Chad Vaughn on the Hook Grip

Chad Vaughn shares some thoughts on the Hook Grip.

He is advocating letting go the hook grip in the catch positions, because it causes extra, unnecessary tension and limits flexibility.

  • tangible

    Interesting, but I don’t agree with Chad when it comes to the snatch. Almost everyone lets go of the hook grip while catching the clean. However, as far as the snatch goes, almost every top international Olympic weightlifter keeps the hook grip while catching the snatch overhead. I guess if hanging on the hook grip is going to cause you to miss the lift then you should try to let it go. But, that having been said, If it’s not broke, don’t try and fix it.

    • GregorATG

      Spot on. However remember that Chad is talking about the general crossfit public, and not top weightlifters that already have the needed flexibility.

      But I agree if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

    • GregorATG

      Btw, Norik Vardanian said exactly the opposite in a comment:

      “Most world-class weightlifters hold onto the hook grip with snatches overhead.”

      • tangible

        So you’re saying that Norik agrees with me? I said that top level lifters are keeping the hook grip in my first comment.

        It just doesn’t make sense to rearrange your grip with 150kg or more in your hands with no support, it’s easy in the clean because you’re letting it land on your delts, i.e. the front rack position, and thus you aren’t really supporting it with your hands at all. When it comes to the snatch, however, all you have are your hands to support and control the weight. If you are rearranging the grip while snatching very heavy weight I feel like it would be very easy to lose control over the weight and thus drop it, whether behind, in front, or Steiner.

        I can understand that for the general crossfit public you want to do whatever is safest, but honestly I think spending more time learning technique and form by working with a broomstick and then an empty barbell, and also working on flexibility – again with broomstick and empty barbell, as well as stretching – is, in the long term, a much better solution. Granted, not everyone wants to wait months before touching the bar much less starting to put weight on the bar.

        • GregorATG

          You are right of course.

          Yes , I mixed up talking about snatch / clean in my comment and had the idea in my head that you said most don’t keep it in the snatch…

  • finlifter

    it’s a flexibility thing, some lifters are able to keep the hook ‘in’ while they put the bar overhead, some won’t. having the grip or not won’t really affect the stability of the bar.

    • tangible

      I think that readjusting the grip while getting under the bar absolutely could affect your ability to receive the weight and thus hinder stability if you haven’t been practicing it for a long time. Maybe it wouldn’t take that long to transition though, I’m not sure.

      It is not uncommon for some world class lifters to actively rearrange their grip when getting under the bar after the second pull in the snatch. Klokov and Zielinski for example do it very intentionally. They are pulling their thumbs out and around their hand when getting under the bar. Lu Xiaojun’s thumb goes to the side and outside the hand, but he doesn’t have his thumb over his hand at the bottom, so it’s kind of in between the two styles. I’m not sure that he is intentionally moving his thumb out of the hook grip as much as it is just the bar pulling it out to the side.

      All that being noted, most top level lifters seem to keep the hook in. I think it comes down to preference and what you’ve gotten used to.

      • finlifter

        you are very right with your last conclusion. although the opening of the grip for most lifters isn’t an intentional thing, the hook grip opens by virtue of not being held, not by pulling the thumb out.