T Nation

Using Long Thumbnail for Hook Grip?

Is there any rule among various powerlifting federations that prevents someone from growing their thumbnail 2-3 inches long for use as an aid in gripping the bar?

Uhh… no, not that I’m aware of.

Imagine snapping your nail off. You must be desperate.

1 Like

I can’t imagine that being better than standard hook grip. I have heard of people cutting cross hatch patterns (knurling) on their thumb nails to aid in grip.

I saw someone recently pick up an “Inch” dumbbell (2.5 inch handle) by growing out and flattening his thumbnail over a couple of years.

What do you mean, he hook gripped a dumbbell? I’m not sure how that would translate to a heavy deadlift. Hook gripping a long thumbnail sounds like a good way to tear it right off your thumb, that’s not something I would want to experiment with.


A german weightlifter recommended growing my thumbnail to me as well.
I have not tried it yet though. I have 7 inch hands and struggled with the hook grip.

If a 114 pound 5’2 female can hook grip, you can too

Tell that to Ben Pollack.

1 Like

I know I know . With respect they have a girl’s bar and are generally the exception to the rule. Also outside of Olympians and above the weights are lighter. I can barely do 180kg from the rack. I used to do 200kg from the floor but only for deadlift. Even then it was slipping out of my hands. I think you would need to close the ironmind coc 3 in either hand to do well.

I’ve seen a female in the 132 lb class pull 496 lbs hook. It can be done.

1 Like

do u know what grippers she can close? impressive stuff

No, just a crazy deadlift. It was using a Texas deadlift bar. Those I think are 27 mm bars.

I pulled 145kg at 55kg in contest using a hook without a grip issue. It’s the same bar for men and women. PL not Olympic. Mostly I use straps except for heavy singles.I train at home on a texas bar. It just takes practice. It’s only a problem with reps.


A 2-3" long nail would snap off with any actual weight hook gripping.

1 Like

My hook grip works for deadlifting like caller Woolam says. Unlimited lol. Maybe I just have long fingers. I prefer shorter thumb nail because it can scratch my thigh on the way up to the point of bleeding.

Maybe try scoring your nail in a knurling pattern (I know Vince doesn’t like this lol)

JP Cauchi has a video where he recommends to scruff up you thumbfingernail to add friction, but growing it long… idk. The mrs always complains of accidentally snapping a bit of her nails and therefore needing to shorten all nails. I can’t see how this can sustain a heavy deadlift…

Also, if you know how to hookgrip properly, you do not need much grip strength. i.e. being able to hookgrip is no indicator of how well you can close COCs. Conversely, training with grippers does not necessarily improve your deadlift grip. Josh Bryant has commented on this in many video.

I find the key here is to focus on keeping the gripper closed, rather than just clinking away reps. Things like 5 second timed hold reps with a 30 second timed hold finish. But need to train the thumb too.


Here’s Ed Coan showing his grip move. Like a 1 Arm deadlift/hold. It’s really easy to set up and fast to get done. It directly carries over to holding barbells and is really easy to progressively load. Unlike grippers.

Also, if you want a stronger grip you should train your thumbs. Like pinch gripping.

1 Like