The strength of grip is a significant factor for the success or failure of a lift. While training pulling straps are used to spare the grip and relive the forearms.
At a competition, on the other hand, a lot of grip strength is needed to handle maximum loads. For that weightlifters use the hook grip. This is a special version of a grip that prevents the hand from opening up and letting go of the bar. The thumb gets tucked between the index finger, middle finger, and the bar, and the hand enclose the bar, which is positioned centered in the palm, right above the ball of the thumb.
When should the hook grip be used?
The index finger and the middle finger fix the front part of the thumb. At the beginning the hook grip is pretty uncomfortable and painful, but for weightlifting necessary. For the competition exercises, snatch and clean and jerk, it should be used at any time. By the time you get used to it and the thumb gets pain resistant and more flexible. While snatching or after the clean, the hook grip opens up. That happens mostly automatic and unconscious. Before the jerk, the hook grip should be replaced with a regular grip, which gives the wrist the possibility to bend as needed.
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The hook grip strains the thumb a lot and the fluting of the bar can lead to calluses and blisters. To protect the skin, a tape can be used.
The flexibility of the thumb joint needs to be maintained at any time, therefore a hard tape is not recommended. An elastic but still durable tape will do. Important is that the adhesiveness maintains with sweat and chalk/magnesia. Kinesiotape or especially developed tape for the hook grip is highly recommended because it gives the thumb joint enough freedom of movement.
This certain tape is mostly roughened and supports the grip additional. Take care that the tape is not too tight applied and distracts the blood supply because with the hook grip the blood circulation is already distracted, which can cause a tingle in the thumb. Training with a numb thumb is uncomfortable and leads to a loss of grip.
There shouldn’t be any wrinkles that would only lead to blisters. As individually preferred, the whole thumb can be taped or the joint stays free and only the upper and lower part of the thumb gets taped. This is a decision everybody has to make for himself.