CrossFit’s popularity has opened our eyes to the different modalities of training that the sport encompasses—specifically, Olympic lifts like the snatch and the clean and press.

No longer used just by Lithuanians named Didžbalis, everyday lifters implement Olympic lifts into their training for increased strength and power production. And like more mainstream lifts, such as the deadlift, most guys reach a point when the weight is too heavy to control with a standard overhand grip. When that happens, lifters often turn to  lifting straps. The problem with straps, however, is that they do too much of the work for you—securing the bar without maximizing the use of your own grip muscles.

SEE ALSO: Build Muscle with the Reverse Grip

Enter the hook grip. Push your palm into the bar, then wrap your thumb around it. Now wrap your fingers over the bar—your index and middle fingers will layer over your thumb. From now on, the bar will never slip out of your hands when the weight gets heavy, and it won’t go flying when you thrust it overhead. Use straps on heavier sets until you’ve adapted, but work toward phasing them out entirely.


One caveat: The hook grip hurts like hell for the first few months, but wrapping your thumbs in athletic tape will help.