Lifters' Corner: The Hook Grip

(reposted from our April 2018 newsletter)

If you are relatively new to lifting, you might wonder why we employ the use of the hook grip when we deadlift . . . let's chat.

Eventually, as you continue to train and get stronger, there will come a point when grip strength becomes the limiting factor on your deadlift. In other words, you could probably pull the bar off the floor if you could just manage to hang on to the stupid thing. At this point, an adjustment must be made to the grip so that we can continue to train and strengthen the legs, hips, and back.

Traditionally, people have often utilized a grip wherein one arm is pronated (i.e., palm down) and the other arm is supinated (i.e., palm up) - this is commonly referred to as a mixed grip, alternate grip, or switch grip. This grip is very strong, but it is also asymmetrical, and this asymmetry can cause a few problems, including twisting during the lift as well as aggravation of the tendons in the supinated arm. Bicep ruptures - although rare - have been known to occur with this type of grip (to be fair it should also be pointed out that this typically results from a lifter trying to jerk the bar off the floor with a slightly flexed arm - a bad idea under any circumstance).

To avoid this asymmetry, we utilize the hook grip. It is typically uncomfortable, but it is strong, it is safe, and you will be a better person for having used it. It's science. With this in mind, those who can hook . . . should hook, and that probably means you.

Hope this helps!