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View Full Version : Grip Training for Olympic Lifting


Brian Lawyer
02-20-2009, 09:38 AM
I have never looked in this category in the CA forum before. I was going to do some research on the topic of Grip Training for Olympic Lifting, but it took me about 30 seconds to read over all the thread topics in this category and there didn't appear to be a topic started related to Grip Training for Olympic lifting.

I think My grip is limiting my snatches. This dawned on me yesterday as I was doing some snatch grip deadlifts using 225lbs with lifting straps. 225lbs felt incredibly light with the lifting straps securing my hands to the bar. I think I could have easily snatched 225 with the straps yet my Snatch PR is only 206lbs. So my conclusion was I have some serious work to do on my grip.

How are O'Lifters training grip? I thought about investing in some Captains of Crush supplies from iron mind. Iron mind sells these mini grip things that are for training one or two fingers at a time. I wonder if those would be the best investment for an O'Lifter since we only use the pointer and index finger with the hook grip, and as Everett says, the other fingers are just along for the ride.

But I was also wondering if one would get wierd carpal tunnel type problems from just focusing grip work on two fingers.....

Jacob Rowell
02-20-2009, 09:55 AM
In all honesty, I haven't heard of any olympic weightlifters having issues with grip strength. The hook grip is a little uncomfortable at first, but in my experiences, rock solid. I've clean grip Dl'd into the 400's without problems, and my grip is on the weak side when it comes to strongman stuff.

Adam Gagliardi
02-20-2009, 10:14 AM
I pretty much never "train" grip...i do farmers, dont use straps, use thick bars, etc.
I'm with jacob on the hook grip....start doing all your work with the hook, it should catch up pretty quick

I'm sure one of the more accomplished OLY folks will respond

Brian Lawyer
02-20-2009, 10:18 AM
In all honesty, I haven't heard of any olympic weightlifters having issues with grip strength. The hook grip is a little uncomfortable at first, but in my experiences, rock solid. I've clean grip Dl'd into the 400's without problems, and my grip is on the weak side when it comes to strongman stuff.

Never been an issue with my clean's and I clean a lot more than I can snatch. Also, with Deadlifts I use hook grip up to about 315lbs or so then I usually need to switch over to straps. Not that I can't pull more than that from the floor with hook grip but when deadlifting greater than 315lbs I start to lose focus on the mechanics of legs, back, and hips due to trying to maintain grip.

Those snatch grip deadlifts I did yesterday just felt extremely light with the straps as compared to when I'm trying to pull from a snatch grip without the straps. That was only reason I thought grip may be problem.

Brian Lawyer
02-20-2009, 10:23 AM
I pretty much never "train" grip...i do farmers, dont use straps, use thick bars, etc.
I'm with jacob on the hook grip....start doing all your work with the hook, it should catch up pretty quick

I'm sure one of the more accomplished OLY folks will respond

Side note, I do use hook grip all the time for Snatches and CJ, even when I am pulling light warmup weights. I reserve straps for heavy deadlifts or in the case I am trying to work some particular form/technique and I don't want to be pre-occupied with grip. That was what I was doing with Snatch deadlifts. I had wanted to focus on pulling from the floor and keeping my torso more upright and knees flared during the pull. So I put on the straps so as not to have to worry about grip.

Adam Gagliardi
02-20-2009, 12:12 PM
Side note, I do use hook grip all the time for Snatches and CJ, even when I am pulling light warmup weights. I reserve straps for heavy deadlifts or in the case I am trying to work some particular form/technique and I don't want to be pre-occupied with grip. That was what I was doing with Snatch deadlifts. I had wanted to focus on pulling from the floor and keeping my torso more upright and knees flared during the pull. So I put on the straps so as not to have to worry about grip.

thats precisely what i would do........wasnt trying to sound like a d***....i just think people waste too much time training the grip, and it's easy to overtrain the grip fast....here's a good one...once a week, use the hook on pullups, and just hang there, go for time...beat it next weak

Brian Lawyer
02-20-2009, 03:13 PM
thats precisely what i would do........wasnt trying to sound like a d***....i just think people waste too much time training the grip, and it's easy to overtrain the grip fast....here's a good one...once a week, use the hook on pullups, and just hang there, go for time...beat it next weak

Adam,
I asked my coach about grip strength and he just told me that grip isn't my problem, "Your fluidness from up to down is what is effecting your snatch". Coincedentally, hanging from a PU bar for time is also what he had me do for grip strength a couple months ago. I didn't try using hook grip though...

