The Hook Grip vs. The Traditional Grip

The traditional grip is where an athlete grabs a barbell with the thumb wrapped around the index and middle finger.

This type of grip is most commonly used every day.  For example, we use it to hold the steering wheel while driving.  It’s what we are used to, hence making it our first option.  It’s easy and comfortable, so naturally we are inclined to use it more often.

The hook grip, just like the traditional grip, involves the the thumb, index and middle fingers.  However, it goes one step deeper by placing the thumb under the index and middle fingers, creating a sort of clamp.  

The hook grip is uncomfortable and rather painful.  I hear people complaining about it often, or better yet, I see you all trying to sneak a regular grip instead of a hook grip!

So why do we emphasize the hook grip so much? Why not let people just use whatever grip they are most comfortable with?

CrossFit is about efficiency, not comfort.  

Simply put, the hook grip creates a sort of friction that prevents the bar from slipping out of your hands.  When the barbell slips, regardless of how small that slip might be, the athlete loses power.  Ensuring that the weight is not going anywhere other than where you want it to go, is always a plus.  Another benefit of the hook grip is that it aids in grip fatigue.  The fact that the fingers create that clamp while using the hook grip actually benefits the athletes grip, allowing it to relax during lifts, rather than using full force to grip the bar tighter.

I heard somebody say that in the Olympics, weightlifters compete from all over the world.  They each have their own technique, a very particular way of approaching the lift,  and often times little differences here and there.  However, the only thing that stays the same for all contestants is the use of the hook grip.  To find a universal agreement must mean there’s some advantage to it.  I think that makes a rather bold statement in regard to the validity of the hook grip.

The hook grip is a bit awkward and it does take some getting used to.  You may experience some discomfort, but give yourself a few weeks and it will get much better.  I promise, soon enough you’ll end up liking the hook grip over the traditional grip!

Wednesday’s Skill

5 sets, each set increasing in weight of:

-2 power snatches

-2 snatch grip push presses

-2 overhead squats

Workout of the Day (WOD):

21-15-9 of:

-power snatches (75# for men/53# for women)

-pull-ups (chest to bar advanced)


then finish with 25 wall ball shots (20# for men/14# for women)

Beginner’s Skill

Press 5 – 5 – 3 – 3 – 1 – 1

Workout of the Day (WOD):

15 minute AMRAP (as many rounds as possible)

-4 pull-ups

-8 sumo deadlift high pulls (53# for men/35# for women)

-12 air squats

Power Hour:


5 rounds of:

-max reps of bodyweight bench presses

-max pull-ups

Rest 2 minutes between each round

Score is the total of all bench presses and pull-ups reps

Post times to comments

Cooper, Annelise, Stacy and Jeff getting through the AMRAP!

Power Hour Madness!


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