I started at a new CrossFit gym in Ohio a couple weeks ago and I feel like I am learning something new every day. Last week it was the butterfly kip (once I am actually able to do it, I will post about it) and this week it is the hook grip. I had no idea that there were actually different grips for lifts. I have always just used the traditional grip which seemed to work fine for me. But, this morning, after failing three times at a PR power clean, the trainer suggested I try a hook grip. After fooling around with it for a couple minutes, I was able to clean the weight I had previously failed at with ease.
So what is the hook grip and why should you try it? The hook grip starts by first wrapping your thumb around the bar and then gripping your thumb and bar with the rest of your fingers (see picture below). This differs from the traditional grip in which you wrap your fingers around the bar first and then grip your fingers with your thumb.
Moving the position of your thumb seems like a small modification, but it changes the whole feel of the lift. Not only does it allow your wrist to easily rotate into the rack position at the end of a clean, it also makes “death gripping” the bar nearly impossible. This is important since a death grip can cause an athlete to pull with their arms instead of opening up their hips. Pulling with your arms = quick fatigue=not good. Since this grip is also more relaxed, it is a life saver for high rep lifts too.
This grip definitely feels a little strange at first and does put a lot of pressure on your thumb. But, once you work with it and get use to it, I think it can benefit any and all crossfitters. Personally, it helped me clean an extra 10 pounds this morning, so I am all for it now!