Hook Grip: What You Need To Know

Jul 14, 2023

 by Kelly McKinnon

The hook grip is an essential technique of weightlifting that you must learn to incorporate, especially if you’re wanting to increase the amount of weight lifted in the snatch and clean.

Today we’re going to review: what it is, why it’s so important, and how it should be incorporated it into your lifting. If you're in Columbus, don't forget to check out our 12-week Olympic lifting clinic!


Compared to a conventional grip, a hook grip is where your thumb is wrapped around the bar and locked into place with your first and second fingers. This technique strengthens your grip by pulling the thumb further around the bar. This then creates the “hook” around the bar, allowing you to have a more secure grip as you pull the barbell off the floor.

Check out the two images below and spot the differences in the placement of the thumb and first two fingers.


conv grip


hook grip

The hook grip is essential to weightlifters as they go through the second pull of the lift and utilize hip extension to explosively direct the barbell overhead (snatch) or to the shoulders (clean). Most importantly, the hook grip allows for the weightlifter to have more flexibility when handling the barbell, so that when the barbell makes contact in extension, it can still spin without rolling out of the hands (as it would with a conventional grip). This helps the weightlifter to safely guide the barbell where it needs to be while maintaining control of the weight.

Lastly, the hook grip allows the lifter to have a more relaxed grip on the barbell. By reducing tension in the grip, this allows you to have a more relaxed upper body. While this might sound counterproductive, it’s actually quite the opposite. The reduced tension in the upper body enables you to shift focus to your lower body so that you can then use your legs to generate more force, explosiveness, and power, which are all primary elements of Olympic weightlifting.


It’s actually pretty simple, but one of the reasons individuals may not utilize it is because it can be uncomfortable if you’re just starting out and/or you don’t fully understand the reason behind using it. Take a look at this step-by-step guide that shows you how to implement a proper hook grip:


#1. Place the crevice of your hands (the area between your thumb and first finger) onto the barbell.

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#2. Wrap your thumb around the barbell, while maintaining secure contact with the rest of the hand.

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#3. Wrap your first and second fingers around the thumb (as much as hand size will allow), thus creating the “hook” on the barbell.

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#4. Allow your other fingers to wrap loosely around the barbell. You should feel as if you have a solid and secure grip on the barbell, but not so tightly that you’re holding it with a “death grip.”

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While a hook grip can at first be uncomfortable (and potentially painful), you'll find that over time and with continued use, it will become much more comfortable and easier to implement. Here's a quick tip to help reduce initial discomfort: use chalk or wrap your thumbs with athletic tape to minimize the direct contact between the thumb and the barbell. Just ensure that the tape you’re using is flexible and elastic so that your thumb can still move!

Have questions on Olympic lifting or the hook grip? Send me your questions at Kelly@verve-studios.com or connect with me on Instagram @kellybeth871 - I'd love to hear from you!

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