September 14 2009 3:51 PM
Unless you're bad at deadlifts or have incredible grip strength you usually need to use an alternate grip when going heavy. You can do a hook grip, but even that is less stable unless you have a super strong grip. I can usually double overhand what I deadlift, but alternate grip feels much better overall. It's unlikely that you'll get a serious imbalance from using the same alternate grip, but it doesn't hurt to reverse your hands now and then. If you are doing something like shrugs with an alternate grip then you'll need to vary a lot more. Alternate grip is better than straps in every way.
One thing is to make sure your arm facing out (supinated like a curl) is straight all the time. If the arm is bent you will be putting a lot of strain on the bicep, and it could lead to a tear. It's usually not a big deal because with deadlifts the weight will pull your arm down anyway, but it's just something to be aware of. I've always done alternate grip deads, and never had any problem with it though.