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  1. #1
    Registered User Jason2459's Avatar
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    Hook Grip pain and numbness

    So like 2 months ago decided to switch to hook grip and found a 32mm bar sucks ass. Bought a 29mm sharp as hell bar to emulate the worse bar I'd get in a meet yet still be able to hook grip on. First session I did with it was damn painful but stuck with it from bar to working up to 520 and this was about 1.5 months ago. I ripped the hell out of my thumbs and hands which have since healed but my left thumb was thrashed quite a bit more then my right thumb and is still numb. I'm still sticking with hook grip and it still hurts like hell but how many of you guys that use hook grip have permanently numb thumbs? Also, I'm told the pain is supposed to go away but does it really? or does it just become bearable? Just curious.
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  2. #2
    whalemode perfektion's Avatar
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    still have all feeling in the thumbs outside the gym..doesnt hurt anymore to pull with a hook(like it did when first trying it), just got a sort of thumb callous area on both that gets tender after lifting and for a few days...I just use DO for most all warmups / hook for the working stuff.

    gym bar i use has little to no knurling and works fine.....may help to cake the bar up with some chalk and leave it there
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  3. #3
    Registered User BombDonald's Avatar
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    I hook grip on my warm-ups up to 495 and don't really notice any serious pain, just the general pain from supporting 495 with your thumbs lol. Skin gets a little beat up, but not too bad. Never have tried pulling reps with the hook grip either.

    One time I tried to tape my thumbs and I failed 405. As soon as I started pulling I had a sharp, shooting pain go up my left arm and I dropped it.
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  4. #4
    Sheiko brah adamsz's Avatar
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    My coach (Duffin) has been practicing hook grip for awhile now and always talks about how he has to deaden the nerves in his thumbs in order to make the pain bearable of DLing 700+. I suspect if you deaden the nerves enough it will produce a numb feeling. Not sure if that's only in the gym or outside as well though...
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  5. #5
    Paler than Chalk GuinnessStrong's Avatar
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    Not numb necessarily but definitely a dullness especially to the feeling of compression. I pinched my thumb between plates the other day and didn't even notice other than it being stuck. My proximal thumb joint on the other hand feels funny pretty much all the time but only on the left.
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  6. #6
    Registered User melvin2345's Avatar
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    My thumbs go numb, but they haven't torn open or anything. I tape them though. Two strips of tape on each thumb, one strip over the thumbnail, one strip below the knuckle, wrapped around the thumb two times. Feels fine during the lift, after setting the weight down, it hurts like it was just smashed for a second, then goes back to normal. No pain or numbness outside of lifting. I have also developed callouses, but nothing painful or odd looking.
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  7. #7
    Registered User cm85's Avatar
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    I tried hook for awhile but with my pretty small hands I had a difficult time. I decided I'd rather just tear a bicep than keep doing hook.
    Just use straps now on days that I have a lot of sets and reps, and switch between hands on over/under.
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  8. #8
    Registered User BuckWyld's Avatar
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    Any advice on how to transition to hook? My original plan was to just use it for all my DL but when I did that for my first (and most recent) DL workout my thumbs couldn't take any more before I hit last couple of heavy sets. I had considered using double overhand until my heavier sets but it seemed like starting to use the hook on heavier weight might not be the way to go either.
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  9. #9
    Registered User melvin2345's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by BuckWyld View Post
    Any advice on how to transition to hook? My original plan was to just use it for all my DL but when I did that for my first (and most recent) DL workout my thumbs couldn't take any more before I hit last couple of heavy sets. I had considered using double overhand until my heavier sets but it seemed like starting to use the hook on heavier weight might not be the way to go either.
    I transitioned into hook grip by pulling light with it until the grip itself was comfortable/second nature. After that I did heavy rack pulls and just held the weight until I couldn't stand it anymore. It only took a few workouts until I could pull my max comfortably.
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  10. #10
    Registered User BritishPL's Avatar
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    Iv been using hook-grip for as long as I can remember, I don't think I have ever used an alternated grip. Fortunately I don't get calluses on my thumbs and I get no pain at all when deadlifting heavy or even on the odd occasions that I do high rep sets, I use this grip for all sets including my warm-ups. The only time Iv had a bit of soreness in my thumbs is when I was doing snatch-grip deadlifts, this wider grip put more pressure on my thumbs. I have only ever gone up to 260kg (572ib) but I feel that no matter how strong I get, I will never have issues holding onto the bar.
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  11. #11
    Is a Turtle Torrtrefireto's Avatar
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    One of my professors has been using the hook grip for 40 years

