Benefits of Using a Hook Grip for Olympic Lifting

Hook Grip Demonstration:



The hook grip is used in Olympic lifting because it is a more secure grip than a conventional overhand or traditional grip. The hook grip is initiated by wrapping your thumbs over the bar, and then wrapping your fingers over your thumbs; pinning your thumbs in between the bar and the remaining fingers. The hook grip is utilized during the snatch and the clean and jerk. The lifter can exert up to three times greater force than the weight of the bar when it rests on the ground.

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Olympic barbells have bearings inside the sleeve, which causes the bar to roll when lifted with accelerated force. This allows the plates to rotate and helps for a smooth transition from the second pull to the receiving position of the lift, reducing stress on the wrists and elbows. When Lifters use a conventional overhand grip, the bar can easily roll towards the fingertips, causing the lifter to lose their grip on the bar. The hook grip keeps the bar from slipping out of the fingertips with the thumb blocking the bar from rolling towards the fingertips.


Key points and benefits of using a hook grip include:

  • Both hands are pronated with the palms facing towards your body
  • Thumb is pinned between the bar and your index and middle fingers (piece sign).
  • Wrap your thumb around the bar first and then wrap your fingers over your thumb. This will ensure that your thumb is “hooked” under the bar and just parallel to the bar, pinned underneath the fingers.
  • Once your thumb is wrapped under the bar, use the fingers to pull the thumb further around the bar
  • The hook grip is usually uncomfortable or even painful when initially incorporated. Consistently using it will allow your hands and fingers to adapt, and it will actually become more comfortable than a conventional overhand grip
  • Grip the bar as firmly as needed to maintain the grip without the need to apply a “death grip” on the bar


Benefits of using a hook grip:

  • More secure than a conventional overhand grip because it prevents the bar from rolling towards the fingertips and slipping out of the hands
  • Reduces the amount of hand, forearm, and elbow tension needed to maintain a grip on the bar. This helps with efficiency, and can help prevent early arm pulling, while maximizing force from the legs during triple extension.
  • When used consistently, it will become more comfortable than a conventional overhand grip
  • Improved efficiency, will lead to greater power output, and an increase in weight lifted


The hook grip is too valuable not to use when performing Olympic lifts. It takes some time to get used to, but with consistent use, the hook grip will become an integral part of your Olympic lifting. Taping your thumbs with an elastic tape that allows flexing of your thumbs can help in reducing pain or injury of the skin and thumbnail. The hook grip will maximize efficiency in the lift and help you increase your Olympic lifts. The Maddox Method encourages all of our athletes to use a hook grip when Olympic lifting. If it is painful or uncomfortable at first, stick with it for about two weeks and it should start feeling natural. Once becoming comfortable, you will notice the benefits and will not want to lift without it.

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