Hook Grip Is Much Better Than Mixed Grip

Mixed grip is like Squatting in running shoes but I have yet to see a Powerlifter use good hook grip technique so it is more painful than it should be and less effective.

This is Hook Grip specialized for Powerlifting. I have no clue about anything Olympic Lifting related.

Hook Grip Set Up

The one constant will be your and everybody else’s thumb. After that the differences in position of the bar and how many fingers you can fit where will depend on your hand dimensions.

To begin last section of your thumb should be parallel to the bar and the 1st section should be perpendicular to the bar. After that wrap your fingers around the bar and thumb.

For Hook Grip there are 2 types of pain.

-Bar slip which causes skin tearing
-Thumb Dislocation Sensation caused from jamming your thumb into your palm

Thumb dislocation is easy enough to fix, dont jam your thumb so far into your hand. 1 of your thumb sections should be perpendicular to the bar and the last should run parallel to the bar.

What happens when you jam your thumb deep into your palm is when the bar rolls that pressure is applied to the knuckle which makes your thumb feel like it is popping out of its socket. I sprained both thumbs on separate occasions learning this.

Bar slip will always happen with any grip. Most people put the bar deep into their palm which means it is going to slip that much further. With Hook Grip it always slips to a certain point and then it stops slipping. That is what causes the callous tears.

This place where it stops slipping to is where you should set your Hook Grip to begin with. This will minimize the Bar Slip and also lengthen your arms thus shortening the ROM.


First and foremost it is a mechanical advantage both in ROM and actual grip strength. Also helicoptering should be greatly reduced (if not eliminated).

The only benefit of Mixed grip is you dont have to teach it or learn it, you just do it.

The downsides of Mixed grip are infinite when we really get into it.

Most injuries and pains caused from deadlifting actually come from uneven pulling which comes from mixed grip. The wrists do not attach dead center to the hand so when you flip one hand your arm is now a different length.

Then there is the muscle imbalances which are bad enough on their own but they also affect the other lifts. Uneven trap development means an uneven base for a Squat bar or Bench Press. The mobility differences caused can cause Hip Shift in Squats or imbalanced bar path on Bench.

And Bicep Tears.

The only real reason not to use Hook Grip is laziness.

Recently some lifters had issues with hook grip at the Kern US open on the new Kabuki Next Gen bars.

I think the problem was improper Hook Technique with more aggressive knurling.

So when these “hook experts” jam their thumb into the middle of their palm (pollack) and yank on a bar with more than normal knurling there will be less slippage which will cause the thumb dislocation sensation and when it does slip it is more likely to cause skin tearing.


I keep trying, and failing hook grip. But after reading this I will give it another go this training cycle, and see if I can get my thumbs used to it.

The issue with the Kabuki bars that I’ve seen so far is that the knurling was so rough that even experienced hookers like Belkin were having their calluses torn off with any slippage whatsoever, rather than less slippage causing dislocation.


Forgot a section, thank you.

How to Train Your Hook Grip and How to Train WITH Your Hook Grip:

Any working sets over 2 I use straps.

As soon as you feel some thumb skin start to go switch over to straps and use straps until your thumb is healed.

Do your warm up sets with Hook Grip. Waiting for your heavy sets to use Hook Grip will be a shock to your thumbs so just like every thing else warm it up.

To strengthen any grip I feel the best thing you can do is train with it and do iso holds. So for your last couple reps of each workout iso hold it for 5-15 seconds.


If you do enough reps it can feel like your thumbs are going to explode, I once did a set of 8 with around 400 and the ends of my thumbs were purple for a week. If I’m doing over 5 reps I’m definitely using straps.

I just had to highlight this part.

Eat butt for cash?


Belkin sets the bar deep into his palm as well so it is going to slip.

(had to add edits to original post which will probably keep happening as more questions bring up things I forgot or didnt explain as well.)

For an example of what a looser hook set up looks like:


Notice where the bar comes across my knuckles and then barely slips.