    Bitches about them being in pain whenever it rains outside
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  12. #12
    Nattysaurus KevinAlvarez123's Avatar
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    Completely numb until 3-4 reps, then it feels like they are slipping/might fall off
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  13. #13
    NorseManPowerlifter BigJon55's Avatar
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    If you are worried about getting the sensation back in your thumbs then you should hold off hook gripping for at least 8 weeks. If in 8 weeks you have gotten some sensation back then it's possible that your nerves (I'm assuming the subcutaneous radial nerve) could make a recovery. If you haven't gotten any of the sensation back after 8 weeks then it is never going to come back.
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  14. #14
    not deep enough... InspecktaDeck's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Jason2459 View Post
    So like 2 months ago decided to switch to hook grip and found a 32mm bar sucks ass. Bought a 29mm sharp as hell bar to emulate the worse bar I'd get in a meet yet still be able to hook grip on. First session I did with it was damn painful but stuck with it from bar to working up to 520 and this was about 1.5 months ago. I ripped the hell out of my thumbs and hands which have since healed but my left thumb was thrashed quite a bit more then my right thumb and is still numb. I'm still sticking with hook grip and it still hurts like hell but how many of you guys that use hook grip have permanently numb thumbs? Also, I'm told the pain is supposed to go away but does it really? or does it just become bearable? Just curious.
    I sensed people talking about hook grip so I came running.
    -Bar Thickness: Of course the thinner the better here, 27mm are very easy to hook on. I have pretty large hands, and Ive been able to hook a 32mm albiet with alot of trouble. I asked Steve Denison about this & his consensus was(at least for USPA meets) you wont often see a bar greater then 29mm on the deadlift platform.

    -Knurling: If your pulling hook for your heavy sets in training you really dont need or want super sharp knurling. The hook grip semi-negates the need for it and rep work will just tear your thumbs apart. At the last meet I did the bar had super sharp knurling and after my third attempt my thumbs were done.

    -Numbness: Had this for the first month or two of using hook, it mostly went away. Using hook grip also does not hurt anymore if Im doing it right, even then its not bad.

    -Very common mistake: If your not squeezing the bar your thumb will get under & support the bar causing major discomfort. You dont want to do this, thumb is the wedge stopping the bar from spinning- not the support. Its also easy to do this once you get good at hooking since you essentially dont even need to squeez hard at sub max weight.

    -Ape hands: Will make hook grip much easier to do. I've even begun toying with a method where I hold the bar entirely in my fingers(no palm touching) giving me a simulated longer arm. The disadvantage of this is the tip of your thumb will be under the bar and it feels wierd. Ive done heavy rep work with this but not near max effort.
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  15. #15
    Registered User Jason2459's Avatar
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    Cool, thanks for the input everyone, reps on the way. Instead of a huge multi-quote post I'll just ramble on.

    I'm not worried about it being numb as most of my left arm is in constant pain or has tingling sensations already. Just find it odd I would have damaged the nerves in just one session. The pain is instant and hurts even with 135lbs but does progressively get worse but I just grit and bare it.

    I can't remember who said this but that the pain should be none existent after 8 weeks of using the hook grip but that was to a weightlifter who would do a lot more hook grip pulling then I would be so didn't know if it would be like 4, 6, 8 months +.

    I picked up the Westside Power Bar specifically becauase it's 29mm and very sharp knurling. I like to make my training to either match the worse competition conditions or harder. So far I've always pulled in a meet with 27mm deadlift bars like the texas or okie and love them. But I was doing over/under grip and used a 32mm bar in training which made going to a meet like childs play. Didn't work so well for hook and I guess I've evolved a little more then InspecktaDeck and no longer have monkey like appendages. But good tip on squeezing hard. 29mm is the top of the bar diameter in rule books that I've seen and Ivanko bars being some of the sharpest. A local meet I'll be going to in 30 days has an Ivanko 28mm sharp bar and a 29mm chromed Eleiko bar so I'll be prepared for either one.

    I've just been doing singles with the hook grip and switching to alternate grip for rep work.

    I really didn't like the feel of tape and have only used it while my skin was growing back. Just got done with my last set of really heavy pulls this week and luckily didn't rip my skin up so should be ready to go for my coming meet.
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  16. #16
    not deep enough... InspecktaDeck's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Jason2459 View Post
    The pain is instant and hurts even with 135lbs but does progressively get worse but I just grit and bare it.
    Yeah thats weird. Like I said make sure your not supporting the bar with your thumbs
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  17. #17
    Registered User Jason2459's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by InspecktaDeck View Post
    Yeah thats weird. Like I said make sure your not supporting the bar with your thumbs
    Thanks. I'll keep working it.
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    Registered User Jason2459's Avatar
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    Played around with it last night and got a setup that's not as painful. Basically I have to push my hands, particularly that crook in the hand between fingers and thumb, into the bar hard which allows me to get my thumb nail slightly out from under the middle finger and places the pressure onto the knuckle and then squeeze hard to keep everything from moving. I also added wrist wraps as I've always pulled with wrist wraps at a meet and that helped a bit too. By wrapping my wrists as tight as I could my entire hand hurts instead of just my thumb... lol But it helped distract me and gave me a good cue to remember to squeeze the hell out of the bar.
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    1500 raw will be wrecked baxtej44's Avatar
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    so just for clarification, as I would like to try hook grip, the "not supporting the bar with the thumb" is meaning don't let the thumb take the load, you still have to squeeze the bar or what?
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    Registered User Jason2459's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by baxtej44 View Post
    so just for clarification, as I would like to try hook grip, the "not supporting the bar with the thumb" is meaning don't let the thumb take the load, you still have to squeeze the bar or what?
    That's what I got out of it but really don't know how not to put some load on the thumb. But squeezing the crap out of it helped.
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    Registered User melvin2345's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Jason2459 View Post
    That's what I got out of it but really don't know how not to put some load on the thumb. But squeezing the crap out of it helped.
    What I do, is force my thumb under the bar so my hand is almost parallel to the floor when on top of the bar. I don't actually use my thumb to get my thumb in place, if that makes any sense. I bring my fingers down over my thumb while it is sticking out horizontally, and use them to wedge my thumb until it is parallel to the bar. I then squeeze, and rotate the bar with my hand until my hand and wrists are in line. This way I have wedged the thumb as tight as I can without putting too much load on it. Any other approach to setting up doesn't work out as well for me. If my rambling makes little sense, I could take a quick vid of what I mean tonight. It might help, it might not. Just let me know.