Aaron Gainer
02-21-2009, 09:22 AM
Do towel pullups, thick bar work, farmers, even heavy grippers will help build your grip strength. Even if it is just one day a week along with your lifting, your grip will benefit.

glennpendlay
02-21-2009, 11:32 AM
Brian,

Your grip in OL will improve naturally over time. There are not a lot of ways to train the hook grip to be stronger except to just use it. If you do want to do something helpful, any kind of static hold will be most effective for what you want. Hanging from a chin bar is a good one, as are any other holds with a heavy bar for 20-30 seconds.

Most weightlifters dont train the grip directly, in fact their hands take such a beating that they usually use straps on some of the snatch workouts just to rest the hands.

If you think your snatch would be that much better with straps... try one workout with them. I think youll find that they wont help as much as you think, but I could be wrong.

Its not unusual for a competitive lifter to snatch a bit more with straps... maybe 5kg. What I find often happens, is that as you are going up, you will make each new PR with straps the first time, then within a week or two, you will make it without... like the security of straps helps you break barriers, but once youve made the weight and gotten it overhead, you soon find that you can do it without the straps.

glenn

Dave Van Skike
02-21-2009, 02:22 PM
i attribute my candy ass grip to using the hook grip for everything even farmers when I could. ..had to quit using for all pulls below maybe the top 3 sets to give my weak little paws a chance to grow. i think unless you've got dinky fingers, the hook is almost cheating for anything but an Oly lift can't imagine how you'd strenghtne it other than just using it regularly.

glennpendlay
02-21-2009, 05:24 PM
Dave its funny that you mention farmers walk. I was at a scottish highland games once, and at the end they had a farmers walk contest, winner gets $500. There were a lot of the better pro athletes there, in fact even Ryan Viera was there and he is now like 5 time world champ... so i didnt really give myself much of a chance to win... but the handles on the implements were like a regular bar, not thick like they sometimes are... and I hooked those suckers and kicked everyones butt!!! I walked till my legs and lungs wore out, literally, the grip never slipped. I am sure i was the only one there that used the hook. because i know there were guys there with grips far stronger than mine, and everyone else, i mean everyone, stopped because the grip on one hand or the other failed, not because they couldnt walk any further.

anyway, just a funny story about how i made a few $$ because I knew how to hook, along with making my thumbs hurt for about a month.

glenn

Dave Van Skike
02-21-2009, 06:55 PM
Dave its funny that you mention farmers walk. I was at a scottish highland games once, and at the end they had a farmers walk contest, winner gets $500. There were a lot of the better pro athletes there, in fact even Ryan Viera was there and he is now like 5 time world champ... so i didnt really give myself much of a chance to win... but the handles on the implements were like a regular bar, not thick like they sometimes are... and I hooked those suckers and kicked everyones butt!!! I walked till my legs and lungs wore out, literally, the grip never slipped. I am sure i was the only one there that used the hook. because i know there were guys there with grips far stronger than mine, and everyone else, i mean everyone, stopped because the grip on one hand or the other failed, not because they couldnt walk any further.

anyway, just a funny story about how i made a few $$ because I knew how to hook, along with making my thumbs hurt for about a month.

glenn

Ack! sounds nasty..I get to about 280-300 farmers on a regular bar and even with a hook, my palms just feel like they are flayed...

Greg Everett
02-22-2009, 12:37 PM
In my experience, grip is only ever an issue in the snatch, and it's really a product of the extreme angle you're attaching yourself to the bar. So in that sense, the typical grip work doesn't transfer much at all (e.g. farmer's walk, hanging from bar) unless you can mimic that angle - which you can do fairly well with farmers' walk implements like dumbbells by tilting them.

