T Nation

Gripping Snatch


For those that do the oly lifts, what exercises do you use to increase your grip strength?

My grip used to be a problem for me. When snatching, the bar felt like it would fly out of my hands on the second pull. The clean and jerk was always much more straightforward, I think because the grip is narrower, and you can apply more pressure from the ring and pinky finger. So I don't worry about the C&J. I do worry about the snatch.

I've tried snatch grip deadlifts and snatch high-pulls. They both seem to work, but I figured I'd get the input of my betters.

I do not use a hook grip. I always figured this might add some pounds to my grip, but at some point, I'd have to get my grip stronger anyway, so I might as well not use the crutch. I know that's going to come up, so I figured I'd throw it out there.

CLiff notes: snatch grip-strength, what've you done that's worked??


you're applying a LOT of force to the bar VERY quickly in a snatch. The power output is higher than the clean and jerk and the grip is wider.

In my opinion, the hook grip is pretty necessary unless you have ridiculous grip strength, which you clearly don't

I don't think you will find many people who snatch and don't use a hook grip

how much are you snatching/snatch pulling anyway?


The main reason to use the hook grip is that is allows you to maintain a solid hold on the bar without gripping it tightly, and thus allows you to keep your arms relaxed. Gripping the bar tightly using a standard grip is counter-productive because it stops you from properly relaxing your arms and thus encourages you to pull with your arms too early and slows down how quickly you can receive the bar.

If you're competing you need to start hooking. The important thing to remember is not to just get the fingers on top of the thumb, but to get them right around the thumb so you can pull on the side of it rather than just apply pressure to the top. Taping the thumb makes the grip a little more secure and takes away a bit of the sting.

If you're not competing and are just snatching as part of your training for another sport you can always use straps so you can keep your arms relaxed. I've seen elite Chinese lifters using straps on 50kg snatches just to save their hands from a bit of wear and tear. If you're just doing pulls I'd use straps whether you're competing or not.


The best thing you can do is just keep using the hook grip and getting used to it. I used to have the same problem feeling that the bar was less secure. If you use it correctly and more often, you'll eventually get adjusted to it and have the opposite impression.


Using a hook grip is not a crutch, but an essential part of the technique. Ninearms gives good reasons why. Using straps would be a crutch. I don't do anything special to improve my grip except to avoid straps for the actual lifts. I do use straps for high pulls and usually for dead lifts too. Otherwise I would be tearing callouses on a weekly basis. Since I quit using straps in training for snatches (about 20 years ago), I've had no grip problems.


So the lot of you don't use any grip-specific work other than doing the lifts without straps? I'm surprised.


That's right. The hook grip is an amazing thing.


All excellent points.

And to the OP's second question, I have never known of any serious o-lifter who had to train his grip specifically. Come to think of it, I don't know that any of the literature even addresses the topic. Grip strength is very rarely a limiting factor in olympic-style lifting.


Nope, hook gripping is surprisingly secure. Unless you have an incredibly weak grip to begin with, its probably not crucial to train it. Its not likely that you will be doing oly lifts with weights where grip would be a limiting factor anyways (ie 150+ kg snatches).


I would disagree with the straps being a crutch. During our training we use straps with the snatch and anytime we do pulls. No one EVER loses a weight because they were unable to hold on to the weight. Straps allow a person to crank on a weight much harder than without them even if you grip is vice like.


I agree with you about the usefulness of straps. You and the people you train with may not have a problem using straps for snatches, and if I were to use them only occasionally, neither would I. Some 20 years ago, I snatched exclusively with straps, and when I got to competitions, my grip on the snatches felt weak. The bar never came out of my hands in the competitions, but I could not snatch weights that were routine in training. That is why I call straps a crutch.


Scratch what I said above about the literature.

Art Drechsler in his Weightlifting Encyclopedia devotes about a page to grip training. Although he acknowledges that gripping exercises are largely neglected by lifters, he advocates grip work.


hmm... Okay. I'm sold on the hook grip. I tried it out today on some rediculously light snatches and made my thumb cry. I'll try taping it and see how that works.


Are you that dude at the Olympics who looked like he was starting a lawnmower every time he tried to lift?


Yeah, it is going to suck for awhile but you will get to use to it.


Good book.


I've only ever used straps on clean/snatch pulls.

The hook grip is great for some of the reasons mentioned above but I didn't see and may have missed this reason. It helps to prevent bar rotation during the turnover. Make sure when you learn the hook grip you learn how/when to release the hook grip. Some lifters are able to maintain the hook grip but it's easier to learn the release right away than years on down the road.

If you use tape for your thumb some liquid chalk will go a long way prior to taping.


Hey every one this doesnt go to the OP directly but, I am not the biggest guy in build and I have only recently started using the hook grip and ninearms suggests its alot more effective if you wrap your thumb around your middle and index finger and not just the top of them. My problem is my hands are not big enough to completly wrap around the bar and completly wrap my middle and index finger also. any remedies?


If you are just getting used to it, focus on getting one finger around your thumb. I train with some dainty women with tiny hands who have no problem hooking on a men's bar. When I first started I could only get one finger around now I can get both index and middle finger around easily.


ok thank you I will see what i can do