I have not been a big user of the coveted hook grip in my years of training, however a recent interest in Olympic style lifts has sparked my interest in acquiring the ability to hook grip with heavy weights.
I heard on a recent podcast about a neat way to condition the thumb to being in this awkward position and that is by using the hook grip with the majority of, if not all of your warm up sets for things like deadlifts, RDL’s and even rows.
The weights being lifted should be light enough that they won’t hurt, they’ll just feel uncomfortable and you can stop using them when the weights start hurting the thumb, or the grip starts to interfere with the working sets of the lift, at which point you can just switch back to the grip you are more comfortable using.
With this strategy, you’ll accustom your hands to the new style of grip with a lot of light volume and not a lot of stress and as the months progress, you should be able to hold more weight with the hook grip and be able to recover from the added thumb stress.
Am I looking to lift all my deadlifts with a hook grip? No, that’s not my goal. My objective in having a good hook grip is to add another option to my lifting capabilities and also to add grip strength.
I have been looking to switch away from the alternate grip on deadlifts due to the assymetrical loading on the shoulder joints. I’ve recently started this warm up technique with the hook grip and then switch to a regular double overhand grip, which I have successfully been able to deadlift 315lb for on rep with this grip, I then switch to an alternate grip on my work sets and I’ll also throw in some lifting straps occasionally.