That said, the other problem is that static holds of that nature are training grip stamina more than strength. How long do you have to hold onto a bar to snatch it? 2 seconds max?

The issue is maintaining a tight grip while accelerating a heavy load - very different from just hanging onto something and walking around. That being the case, I think a more effective option is doing some kind of pull without straps - for example, a short pull off blocks with a snatch grip - working that acceleration. Don't bring it back down - drop it - because that lowering part is what's going to destroy your hands and very quickly limit how much you can do and how many times.

Like others have already said, this is not something you want to do on a very frequent or high-volume basis. I would try maybe 5-15 total reps 1x/week after workouts for a few weeks and see what happens.

Brian Lawyer
03-05-2009, 10:27 AM
I would like to add an update to my original post. Perhaps grip strength is not really my issue. This week I worked out on Tuesday night. I snatched using hook grip doing about 10 reps working singles from 165lbs up to 195lbs. No grip issues at all. I had some tape over a couple torn spots on my hands and used just a little chalk on my index, pointer, and thumb.

So fast forward to Wednesday night, I go out to my garage because I just wanted to work some Snatch grip deadlifts. I start doing some warmup sets and it was hard as hell trying to hold onto 135lbs. I don't know how to describe it but other than it was just really uncomfortable and kind of burning sensation. I went up to about 185lbs with warmup sets trying to fight through the uncomfortableness, then finally switched over to straps and did 225lbs x 2 x 6.

So what is the deal with that?

Arden Cogar Jr.
03-05-2009, 11:18 AM
Brian,
To answer your question, give it time, your hands will toughen. As Glenn said, the straps are normally used to save the hands. I, personally, always use straps on my heavier pulls for that reason. No grip problem here.

Glenn and Greg,
Very related question to this thread.

How tight should one grip the bar when pulling with a hook grip? I find when I just get a nice hook and don't think about my grip, things go better. As a oppossed to really getting a good gorilla grip on the bar like when I'm getting ready to pull a very heavy strapless deadlift.

I'm curious as to your thoughts on this.

All the best,
Arden

Greg Everett
03-05-2009, 11:45 AM
Brian -

What Arden said. You'll go through periods in which your hands are just super raw and you'll just hate touching the bar. This is a good time to use straps. Get some cornhuskers lotion and use it all day long.

Arden -

I think this probably varies quite a bit among athletes depending on hand size and strength. I have relatively small hands, and as I get up to heavier weights, I have to grip the living shit out of the bar or it slips at the end of my second pull/beginning of third. This also helps me stay connected tightly during that transition - I think a lot of people get loose here - almost throw the bar up and catch it, rather than staying connected and really changing directions immediately and fluidly.

glennpendlay
03-05-2009, 04:02 PM
Arden,

Im the opposite of Greg on this, probably because I have big hands. I can get 3 fingers over my thumb on the hook if I want to... but I dont, i use 2. I stay pretty loose in the hand when pulling. Im probably not representative of Olers... besides big hands I had a pretty strong grip from pre OLing days when I did both PL and lots of grip specialization like rolling thunder holds, ironmind grippers, sledgehammer tricks, etc. so in OL grip has always been an afterthought for me.

glenn

Greg Everett
03-05-2009, 04:06 PM
My whole hand probably fits in Glenn's palm (or Arden's).

Arden Cogar Jr.
03-06-2009, 12:27 PM
Thanks Glen and Greg. Makes sense.

I'm blessed with some big mits. But I have to remind myself to grip tight until I get to the top of the second pull otherwise I lose a bit of control on the bar. If that makes sense? The hook grip makes it a lot easier.

Today, I was playing and did some light pulls while only holding the bar with my thumb and index finger in the hook. It was solid as all get out.

The biggest issue I have is tearing callouses that are caused by weilding an axe for extended periods of time.

All the beswt,
Arden