The Hook Grip Will Add 50 lbs to Your Deadlift Instantly?

Posted on 12 Jun 2015 03:16


Elliot Hulse, among others, has claimed that using a hook grip will INSTANTLY add 50 lbs to your deadlift. Sometimes other instant additions are claimed, such as 25 lbs. This claim is directed at people whose grip is holding them back. So basically Elliot Hulse is saying that if you grip is holding you back from lifting a bigger weight, then shifting to the hook grip will instantly add 50 lbs to your deadlift.

View the video version of this article

Is this true? will using a hook grip for your heavy deadlifts instantly allow you to add 50 lbs to your 1 Rep Max?

No. This is a blatant fabrication. You basically have no way of knowing what an augmented grip, or straps, or any other grip help will "add" to your deadlift if you are having trouble holding on to the bar for your heavy lifts right now.

I want to explain a little about gripping the bar and in the video above I have demonstrated just how a barbell slips out of your grip. When the load gets too much the bar rotates away from your palm and travels down to your fingers and then falls off. That is how you fail a lift. The reason why people use an over-under grip or an under-over grip or a hook grip is to counter this rotation of the barbell. I will expand more on this further on in this blog post.

Why say it?

Because it gets a lot of shares, views, etc. Face it, anything claiming to add 50lbs to your deadlift instantly is going to sell. This is an excellent catchy way to get people to click on your video because ALL of us who lift weights want to get stronger and we would all like a quick-fix to our problems.

Why the hook grip?

Because it is a common belief, with absolutely not evidence, that the hook grip is the "strongest" grip. In fact, the grip itself is no stronger than any other grip. It is simply an augmentation that helps counter the rotation of the bar, just as an alternated grip does. The hook grip locks your thumb between your fingers and the barbell. This counters any rotation of the barbell. The same goes for an over-under or under-over grip.

Olympic lifters need the hook grip as a safety measure for Olympic lifting. If the barbell were to slip out of a weightlifter’s grip while performing the snatch or clean and jerk; the damage could be catastrophic. But people forget that the forces involved on the hand, and so the pressure exerted on the thumb, is actually much greater for the average deadlifter versus the average Olympic lifter. An average olympic lifter will never lift the kind of weight an average deadlifter does so the pressure and strain on the thumb is much greater for a deadlifter than an olympic lifter.

I don’t want you to misunderstand me. I am not saying the hook grip is a bad grip or that it is the devil. My point is that the hook grip adding 50 pounds to your deadlift instantly is a LIE.

Another point to think about is that the assumption being made about the hook grip being your savior is that it is an instant investment. The hook grip itself is not an "instant" investment. It requires a lot of suffering, pain and adaptation (a “maladaptation” where your thumb basically goes "numb" to the pressure). Most people, if they tried to use a hook grip all of a sudden on their heaviest deadlift, would fail just as they did using a regular grip, but this time because of the tremendous discomfort.

Think about it like this: you are struggling with 335 lbs because that weight is coming off your fingers and you are unable to lockout your deadlift. So you shift to the hook grip because Elliot Hulse has told you that not only will it solve your current problem but using this grip you will lift 385 lbs. So you adopt the hook grip. Now your thumb – which is unused to being in unnatural painful positions, will be suddenly placed in a highly uncomfortable position of being sandwiched between your fingers and the cold hard barbell. Guess what? You will still fail 335 lbs. What is the difference? You will undoubtedly be in much more pain than ever before when you fail. Before it was a regular failure that made you frustrated. Now it is going to be a painful failure which will make you even more frustrated.

They say there is no magical pill when it comes to reaching your goals to get big or strong or fast. Similarly, there is no magical grip to increase your deadlift. You have to work hard at it and that is what is fun about training.

For more information on the hook grip click here: Hook Grip versus Alternated Grip for Deadlifts

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