Out amongst the swirling currents and high seas there is a mystical power that lurks just below the surface. Some say that, when used properly, it could easily add PRs on most of your olympic lifts. This little known treasure of the deep also carries with it a curse. A curse that strikes the user with an intense pain in the thumbs as they try desperately to harness the magic of this legendary tool.
My desperate attempts at tying two things, in this case weightlifting and pirates, is an attempt to take something totally foreign to most of you and make it more relatable and just a little more entertaining. Unfortunately, it sometimes turns into a jumbled mess as I try to finagle multiple correlations between the two. I think anyone can write a detailed, lengthy and anatomical article on the hows and whys of the hook grip, but that would be boring and against everything I know.
The gym is our ocean and lifting is our treasure. The hook grip is our method to obtain the treasure. Could we get by with a normal grip? Sure. Just like any pirate could get by with a long beard and a poorly made sword. We want to be the best damn pirate-lifter on the open ocean, so a flimsy sword and looking the part won’t cut it. We need cannons, we need velvety robes festooned with ribbons and trinkets. We need the hook grip.
When we set sail out across the vast expanses of the gym floor loaded with barbells it can appear wildly intimidating. However, with the proper utilization of the hook grip, we can conquer just about any formidable adversary.
I tried to google search “pirates using hook grip” and nothing came up. Go figure. So for this, I throw it way back to the OG King of the Hook Grip, Dustin Hoffman in 1991's blockbuster "Hook". Awww, the days of my youth....
Enough reminiscing. Lets take a look at another photo.
The first thing you will notice is that someone in the above photo should grab another bar. Then you will notice that the thumb wraps around the bar first. Push the bar deep into the webbing of your thumb and index finger. Then, by placing the first to fingers over the top of your thumb you have the hook grip. It looks and sound super easy, right? By now you might realize that it hurts like nobody’s business. To put it bluntly: suck it up. There are men that way 55kg and snatch upwards of 130kg. Tiny men with tiny hands moving big weight. If they can do it with that, you can do it with sub maximal loads. I wouldn't be a good coach if I just shouted “suck it up!” all the time so if it does hurt, there could be an underlying cause. Maybe its flexibility in the hand or wrist. Maybe you just aren't conditioned for the awkwardness of the movement. In both cases, exposure is the best answer. Keep doing it, keep trying but never go into any severe pain. Use it in warm-ups with light weight and low reps. I promise you, with a hook grip, you are stronger than a normal grip. Period.
Keep practicing. The coaches here at CrossFit PR Star have full realized the benefit of the hook grip. So much so, that we use it for EVERYTHING. Don't believe me? Check it out:
Just like any movement we train and work on here at CrossFit PR Star, its important to start with small doses and progressively add weight to the developing hook grip. Let the coaches know if you have any questions!