The hook grip (thumb under fingers) is commonly used in Weightlifting over a wide variety of exercises. It provides a much more secure grip than just naturally grabbing the bar (thumb over fingers).
The hook grip does two things: firstly, it allows your arms to relax in the first half of the lift which means you’ll benefit more from the hip drive as your arms will be less tense. Secondly, after the hip drive (which provides the bar with a sudden increase in velocity) you often find with a natural grip the bar tends to slip out of your hands. With a hook grip this problem is virtually eliminated, because it provides a much more secure grasp.
Going back 10 years… The first time I tried the hook grip it hurt - a lot. After a “teething” phase, usually a week or two of just bar training (but maybe longer if training is not so regular), the pain fled and my grip improved greatly. Yes, it is painful but it’s just one of those things you have to bear and get through in order to master it. You can reduce the pain by taping up your thumbs - Good Luck!
How to do it
On the right you will see a picture of the hook grip.You start by bending your thumb into an “L” position across the bar. Then wrap two or three fingers over your thumb depending on your hand size and what feels comfortable for you.
Most lifters I know tend to just use two fingers. It’s relatively straight forward and will feel quite alien to begin with. But, that said you will get used to it and notice a huge difference in the second pull of your Snatch and Clean.
*Please note as there is no “pull” you do not need to hook grip with the Jerk or any other over head exercises, or squats, unless asked by your coach or trainer.
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