|Lift||Power Ouput in Watts|
|Snatch 1st Pull||2173|
|Snatch 2nd Pull||3634|
|Clean 1st Pull||2123|
|Clean 2nd Pull||3475|
*The numbers is the table above are sourced from
1) USA Weightlifting Club Coach Manual. USA Weightlifting. Colorado Springs, CO (2010). Print.
2) Garhammer, John. “Power Output of Olympic Weightlifters”. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 12.1 (1980). Print.
When I started CrossFit I had very little idea what some of the barbell movements were. I remember my first workout had deadlifts, hang power cleans, front squats and push jerks. I had to youtube half of them(keep in mind this was 2008, youtube was not the online video juggernaut it now is), and I learned as I went.
My CrossFit career continued, and starting young and in relatively good shape, I took to the competitive aspect of it immediately and within a couple years started looking at the sport side of this fitness movement. After finding some competitor programming online, I started getting more serious about my training. In particular, the focus on the Olympic lifts became front and center. A shift in mindset was happening as the best crossfitters also tended to be the best weightlifters.
Learning these new progressions and movements was fun for me. I love being challenged and have an open mind. Except, and I am embarrassed to say this now, I refused to use a hook grip. I know, FOR SHAME. My mentality was since I cannot snatch or clean anything near my deadlift at the time, my grip wasn’t going to be an issue. I have heard some variation of this reason many times since then. The other reason, “it hurts” is valid but moot. Training is uncomfortable, and you do get used to it.
So why use a hook grip? I want to bring your attention to the table above. The main point of emphasis is highlighted in red. The most force production in any lift we can do, occurs during the change of direction in the snatch and clean. The hook grip allows us to hold our thumb during this change of direction, rather then the rapidly accelerating barbell. Being able to pull hard and quickly in this part of the lift is vital for success.
Without a hook grip, a few things will happen:
Your elbows may bend early, taking the force out of your hands.
You will just be slower
You will let go of the bar.
At some point if you want to go from a beginner to an amateur lifter, you will have to use a hook grip. After a painful week, you won’t ever know the difference.