by Coach Chris Lofland
An issue that can arise when attempting to lift heavy is an athlete's grip. In weightlifting, we use something called the hook grip. To do the hook grip you will wrap your thumb around the bar followed by your fingers on top of your thumb (likely your first two fingers).
Here are the benefits of using the hook grip:
- Barbells spin, and when you are in a double overhand grip the barbell will want to roll out of your hands towards your body. One way to combat this movement is to do a mixed grip where one hand is pronated (facing you) and the other is supinated (facing away from you). What happens here is that the pronated hand spins the bar towards you while the supinated hand spins the bar away from you, thus preventing the barbell from rolling out of either hand.
- We don’t use the mixed grip in weightlifting because the bar must continue to move up either to the shoulders or overhead. Rather, we use the hook grip. The hook grip has a similar effect as the mixed grip. The thumb wraps around one side of the bar and the fingers on the other. The bar is stabilized because the thumbs grip rotates the bar forward while the fingers grip rotates the bar backward, thus preventing the bar from spinning in the hand.
- In the hook grip, you can wrap your thumb further around the bar than if your thumb were to sit on top of your fingers. This contributes to a more secure grip on the barbell.
- In the hook grip, you also have some of your fingers gripping your thumb which means it locks the thumb into place and you're not having to fight any spin of the barbell with those fingers. You're holding your own hand instead of the bar.
Now the hook grip is typically pretty uncomfortable when you start to use it. It will get better. In fact, it will get so comfortable that you won’t ever want to grip the bar any other way. One thing you can do when starting to use the hook grip is to tape your thumb with some elastic tape. This will at least dial down some of the discomfort.
Start using the hook grip today and let us know how it goes!