Hook grip VS Regular Grip For WL
Anyone who has ventured into the world of weightlifting even for a little while knows that the technique for performing the key movements is akin to magic. Many would like to master this element. For no small amount of athletes, however, a component like a barbell grip may seem pretty insignificant. Many of those who consider themselves confident amateurs in functional fitness or even weightlifting are often bewildered by the mere existence of a hook grip and the “newsflash” that only this grip technique allows one to conquer real big kilos in weightlifting.
There are three main grip types in strength training: the pronated (= overhand) grip, the alternated (= mixed) grip, and the hook grip. Athletes choose the most optimal kind depending on the type of their strength training. It is important to know that to progress, athletes must ceaselessly work on strengthening their grip.
The hook grip is the only go-to way for performing the snatch and the clean moves, but adepts of other power sports also frequently favor this type of grip.
And for good reason, since it has several advantages over the mixed grip, its safety being by far the most important factor. A hook grip relieves the strain on the biceps tendon and reduces the risk of rupture virtually to none. For those who don’t know, this is a fairly common injury in powerlifting as the athletes deal with heavy weights in the deadlift.
My specialty is not powerlifting, but as a coach, I can tell you that even with an alternated grip, the risk of rupturing the biceps is quite low — if your pulling technique is adequate, your arms are relaxed, and you don’t tug the barbell too sharply during the starting phase. Most often, athletes who end up tearing their biceps work with crazy weights and stiff arms. Additionally, lifting weights using the mixed grip for long periods without changing hand positions can cause uneven development of the lats, traps, and lower back muscles.
The overhand (= pronated) grip is often used in regular strength training. To perform any lifting exercise using this grip, the forearms must be strong and resilient. The main disadvantage of this grip type for Olympic weightlifting is that the athlete cannot relax their arms, which does not allow them to fully pass the momentum to the bar in the explosive phase.
When talking about the hook grip, it must be said that it is reliable — but finger mobility is essential here. Don’t worry, this skill сan be developed with the help of some great exercises.
One of the main disadvantages of the hook grip is that it tends to be painful and uncomfortable during the initial stage of training; but, like my coach says: just put up with it. Over time, the athlete gets used to it, and painful sensations fade.
To make sure the skin tears on the palms of the athlete’s hand do not cause an unpleasant incident on the competition day, the athlete should look after the skin post-training, clean it and anoint it with a lotion. I also recommend that you always use chalk and wrap lifting tape around your thumbs: this will significantly enhance the reliability of the grip and help protect the skin. I use Warm Body Cold Mind lifting tape (you can check a review here).To develop their grip strength and technique, I often recommend my athletes to periodically perform strength exercises with an open grip: muscle snatches and muscle cleans, plus 15-20 barbell wrist flexions 1-2 times per week, plus pinch grip training with weightlifting plates, plus exercising with dumbbells.