…when you have enough clientele at your box, you can scale your business to more than your typical classes and “private coaching sessions”…
What I’m talking about is the hook grip.
Love it or hate it, the hook grip is essential to kicking ass at many barbell movements, especially with clean and snatch variations. I’m sure many of you, like myself at first, can’t stand the hook grip. That it’s bothersome and pointless. That you’re afraid of tearing off your thumbs. That your fingers are too short.
You’ll get used to it. Your fingers will adjust. It’s just like with guitar. I don’t have long fingers at all, but that didn’t stop me from learning to play some of my favorite Dave Matthews songs and whatnot the past 12 years.
No matter what you do, don’t give up on the hook grip!
While I’m no coach, from my own experience, I learned the hook grip from lighter, clean-grip deadlifts. For the longest time, I was doing only alternate-grip deads.
Clean grip is when both palms are facing your body. So whenever I’m doing lighter deadlift work, such as high rep workouts (unless the deads start to get heavy) or warmup sets for a heavy max, I’m using a hook grip to strengthen that skill. One time I actually did PR my deads with a hook grip…wtf.
From those, I progressed to doing them more often with my cleans. Honestly, if you can, use the hook grip with your cleans from the beginning if possible. Maybe your thumb flexibility may not be there yet, but once it almost is, you’ll notice a difference with your cleans.
That extra, firmer grip adds so much more to your lifting power. My grip was easily one of the factors that prevented me from getting over 200# cleans for the longest time.
Once I had the hook grip down for cleans, I knew I had to step up my hang clean game. That’s where my thumb-tearing fear comes into play. However, I just kept at it. I stopped relying on chalk too much.
So last week, I finally got over that fear and past the 200# hang clean barrier with 215# for one rep. Before the thought of doing 30 reps at 225# like at the regionals this year seemed impossible. Now I can definitely see myself pulling something like that off as long as I stay consistent.
Now I just wish our programming had more snatches so I could work on my grip for that. The hook grip is crucial for snatches, as the wider grip has more focus on your index and middle fingers than your ring and pinky. Huge props to Vin at CrossFit Southbay for that info and inspiration for today’s post.
All I ask for you, my readers, is not to give up on the hook grip. It’s weird. It’s awkward. It may seem impossible at first, but I’m tellin ya…if you stick with it, you’ll get through many barriers. You’ll open many doors in your CrossFit journey.
Kip it real, my friends.
During my blogging hiatus, this was one tip that was a game-changer for my burpees.
For the longest time, I HATED burpees. I always felt like throwing up after like 5 of them. And every time we had them in a WOD, it’s like my brains were blowing out. Dropping weight did help me A LOT when I did my last Paleo challenge, but there was still something wrong with my burpees.
…was my lack of breathing.
It’s something that I didn’t learn until recently. To solve this problem, I would simply breath hard through my mouth right off the bat, which has helped me a lot with longer, 20+ minute burners. One of our coaches taught us to breathe 4 times during each burpee – twice on the way down and twice on the way up.
And no…that’s not the simple tip lol. That’d be weak shit.
Do you ever feel that burn in your legs after a few burpees?
If that’s the case, then maybe it’s the transition from push up to your feet. Do you notice yourself landing in a frog-like, squat position?
Let me demonstrate through some drawings (not my best…but I’ll try):
Yep, that’s our mascot “Kip” showing us how not to do them and how to do them.
Okay, obviously in the first picture, Kip is about to come out of the push up position. Then in the bottom-left pic, he landed in a squat position. That extra strain on your legs is gonna burn you the fuck out.
So the trick is to transition from the push up to your feet with your legs as straight as possible. This maybe seem harder, especially if your hamstrings are tight or you still need to work on your flexibility. Regardless, improving your transition to your feet will change your burpees drastically.
At least it did for me and for others in that Saturday noon class I went to. I can’t thank my coach enough for that 1 tip.
If you’re someone who struggles with burpees, give this a shot. Who knows? You might actually grow to like this movement…
P.S. 1 last tip before I call it a night and read the new Harry Potter…I MEAN…JK Rowling book…
…when you drop to the ground to begin the burpee, once again, don’t land into a squat position and break your fall. Just DROP to your motherfuckin hips!
