The hook grip is, without doubt, the most secure way to hold a bar when pulling from below the waist. Particularly when you snatch or clean, this method of gripping is an eventual necessity to maintain control of the barbell during the violent explosion of the second pull. At maximum speed, you want maximum grip.
How do you hook grip?
The hook grip is a pronated grip in which the thumb is trapped between the bar and usually the first and second fingers. It’s important to understand that the thumb is itself wrapped around the bar inside the fingers and not simply pinned parallel to the bar. The fingers then grab onto the thumb to pull it farther around the bar. This is very important—you do not simply smash the thumb flat against the bar; you grab it with the fingers and try to pull it around the bar.
The thumb also creates a ridge for the fingers to dig into. Rather than just wrapping around the bar, which is smooth and has no real points of purchase, and squeezing, the fingers now have a protrusion to hook onto—not only does this make gripping something easier, but because it’s your own thumb, it’s actually naturally reinforcing your grip security.
Without using hook grip you will unlikely ever meet your full potential in the snatch and clean. And the thing is, it is not comfortable to use at all. You’ll hate it until you get used to it. CrossFit at its core is a strength and conditioning protocol. The conditioning is not all about your body developing work capacity. It is also about developing tolerances. Being conditioned to use the hook grip. Develop calluses on the hands so you can hold onto the rig or bar etc.
How to develop a tolerance.
Depending on grip strength and hand size and shape, athletes will be able to maintain different levels of gripping effort. Build up a tolerance by using it whenever we do drills with the stick or empty bar. Over time progress to using it when you are lifting lighter loads and next thing you know, it’ll become second nature. To protect your thumb wrap some tape around the thumb. Don’t use physio tape it needs to be flexible so the joint can still move.