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Question about hook grip

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  • Question about hook grip

    Hi BBM,

    I started using hook grip a couple of months ago though i'm not 100% sure of the tecnique I should be using.

    I saw some people that recommend wrapping only two fingers around the thumb and have the other two fingers on the bar, and I saw others recommend three fingers around the thumb and only the little finger around the bar.

    I have relatively small hands for a male, and can only get two and a half fingers on my thumb (the ring finger is sort of half on my thumb and half on the bar), though trying to pull with only two fingers around the thumb feels kind of akward.

    Any advice about technique improvements with this?

  • #2
    Hey Ben,

    The hook grip has 2-3 fingers pressing down on the thumb depending on the size of the hand, thumb, and barbell itself. We don't really get to choose, especially because bar is going to sit low in the hand -near the palmar digital crease. I wouldn't specify 2 or 3 fingers without seeing someone's hand on the bar. Sounds like you're more of a 2.5 digit guy. That should work


    Barbell Medicine "With you from bench to bedside"
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    • #3
      Hey Jordan,

      Just to make sure I understood correctly - you're saying that having 2.5 fingers around the thumb is fine, meaning it doesn't need to be only 2 or 3?
      Also, at what point of the 5 step deadlift set-up would you start squeezing the bar tightly using the hook grip? Should it be at step 3 when I place my hands on the bar, or step 4 when I pull the slack out of the bar?

      Just another follow-up question about hook grip and grip strength in general:
      I'm currently running PB II week 8 and i've got to a point in my training where I need to use hook grip for all 5 working sets including the back-off sets of 3 reps. Also, I need to use hook grip on day 1 when I have stiff-legged deadlifts since they are with slightlly higher reps and grip strength becomes a limiting factor there.
      The problem i'm having is that the hook grip is messing up my thumbs pretty badly, though I don't want to use straps because I want to improve my grip strength incase I ever plan on competing (I don't currently have any such plans but maybe in the future I will). My deadlift for 1 rep @ RPE 8 is 185kg, and while my grip isn't really an issue when I use hook grip, it gets very painful towards the last couple of sets.


      • #4
        You don't get to choose whether you're using 2 or 3 fingers, as that's dictated by hand size, grip width, bar size, etc.

        Whenever you put your hands on the bar, I'd squeeze the bar tightly. Probably doing it again right before you decide to actually lift the weight (e.g. step 5). I don't think it's realistic to keep your hand applying 100% tension throughout the setup.

        Regarding SLDL, RDL, or similar variations, I wouldn't do these without straps...pretty much ever. You can make your own decisions, but I think grip fatigue and tearing up your hands becomes a significant issue with respect to developing grip strength and training in general.

        Also, I assume you've tried mixed grip and didn't like it?
        Barbell Medicine "With you from bench to bedside"
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        • #5
          Got it, regaring SLDL and RDL and such variations i'll start using starps. The reason I haven't been using them up until now is that up until the last few weeks I could handle the load using chalk and hook grip when needed, and because in my mind I thought it was helping develop my grip strength.
          So, as for actually developing grip strength in the long term, would you say that the single comp style deadlift session per week without using straps is enough to develop sufficient grip strength?

          As for mixed grip, I did try it a while back and felt that I couldn't get an equal amount of tension with both sides which slightly threw me off.
          Also, I saw Austin previously say that the risk for bicep tears with this grip is not as high as people would lead you to believe, though it is still a worry I have when using this grip since I have a pretty extensive history of injuries (both in and out of the gym) and wouldn't want to risk it.


          • #6
            Yea, I think deadlifting once a week is likely enough to improve grip strength in the deadlift.

            If you find that hook grip isn't working for you after a while, I'd consider returning to mixed grip.
            Barbell Medicine "With you from bench to bedside"
            ///Book a Consultation/// Instagram /// Peri™ Rx /// Whey Rx /// Barbell Medicine Podcast/// Newsletter /// Seminars ///


            • #7
              Makes sense, i'll consider mixed grip in the future if I do see that hook grip isn't the one for me.

              Thanks Jordan.