Why I Deadlift With A Hook Grip And You Should Too

by Caleb Lee on August 10, 2009


Hook Grip Deadlifts - The Way Of The Man

Today, I’m going to talk about deadlifting … and more specifically … how you grip the bar to pull it off the floor.

Why Is Your Deadlift Grip So Important?

The reason why your deadlift grip is important is because if you don’t have a good grip on the bar, you’ll never break it off the floor and you’ll definitely never lift it and lock it out.

Plus, you don’t want to drop the weight. That sucks.

What’s more: I’ve heard your nervous system is “smart” and won’t let your muscles fully “fire” if your grip is too weak for the weight you’re trying to lift (I don’t know the science behind it, but it certainly makes sense as one of your body’s many “safety mechanisms”)

While we’re on the topic of grip …

Avoid Straps and Gloves When Possible!

Some guys like to use “lifting straps” or weightlifting gloves. I recommend neither.

For gloves, the idea that your nervous system will fire more efficiently without them is enough for me … plus … I don’t want to look like Eminem cause I already wear a bandana when I lift a lot of times — and it’s similar enough to a “doo rag” that someone might mistake me for the infamous white rapper.

And for lifting straps, it’s just better to let your hands get stronger and stronger, along with the rest of your body. I guess on some really heavy attempts or accessory exercises it’d be ok or whatever, but moderation is key.

hookgripHow To Hook Grip

Very simply, this is how you hook grip:

  • Start With The Thumb — and pointer finger “hook” part of your hand by gripping the bar.
  • Tighten the thumb down – around the bar.
  • Wrap Your fingers — starting with the pointer finger down around the bar, covering your thumb with as many fingers as possible.
  • Squeeze – to get max strength/tension and strengthen the grip

The picture to the right should help you, and the video below does a good job of showing you too:

Benefits Of The Hook Grip

  • Stronger – grip than with a traditional grip
  • Equal Development — of your muscles. I know guys with bigger traps on one side of their body because they always use a staggered grip on deadlifts.
  • Lift more weight — with the hook grip than a regular grip
  • Better for your back — I believe the staggered grip puts an uneven load on your lower back. Feel free to disagree because, in the end …

It’s Up To You …

But when it comes to lifting with a regular grip V.S. a staggered grip V.S. a hook grip … I’ll take the hook grip hands down.

I found when I used to lift with a staggered grip, I’d always have a “strong side” that I did the most weight with. This leads to unequal muscle development. Although nobody is perfectly symmetrical, I try to avoid muscle imbalances whenever possible.

And believe me, it’s got nothing to do with aesthetics. After having a lower back injury/strain/pain/whatever … you look for ways to reduce this in the future … and I feel that the hook grip is a much better grip to keep your back and muscles healthier for longer.

Even if you’re lifting heavy ass weights while deadlifting :)

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{ 2 trackbacks }

How To Deadlift With A Small … Hands!
September 24, 2009 at 3:12 pm
November 30, 2009 at 9:36 pm

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Tony Suviea September 23, 2009 at 1:33 pm

Hey man what’s your take on guys with small hands. I’m 5’8″ and can barely and I mean barely touch my thumb with my fingers. Normally I find myself alternating the revers grip, you know over under the opposite under over.


bill August 20, 2010 at 12:51 pm

I'm 5'4" and I can do the hook grip fairly well. If you're 5'8" and don't have very very tiny hands you should he able to do it. Most Olympic weight lifters use it and there are guys like 4'10" in the 56 kg weight class that lift 300 plus pounds.


Caleb_Lee September 4, 2010 at 11:57 pm

Thanks Bill.


krle February 5, 2011 at 2:59 am

Hook grip rules:-)
Staggered grip on deadlift besides back injuries can also cause biceps tendon tear on supinated arm.


Caleb_Lee February 5, 2011 at 11:21 pm



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