    A few other things that helped me:

    - 2 strips of tape, one over each section of the thumb. Not too tight though.

    - Cut my thumbnails as short as they can go without bleeding. I was surprised how much of a difference this made.
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    Would definitely appreciate any video or pic tutorials. I've been looking at as many as I can find on the youtubes and googles. More the merrier. I've been trimming back my nails pretty far back for a long time as a habit from wrestling.
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    Originally Posted by Jason2459 View Post
    Would definitely appreciate any video or pic tutorials. I've been looking at as many as I can find on the youtubes and googles. More the merrier. I've been trimming back my nails pretty far back for a long time as a habit from wrestling.
    Ok, I'll do that once I get home from work tonight.
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    Get comfortable with lifting max weights for one rep and after that use straps for every time you do more reps.
    Use it once every week or 2 weeks for heavy sets and let the callus recover fully.
    Don't forget to chalk your thumbnails and the outside of your thumb.

    In training I still feel it in warmups, but when the adrenalin rises for bigger weights I don't feel anything during the lift. Normally I can hold 660+ for a long time without even noticing my thumbs hurt. But after the meet it feels like they got stuck between a slamming door.
    Just something you need to deal with.
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    Originally Posted by Jason2459 View Post
    Would definitely appreciate any video or pic tutorials. I've been looking at as many as I can find on the youtubes and googles. More the merrier. I've been trimming back my nails pretty far back for a long time as a habit from wrestling.


    I set up the grip good and tight, then twist the bar so the thumb ends up more on the side of the bar rather than underneath it. It's worked well for me. The most I can pull currently is 475, but the grip doesn't hurt, and it feels like I could hold another 100 lbs easily. If only my back and legs were up to it, hehe.
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    The pain has never really left me, and I had years of Oly lifting before crossing over. I pulled 835 the other day and I was certain my left thumbnail would come off. It's getting to the stage now where the bulk of my training has to be strapped with hook reserved for competition pulls and training singles.

    Tape the first part of your thumb, from the base to the knuckle, leave the tape off on your thumb tip, a spiraled thin strip of tape will help a lot.

    A local anesthetic cream will also help, you should be able to get something from the pharmacy, usually used on minor burns etc, I find a little on the inside of the thumb helps big time.

    Lastly, a DL bar is worse than a 28-29mm bar, I find pulling on my Eleiko is much more pleasant than the deadlift bar as the fatness seats the bar a bit better.

    Best of luck. Hook grip is the best, but comes with its ow problems.
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    i tape my thumbs which helps a lot. i split a role in half and wrap around in between the 1st and 2nd knuckle. that way the thumb bends but it keeps it from getting shredded up.
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    Thanks for all the input everyone and thanks for the vid. I'll have to double check what I'm doing and will be pulling again on Thursday assuming I don't spontaneously combust between now and then which with my luck lately it could happen.

    I can totally accept the answer of the pain won't ever go away for some and will become bearable for others. I'll just deal with it and if it does go away a little then all the better but I can handle the pain.

    Very interesting that a 27mm bar was more difficult. Guess I'll find out in October as I know the meet I have planned for then uses an Okie DL bar.

    I was taping until the skin healed and hope to build up some callouses. Also, heard a few people now that the judges didn't allow tape for one reason or another which one of them was it assists the grip and another said couldn't use tapes unless there was torn skin.

    Babylover you're the 3rd person I heard about almost losing a nail. Anything that can be done to prevent that? I assume cut the nail back, tape, and or placement of the thumb?
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    i hook grip all my olys (on a 28mm bar) and DL's. it hurt for a week or so and now it's fine. i tape.
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    Thumbnail cracked lol.

    Looks like all training is strapped now.
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