T Nation

Train The Hook Grip


For those who do, how did you train the use of the hook grip?

I made a thread a while back about my grip failing on the snatch. Maybe it's my comparatively small hands, but grip is seriously a limiting factor in my ability to impart force to the bar.

I've tried using the hook grip, and it causes me an immense amount of pain in my thumb and thumb-socket (I have no idea what it's actually called, where your thumb meets your palm). Mostly in the thumb itself.

More than just painful, using the hook grip has been thus far completely ineffective, because the pain makes it difficult to grip, and even when it doesn't, it does not seem to add any appreciable gripping that I couldn't have acheived on my own.

I believe there is some level of physiological adaptation to the prolonged use of hook-grip that somehow is responsible for the many wonders associated with it, as opposed to a technique you can pick up within a day and add 10 lbs to your clean or whatever.

So for those that use it, how did you train the hook grip?


Have you tried taping your thumbs?

I have really big hands, so the hook grip has never been really painful


How many fingers are you trying to wrap over your thumb? My hands are not big either. I can only fit one finger over my thumb comfortably. Other than that, start using it only on light lifts and work your way up.


Suck it up. It is going to blow for about three weeks. Use it as much as possible and you will adapt to it. Use if for the clean, the snatch and pulls. In a week or two it will be a non issue.


It sucked for about a month for me. Now I can't imagine doing oly lifts without it. Typically I will have my middle finger and index finger on top of the thump. I hate to say it, but like is mentioned above, it's just a matter of going through the pain at first.


I was deadlifting 120kg(alternate grip) when I switched to the hook grip,I could barely do 60kg!

I have pulled 200kg before with no danger of it slipping out of my hands...

My advice is if you want to switch to the hook grip,you might expect drastic drops in load...and yes,it is painful,you might even feel your thumb getting numb but that is just the growing pains of getting used to the hook grip

Oh yes,by the way,you might have internal bleeding under your thumbnails as well.

This is my thumb


The dark area is dried blood-the consequence of using the hook grip for every exercise I do-deadlifts,pullups,rows,clean and presses,farmer's walks.

Good luck!


I still rupture vessels in my thumbs all the time, doesn't hurt just looks weird.


1) Tape your thumb. Not only will it take a bit of the sting out of it, but it'll give you extra friction and stop you from having to rechalk every set.

2) Make sure your fingers are not just pressing on the thumb, but pulling on the side of it.

3) Grab the bar as though you're using a normal grip and make sure you're not pinching the skin on the palm of your hand. Now remove your thumb and first 2 fingers from the bar and push the bar deep into the web between the thumb and forefinger. Get as much thumb around the bar as you can, then hook your first 2 fingers around the thumb, not on top of it. Most of the pressure will be from the middle finger as it's the longest. If you're pinching the skin on the palm of your hand re-adjust.

4) Tape your little finger below the first knuckle. This is the finger most prone to slipping, so taping it will reduce the chances of tearing a callous.


What's the advantage of hook grip? Alternate grip should give you better results


Olympic lifts


how long have you hook gripped for? If under a month, just stick to it, you'll get used to it. If more, there might be an error in the way you are grabbing things


It took me about a month.
But this is the order in how my thumbs got used to Olifting.

1st thing to get used to was Snatches.
2nd Cleans.
3rd Clean pulls.
4th Snatch pulls.

-From this point on it took more than a month.

5th Snatch grip RDL.
6th Clean grip RDL.

I haven't used the hook grip in conventional DLs.


Ditto to all the responses for "just keep using it." You'll eventually get used to it.....and yes its painful at first.


I have the same problem with the hook grip. I tried it once and couldn't lift anything close to the weight I use without it. I guess I just need to practice more. Anybody have pictures or video of a correct hook grip? Anybody want to post a pic of their grip on the bar for reference purposes? I'm just having trouble visualizing pulling the side of the thumb vs. pressing on it.


Tape your entire thumb. Use chalk. Pull as many reps as possible until the pain gets unbearable. Repeat and try to do more next time.

Simple, painful, but effective. Hang in there!


Here is a pic...


I don't use a hook grip and don't see the need. Maybe I am just biased from my years spent powerlifting.


Take two weeks off and then quit.



In this video, go to 2:35:30. If you don't already, I recommend taping your thumb as he suggests. This way, the tape lasts longer and pain is largely reduced. He also talks about using the hook grip and its necessity to Olympic weightlifting, but I don't want to take the time to find that specific clip. He basically says that it will discolor and hurt for a month, but afterwards, the hook grip makes for a great advantage.


Add me in as one of those people that didn't really experience much of a pain from the first time I tried it.