Why CrossFit Is For Hookers

You See…

…when you have enough clientele at your box, you can scale your business to more than your typical classes and “private coaching sessions”…

…oh wait, wrong story. That’s Zumba, not CrossFit.

What I’m talking about is the hook grip.

Mark Rippetoe Starting Strength Hook Grip

Thanks, Rip, for the grip tip. I should probably reread Starting Strength ASAP.

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!

Start Small

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.

alternate grip deadlift

Alternate Grip Deadlift

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.

Keeping At It Is Worth The Struggle

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.

And This Was All Thanks To The Hook Grip

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.


About the Author


Follow KippingItReal:

Leave a Comment:

All fields with “*” are required


As my coach says, I think he said he got it from Burgener, “You should do everything with the hook grip… you should grip your steering wheel with a hook grip.”

PS Dave Mathews Rules.


    Yep, definitely sounds like a Burgener kinda thing.

    What up DMB!


      I just realized you subtly put a link to an awesome article haha, that is crazy!


You have to practice it all of the time.


Great post Kip. I have abandoned the hook grip because i hate it with a passion and decided it wasnt as important as everyone made it out to be. Just so happens that the 200# clean stays out of my reach also and is really aggravating. Maybe it does come down to the hook! Think ill give it another chance after reading this. Think is started trying it with to heavy of a load. I like the light deadlift clean grip advice…I’ll start there. Thanks!

Leave a Comment:

All fields with “*” are required