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How and Why We Hook Grip

Believe us, we get it. In the beginning a hook grip is painful. It can deaden the nerves of your thumbs and make you question everything we have ever told you as coaches.

We promise, we aren’t making this stuff up. You trust us on EVERYTHING else. We’ve had you upside down on your hands, on the rower for 20 straight minutes and even have you doing something called a Turkish getup.

But for some of you, hook grip is where you draw the line!

Let’s talk about it a little bit more.

Are you performing the hook grip correctly? This might sound like a silly question but it’s often done incorrectly and can be why you hate the grip or are experiencing pain.

Step 1 – Press the webbing of the hand between the thumb and index finger against the bar. Exaggerate this.

Step 2- Wrap the thumb around the bar as FAR as possible.

Step 3- Grab the thumb with the index and middle fingers. Use these two fingers to PULL the thumb farther around the bar.

Step 4 – Grab the bar with the remaining fingers.

In my personal experience, the more relaxed I am about getting into the hook grip the more painful and useless it feels. When I go through those first three steps, especially step 1 I FEEL the benefit of the hook grip.

Step 3 is also crucial. Many times when we are correcting someone’s hook grip they actually aren’t set properly. They simply have the flat side of their thumb smashed against the bar. Of course that hurts!

When done properly, the thumb is actually going to create a nice ridge for the first two fingers to dig into. This is going to create a more secure grip than wrapping those fingers around a smooth bar. With the thumb facing one direction and the fingers facing another, we have created a mixed grip. The mixed grip will keep the bar from rolling in either direction, just like the mixed grip when maxing out a deadlift.

Finally, thanks to the increased security the hook grip allows your hands and arms will be more relaxed. When we get you here it will allow you to transmit more energy from those powerful legs of yours!

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