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Hook Grip and Deadlifts

Posted: Mon Dec 19, 2011 12:43 pm
by KenDowns
Yesterday I tried deadlifts with hook grip and the experience was so different from what I'm used to that it felt like a new exercise. I'm hoping to compare notes with anybody else who has tried this.

DOMS
I have DOMS in my hamstrings today, for the first time in a year.

The only thing I know about DOMS is that it happens the first time you really push a muscle hard. This would suggest my hams have not been doing their share for a looooong time. This even though I only made 3 reps on 5+ day yesterday.

Which leads to...

Totally Different Feel
I don't know how to explain this without rambling, but I'll try. When I'm adding weight during warmups and sets on deadlifts, I can feel every pound that gets added to the bar. On each new set the bar feels dramatically heavier than the last, even when I can do the reps. This is why I've sometimes described deads as "the life draining out of me through my feet."

But with hook grip, not counting the agonizing pain in my thumbs, the feel of the exercise never changed. It was suddenly exactly like bench, press, and squat: I could either lift the weight or I couldn't. No grunting, howling or other theatrics. This leads me to believe I must have been cheating for a long time on higher weights in ways my training buddies could not spot.

Grips
When I started the warm-ups with hook grip, I told myself that if it hurt my thumbs too badly on the top set I could just do mixed grip for a few reps. Well, after 3 reps with hook grip @300# I switched to mixed grip expecting to do 3 more and suddenly the bar was dramatically heavier, much more I think that can be attributed to fatigue during the set. I finished the one rep and said "never again." To confirm how much the grip mattered, I waited three more minutes and did two more at 300# with hook grip, and that 3-tons-in-my-hands feeling was gone.

I think it was Rippetoe in SS that said something like, "The legs will refuse to lift what the hands are saying they cannot hold." This certainly is ringing true very loudly, as it seems to me that:

1) Conventional overhand is the hardest grip to use, but the least painful

2) Mixed overhand reduces the grip strength issue but does not eliminate it, so you can do more, but...

3) Hook grip changes it so dramatically that you can lift more and it is much easier to maintain form and avoid cheating.

The only catch is agonizing pressure on your thumbs. But hey, its over as soon as the set is over.

Is anybody else using hook grip, or has anybody else had a similar experience?

Re: Hook Grip and Deadlifts

Posted: Mon Dec 19, 2011 1:08 pm
by Wouter
Yeah I use the hook grip, in the beginning it hurts.
But after a few workouts the pain is gone.
You just have to find the correct hand position to grip the bar.

Re: Hook Grip and Deadlifts

Posted: Mon Dec 19, 2011 1:31 pm
by Oscar_Actuary
I'm definitely interested

Re: Hook Grip and Deadlifts

Posted: Mon Dec 19, 2011 2:27 pm
by Khronos8
This sounds like "the pain in my thumbs was so excruciating that I didnt even notice the weight!"

I dont want to knock your discovery, it obviously works for you (and many others). But I'll be okay with wimping out and using straps when I cant hold on to the weight with a mixed grip (so far I can do rack pulls up to @600 without straps).

Re: Hook Grip and Deadlifts

Posted: Mon Dec 19, 2011 9:54 pm
by Jungledoc
Yeah, hook grip is the business. It's the cat's meow.

I have to pay attention and deliberately not use it on light sets now, it's become so much of a habit.

Re: Hook Grip and Deadlifts

Posted: Mon Dec 19, 2011 10:00 pm
by KenDowns
Jungledoc wrote:Yeah, hook grip is the business. It's the cat's meow.

I have to pay attention and deliberately not use it on light sets now, it's become so much of a habit.
Why not on the light sets? Just to continue improving grip strength?

Re: Hook Grip and Deadlifts

Posted: Mon Dec 19, 2011 10:01 pm
by Jungledoc
Yes. I try to maintain double overhand as far up as possible. When I get to the point that I feel the grip is limiting the lift, I switch to hook.

Re: Hook Grip and Deadlifts

Posted: Tue Dec 20, 2011 5:06 am
by Wouter
I do the same as the Doc.
(Doc, a while ago you said something about them, that's the reason I started doing hook grip deadlifts)

Re: Hook Grip and Deadlifts

Posted: Tue Dec 20, 2011 3:55 pm
by Jungledoc
Wouter wrote:I do the same as the Doc.
(Doc, a while ago you said something about them, that's the reason I started doing hook grip deadlifts)
Wow!

Glad I could help.

Re: Hook Grip and Deadlifts

Posted: Tue Dec 20, 2011 7:17 pm
by Travis
So hook grip is underhand-- like a chin-up (or is that a pull-up)

I've been doing overhand until it gets heavy then switching to mixed -- sounds like I've only done it half right

Re: Hook Grip and Deadlifts

Posted: Tue Dec 20, 2011 7:43 pm
by stuward
Hook grip is just how you hold your thumb underneath your fingers. It has nothing to do with over or underhand.

Re: Hook Grip and Deadlifts

Posted: Tue Dec 20, 2011 8:06 pm
by Travis
So the thumb is next to the palm, not wrapped around the bar opposite the palm

Re: Hook Grip and Deadlifts

Posted: Tue Dec 20, 2011 9:12 pm
by stuward
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Re: Hook Grip and Deadlifts

Posted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 1:37 pm
by Travis
Ahhhhhhh! thats why it hurts your thumb!

Re: Hook Grip and Deadlifts

Posted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 4:22 pm
by Jungledoc
It doesn't hurt MY thumb!