Practice it a bit, and you’ll learn how to drop safely and properly. Yeah, this may be tough for some of you with really minimal CrossFit shoes that have thin toe areas. Just make any necessary adjustments. Combine these 2 leg-saving tips, and you’ll feel a drastic difference in efficiency.
And as I’ve said before…I’m no expert. This is just shit that’s worked for me. Enjoy!
…I can’t promise you that, but I can point you in a better direction. And if you ONLY watch this vid and read this blog post, you’ll still suck. Gotta take action afterwards obviously.
The vid that really got me going was Jon Gilson’s Again Faster Mic’d Instructor video on double unders with James Hobart:
Jon pretty much has covered what you need to know…get your singles down, start with progressions like single-single-single-double, etc. Now it’s really up to you on practicing. For some of you, it might just come naturally. For others, you’ll have to work your ass off for them.
Try to figure out what variable you need to work on. Change only one variable at a time – keep the jump/rhythm constant and adjust your wrist speed, vice versa. As I said, practice.
Also, it’s important you get your own rope. The rope mechanics will stay the same then, so the only variables to fix involve YOU. I wouldn’t start off with an RX Jump Rope, as they’re for the more advanced. Your cheap, typical ultra speed rope should be fine.
When I started, I wanted a cable that was a little bit heavier, although not beastly like your old school, playground ropes. I used the Again Faster Revolution Rope to learn my dubs, and the rest was history.
I seriously feel your pain. Shit, I still get frustrated by dubs. There are those days where I can string 60+ unbroken no issue, while there are other days where getting an unbroken streak seems impossible. It just happens.
If you really want to learn your dubs, you really gotta work for them. And it won’t happen overnight like with all the good things in life.
Not sure if I’ve mentioned this on here, but when I started my one-on-one on-ramp sessions (my schedule at the time was ridiculous so I couldn’t go to the normal month-long class), going over the jump rope work was pretty damn embarrassing.
My coach is a sarcastic ball-buster at times, although he was obviously pretty tame at the time since I was new and I barely knew the guy. Man…I was strugglingggg with singles. Coach would give me some tips on getting it down. Still…I kept tripping over the rope, and I believe I fell at some point…
…eventually, after noticing I was just laughing it off and getting nowhere with the rope, coach just had this funny look on his face, and said, “Ummmmmm…let’s move onto something else…”
Yeah, I was that bad.
I would throw in singles every time the WOD called for dubs. Coach would always give me some time limit on the singles, such as :30 or :45 before moving onto the next movement in the WOD. It was pretty annoying, but I knew I had to go through all this shit to get somewhere with the dubs.
Right before the 2011 sectionals, I was starting to get my dubs in the single-single-single-double and single-double-single progressions. I was feeling pretty damn good about myself, even though my jumps would require a pike to get the two rope spins.
Then workout 11.1 was revealed…10 minute AMRAP of 15 ground to overhead/power snatches and 30 double unders.
My morale went flaccid.
I signed up for the opens, and I wasn’t backing out just because of double unders. So that week, I did some runthroughs of 11.1 with some other people at the box. Everything I’ve been practicing until that point just started coming together that week. Those progressions then turned into unbroken dubs.
At the time, I just started hitting around 10-15 unbroken. WTF happened?
Sure, I was using that pike described in the video, but it was just good enough for me with that first Sectional WOD. Ended up getting 6 rounds plus 7 dubs if I remember correctly. Not bad for learn dubs that week.
After that WOD though, I had to work on my form. It’s easy to keep using a donkey kick or pike in your dubs, so it’s best to eliminate that garbage early on. Your body will thank you for your eventual efficiency.
…but TAKE ACTION and practice. Use your double under practice sessions as a warmup when you get to the gym if you want. Hell, I practiced a bit in my living room thanks to the ceiling just being the right height.
Making mistakes was part of the process. It sucked knowing that I sucked and that the whole process of learning dubs sucked. Oh well. What was I supposed to do? Do singles or 200m runs for the rest of my life?
I just wanted to succeed. Bad.
How bad do you want it?