T Nation

Open Grip Squat or Closed Grip


I was looking at some supplements at the T-Nation store and noticed a picture of someone squatting with his thumb on the side of the bar and not closed grip.

Is there bigger benefits with closed than open or is it just preference?


I've seen thumbless. Some people prefer it. However, I've never seen open hands at any type of meet or with any serious weight (for that individual). The bar isn't sitting on your back, you are actively trying to bend it across your upper back and you can't do that with open hands.


A lot of times it's because elbows and shoulders flare up on some of our brethren that aren't so mobile and suffer from tendonitis. Going thumbless usually takes a bit of the strain off the elbows and shoulders. I will say that the guys at my place that do this generally get their thumbs back around for meets and just deal with the pain.


Why do you need to grip at all?


aaaaaaaaaaand /thread


lol, I advize you guys watch mike tuscherer then reconsider hating on thumbless grip... I personally hate thumbless and need my thumbs around the bar, but clearly thumbless does not interfere with your ability to hold insane ammounts of weight on your back....


Has anyone actually hated on it?


I squat thumbless..I can get my elbows more forward that way, especially coming out of the hole

as far as open hands..Nikolay Suslov did it pretty successfully, although he started with a closed grip

Bondarenko barely even held the bar


helps bring my hands closer in and elbows more forwards


I don't think so. The picture doesn't just show thumbless, it shows someone with their hands open and the bar just kind of resting on it.

I've tried thumbless and it helped getting my elbows under the bar but I ended up with electric shock kind of pains in my hands.


Never tried the open hand grip, but the thumbless one put way less strain on my wrists, so I'll keep squatting this way.


I think it depends on your bar position, and then how you set your elbows/shoulders

If I am using high bar, and want to try to "point my elbows to the floor" as some coach it, I have to be thumbless to rotate them down.

If I am using high bar and don't mind the "chicken wing" style, I have to wrap my thumbs around it.

FWIW, I've started using low bar, thumbless, ala Rippetoe ( http://startingstrength.com/index.php/site/platform_the_squat_bar_position ), and it's the stablest I've ever felt (something I have struggled with forever)


I go thumbless. Thumb around kills my shoulders. Also, saying you cann't actively "bend" the bar thumbless is like saying you can't actively bend the bar in a bench if you bench thumbless. I beg to differ. In fact, I feel it easier to keep my back tight and bend the bar because it is as simple as driving the meet of your hands into the bar. Also, it helps keep my elbows under the bar and not chicken-wing it.Plenty of strong people squat thumbless too. Honestly, disregarding any of the ways is just silly when it clearly works for some people and not for others.

I think it is FAR more important to keep your wrists aligned with the bar and the elbow (not let the bar roll back into your hand) rather than having a thumbless or thumb around grip. The pic on top is horrible cause the bar is clearly rolled back and you can get away with that in warm ups, but any real weight on there and your wrist will break in half. Watch the strong mofo-s posted above squat - THAT is how the bar is supposed to be positioned and gripped.


FWIW, I've started using low bar, thumbless, ala Rippetoe ( http://startingstrength.com/index.php/site/platform_the_squat_bar_position ), and it's the stablest I've ever felt (something I have struggled with forever)[/quote]

I agree, it takes a while to find your sweet spot, but when you find it, the low bar thumbless position just wedges that bar in like none other.


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How on earth does Bondarenko keep the bar from falling off him??? hahahha Insane... Huh well I might give this a try... Though I really like having a white knuckle grip and yanking the bar into me when I squat. Definitely makes me feel way tighter. Probably just somthing I haven't learned how to do properly so it's just a good cue for me to really tighten the back.


I use thumbless grip for the sole purpose of taking strain off my bicep tendons.


You just use your hands and pull the bar down into your back.

The bar is MUCH more secure with a thumbless grip, imo. But, as always, check with your federation. I've heard some feds don't like thumbless, although that may be an antiquated rule.


IPF (my fed) allows thumbless on squat.

My point isn't about thumbless grip. I've used that before with some success before it caused pain in my hands.

My point about pulling the bar down on your back refers to the fact that his hands are open and his wrists are cocked. How can you pull the bar down with open hands like that? It looks inactive like they are just a handy place to rest the bar rather than an active part of the squat.


Nicely played.

I can drive the bar pretty hard down on my back using an open grip. I obviously don't squat that much so maybe it's different once you get really strong. But if you're using moderate weights then it's definitely no problem keeping the bar tight on your back thumbless.