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Maximizing Your Deadlifts with This Hook Grip Transition Plan

Online Powerlifting Coach
Nathan Lee - 317.5kg Deadlift Attempt

Have you been missing heavy deadlift attempts solely on grip?

Are you having trouble getting your back into a neutral position right from the set up?

Are you finding yourself having shoulder pain?

If you answered 'yes' to any of these questions, I highly recommend giving hook grip an

honest chance. It's frustrating to know that you have the physical strength to pull a big deadlift but a grip issue is holding you back from those three white lights.

The transition to hook grip can be really annoying, painful and you'll probably want to give up quickly. In the past, I've rushed into switching to hook grip and could never stick to it because I didn't practice proper technique and, let's be honest, it hurt my thumbs.


Your position can definitely determine the outcome of the lift. When pulling mixed grip it is much harder to take control of your back position. It is hard to lock your shoulders down and keep your lats engaged evenly while maintaining a neutral spine . On the other hand, with hook grip your arms and hands are in the same position , you will have much more control in keeping the bar closer , maneuver into place and feel your upper back get locked into place evenly.

While using mixed grip, you may find yourself developing some shoulder pain, which may not be coming from benching. This tends to occur when you are constantly fighting to keep that bar nice and close while one shoulder is not in place . When you start taking over with one side or the other, this will lead to you developing muscular imbalances which then can further lead to potential injury. The double overhand grip (hook grip) speaks for itself.

I have finally found a process that has worked ... and quite fast, if you ask me. This template is designed to help you take grip like never before, in the least painful and most effective way possible. Follow this one-month template to a T if you want to get the most out of it.


  1. Jam your palm into the bar as deep as you can

  2. Wrap as much of your thumb around/under the bar as you can

  3. Wrap as much of your index and middle finger around thumb

  4. Wrap ring finger and pinky finger around bar

  5. Squeeze as tight as you can


Taping your thumbs can help add a little more friction to the bar, making it feel a little more secure. I have tried it in the past and if you have sweaty hands, the tape will fall off after a couple reps. If you don’t, it may help alleviate some of the pain. I do recommend using elastic tape so that your joints can move freely.


I suggest you follow this template if you are greater than 6 weeks out from a competition. This will allow for enough time to make the adjustment and drill in the new technique, because you'll be in a slightly different position than before. After this four week period, you will have gained a lot of confidence in holding the bar hook grip. Some of you may be asking yourself, “I haven't touched anything over 80% ... won’t it feel different at the greater weights?” The answer is NO. If you have been following the template and practicing those holds consistently with ever rep, your thumbs will have built up the tolerance. If you want practice with heavier weights , I do recommend implementing EMOM (every minute on the minute ) deadlifts with loads greater than 80%.

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