What is the “Hook Grip?”
When you first learn how to deadlift, you’ll take a double overhand grip, with your fingers wrapped around the bar and thumbs on the sides of the bar. Eventually, your deadlift will become heavy enough that the double overhand grip starts to fail. At this point, we prefer to teach lifters how to hook grip.
The hook grip traps the thumb between the fingers and the barbell, which creates increased friction and therefore, better grip security.
It will be uncomfortable at first and your thumbs need to adapt. Don’t stop trying and make sure you’re using the hook grip for all your warm-ups when you’re first learning it. During the working set, it’s important to not let go of the bar, even if it hurts. This actually just makes it worse!
Once you set your grip, keep it pinched throughout the entire set.
Another common mistake is squeezing down on the knuckles, instead of just the top of the thumbs. Additionally, don’t push down directly on the thumbnail.
As a last resort, you can use athletic tape to provide a layer of protection between your thumb and the bar. We recommend not using the tape, but it might be necessary for some lifters.
Hook Grip vs Mixed Grip
When the bar starts rolling out of the hands, indicating failure of grip strength, that’s when it’s time to use an alternate grip. We prefer the hook grip over the mixed grip.
In the hook grip, your body is symmetrical, whereas the mixed grip utilizes one supinated and one pronated hand. This puts additional stress on the biceps tendon of the supinated hand.
Final Thoughts: Always learn to deadlift with a double overhand grip, take that as far as you can, and then learn the hook grip.