommendation is to use the clean, double overhand grip as much as possible and adopt a hook grip if your grip becomes too much of limiting factor.
But ultimately the decision is yours. It really comes down to why you are training.
Is to win a Powerlifting competition or are you training for longevity, well-being, health and performance?