People who put heavy weights onto a barbell have a love/hate relationship with the hook grip. On the plus side, the hook grip gives you a rock-solid grip and allows you to lift a lot of weight without having to death grip the bar. On the other side of the coin, you are essentially smashing your thumb when you hook grip and it can pretty uncomfortable until you get used to it.

A hook grip is necessary and essential to Olympic weightlifting, which requires you to use a double overhand grip (unlike the mixed grip you’ll see powerlifters use on a super heavy deadlift, for example). I see a lot of people default to a mixed grip with the deadlift, and especially if you are a CrossFit athlete or doing any Olympic lifts, you should be using the double overhand. And, yes, it will hurt for a while, but that’s why RockTape makes HookGrip tape. Our HookGrip tape is our regular RockTape kinesiology tape cut into pre-sized strips that are the perfect length for wrapping around your thumbs during lifting sessions. The tape pads your thumbs a little and offers a lot of traction on the bar, as well as abrasion resistance.

Not only does the tape pad and protect your thumbs but RockTape is flexible, and sticks like crazy, so you won’t have to keep applying tape throughout a training session, you won’t lose circulation in your thumbs and you’ll still be able to move and bend your thumbs while still fully protecting them, unlike with traditional athletic tape.

The reason for sticking with the double overhand grip and getting used to hook gripping the bar is twofold. First, it is not uncommon to injure the biceps when using a mixed grip for deadlifting. When you see a biceps tendon rupture because of this grip, it will definitely make you think twice about doing it again! Second, the mixed grip is pretty much only good for deadlifting and it does not train your grip as much. Using a double overhand grip and hook gripping when it gets heavy trains your grip and carries over to Olympic lifting. The stronger grip will serve you well during kettlebell training, pull ups and most other activities, too.