If you compare that to Pollack and Belkin who dig in and then the bar slips to where I start. They are missing out on the shortened ROM and adding the likelihood of callous tearing.

If you have smaller hands the bar will rest higher in your hand but the thumb will still be in the same spot.



Because I know the first thought of the internets is well your weight is so much less…

Well here is Pollack with 405 and the exact same slip happens with his Grip.


Hey guys last week I tried out a tip from a JP Cauchi video where you rough up your thumb nail with a knife/box cutter.

Like because the hook works through friction and the thumb nail is a big surface area involved that’s pretty smooth so like carving a knurling pattern into it boosts your hook strength lots.

I have a stiff bar that is about 2m thicker than a standard power bar and the knurling is pretty much smooth, sometimes when I did heavy sets of 3-5 I would have grip issues. The way I was gripping the bar I had a lot of my middle finger on the thumbnail and if it got sweaty it would cause a problem, but fortunately I never had an issue with singles. I had a bottle of liquid chalk laying around from when I used to train in a commercial gym, I tried putting that on my thumbnails and it solved the problem. Personally I would rather that than cut my nails, I could see it catching on clothes and stuff like that.

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Hook grip changed my life. But I use it on other exercises for higher reps like bent-over rows when heavy because my thumb grip sucks (carpal tunnel surgery on both wrists a few months ago…). Mixed just caused me imbalances.

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Yes I can’t imagine hook griping without my liquid chalk. Especially in my 30+°C gym

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It’s only a little bit of scratching on the surface it’s not Velcro like or anything. I’m surprised any chalk can hold onto nails is liquid chalk like different or are my nails super smooth or something? Also like your nails “heal” fast so it’s smooth again in 6 hours

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I also haven’t been able to get hook grip to work for me (I tried following the technique vid you posted somewhere else on the site a while ago).
My theory is not that my hands are too small but that my fingers and thumb are too short relative to my hand size.
If I get the end of my thumb parallel to the bar I am only able to grip it with the tips of my index and middle finger. If I jam the thumb in further I get more grip but then get the pain you described.
On the positive side I haven’t had any issues with mixed grip so far

I work around some of the mix grip issues by swapping which hand is over / under on each set. So while there might still be acute risks from an imbalanced rep I should, hopefully, avoid developing any chronic imbalances.

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That’s probably a good idea.
I dread to think how weak I’d be the first few times I tried switching haha.

Do you use it all over your hands? I never really liked liquid chalk compared to the normal type, it just seems like the best thing to put on your thumbnail.

Liquid chalk is kind of like paint with a chalk-like finish, one application will last for several sets and you have to scrub it off after to remove all the residue. Like I said, I don’t really like it but it’s good for what I described plus gyms that don’t allow chalk probably won’t be able to stop you from using it.

For the record, I pull on a deadlift bar these day since I have forsaken the commandments of Gaston Parage and his IPF brethren. It feels like a toothpick in my hands compared to the other bar and grip is not going to be an issue any time soon. I also don’t find it make the actual lift any easier, unlike what some people have said. It took me 5 months to get a PR.

I used to do that too when I first started deadlifting. I can’t really tell you if it’s good or not but Mike Tuchscherer has specifically said on several occasions that he recommend using your competition grip all the time, he said something like “embrace the imbalance”. Just a contrary opinion for you to consider.

I also get the feeling that mixed grip could increase the risk of back injury, herniated discs are usually on one side only. Unless you really can’t make it work, hook grip is the way to go.

I’m not going to look these videos up, but when I was trying to sort out my hook grip the useful ones I found were on YouTube from George Leeman, Mark Robb (on Reactive Training Systems), and Hamburger Train (Mike Hedlesky). Look them up, you might learn something. The thing is that there are minor differences in how to do it, one style might not work at all and the next one will be perfect.

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Yes all over but I never tried real chalk, the owner of the gym would freak out as he’s already pestering about wiping every chalk mark

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