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Hook Grip Deadlifts

Hook Grip Deadlifts
19 October 2022 5 min read
Hook Grip Deadlifts

Whether you’re just starting out with deadlifts or have been at it for a number of years, in all likelihood you’ve had one occasion where your grip has given out and you’ve failed a rep. At the very least, even if you’ve never outright failed a rep, there have probably been occasions where you’ve felt your grip slipping and you’ve had to reset.

It won’t be a great fit for everyone, but fans of the hook grip will tell you there’s no more effective method for gripping the barbell for deadlifts than the hook grip. So, if you’re currently using a standard overhand grip or a mixed grip, read on to see if the hook grip could be the thing to take you to the next level.

Hook Grip Method

So, before we go into any great detail on the merits of the hook grip, we’ll let you know exactly how you hook grip for deadlifts.

  1. Set up as you normally would for a deadlift.
  2. Wrap your thumb around the bar, then wrap your fingers over the top of your thumb. Apply some pull as if you’re about to perform the deadlift: your thumb should feel trapped or even slightly pinched under your fingers. It might feel a little uncomfortable but should not feel painful.
  3. Try not to squeeze over the knuckle and keep your thumb pressed into the bar.
  4. Perform your deadlift as normal – if it’s your first time trying, it’s almost certainly going to feel uncomfortable. But we’re also confident you’ll be able to feel right away an upgraded level of grip security with hook grip.
  5. Don’t let go until you have fully set the barbell back on the floor! The thing that makes it so effective as a secure grip is also what makes it so hard to "get out" of the grip. You’re liable to tear up your thumb if you try and release your grip in the middle of a deadlift.
  6. Assess what you’ve just done. Did it feel more secure? Is it worth persisting through the initial discomfort? Only you can decide.

Why Switch to Hook Grip for Deadlifts?

So, why should you switch to hook grip? Here are some of the main reasons:

A more secure grip: Especially if you have average-sized or larger hands, many report that switching to hook grip has been a real game-changer. The greater security offered by the grip removes a classic niggling doubt that many of us face when pushing for a PR. That little voice in the back of your head that tells you it feels the bar slipping from your grip. Hook grip is such a rock-solid way of holding the bar that many lifters practically feel as though they completely leave the feeling of the bar slipping out of their hands entirely.

A balanced level of stress on the shoulders (better symmetry): As opposed to mixed grip, arguably the most popular deadlift grip, hook grip can feel more natural and balanced for the shoulders. The asymmetry of mixed grip can really prove a hindrance when you get to lifting really heavy, so a switch to hook grip can really make a difference.

Improved lifting positioning: If performed correctly, you will be able to sit back into a position more readily where you can better tap into power from the hamstrings.

Reduces chances of bicep tears: Bicep tears can be surprisingly common when using the other big-hitting grip, the mixed grip. Mixed grip can place undue stress on the biceps tendon and can lead to injuries when pulling heavy.

Reduces fatigue in the forearms: You’ll require less force to hold the barbell when using a hook grip, which can greatly reduce the level of stress placed on your forearms. Forearm fatigue can cause your grip to give out, so opting for something easier on the forearms can help decrease the chances of the bar slipping from your hands.

Is Hook Grip Uncomfortable?

Yes, the hook grip is uncomfortable at first. Well, everyone is different of course, but the consensus seems to be that almost everyone finds it uncomfortable and unnatural at the outset. If you don’t find it uncomfortable even at first, you are a lucky person, but the reality is that most people feel they need to power through the discomfort.

So, the best advice we can give? Stick with it. Yes, it’s going to start out uncomfortable but the amount of people who stick with it and never look back probably tells you everything you need to know.

You should note: if you’re finding hook grip PAINFUL, you probably haven’t got the technique quite right. Many people report that it is painful, and it just shouldn’t be. Uncomfortable, yes. Painful, no.

Check you’re not pressing on your thumbnail or your thumb knuckle as this can cause pain. Also, check your thumb is hooked around the bar and not flat along it, as this can cause a painful feeling of pinching.

Convinced to try a Hook Grip Deadlift?

Convinced to at least try it? What do you have to lose? As we say, there’s almost certainly going to be a period of finding the hook grip uncomfortable that you will have to persist through, but we hear about so many people switching and never going back that we might just have to crown the hook grip the king of the deadlift grips.

Give it a go. Let us know what you think. Happy lifting!

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