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View Full Version : Releasing hook grip during snatch?


Denver Buchanan
03-22-2010, 12:00 PM
I have a question regarding the use of a hook grip during the snatch. I have read Mr. Everett's excellent book and do agree with what he says about releasing the hook grip during the snatch. Although I'm admittedly still learning them, my overhead squats are more comfortable with a standard grip.

However, when I'm snatching, especially with heavier weights, I notice that I have to often really focus on releasing the hook grip. With many of my heavier lifts, I'm so focused on pulling under the weight that I don't always release the grip. It almost seems as if releasing the grip costs me an extra split-second of "slack" that I can't afford.

I've studied lots of the pictures here at Catalyst and elsewhere, and don't seem to find a consensus from this. It seems that some lifters don't release the hook grip, while others do. In fact, some lifters seem to be releasing the grip in some pictures, and holding it in others.

What do y'all think?

Greg Everett
03-22-2010, 12:12 PM
There is definitely no consensus on this. I prefer to have people release the hook, but ONLY if they can do so without disrupting the lift, and if they are unable to achieve the proper hand/wrist position overhead with the hook. Some people are flexible enough to get that hand/wrist to settle in properly with the hook still in place - they are unusual in my experience. Aimee for example does not release the hook, but her hand position overhead is also consistently dicey. Steve holds his as well, but he more consistently manages to get his hands into the correct position.

If you learned to snatch holding the hook, learning to release it will not be easy, which is why I teach it right away. If you are noticeably more stable overhead without the hook, I would invest the time into learning to release it better - it's all about timing and subtlety - not super easy.

Denver Buchanan
03-22-2010, 03:43 PM
Wow, thanks for the quick reply. I know I sound like a kiss-ass, but I really appreciate it.

I'm glad to hear that others have considered the same issue. I also have some hand position issues, in that my hand position isn't quite as precise or consistent as I think it should be. However, I also definitely do not have great hand/wrist flexibility. In fact it's pretty unimpressive. It seems I should keep putting in the time and practice to learn releasing the hook grip.

"timing and subtlety - not super easy" - This seems to be a common theme in my learning curve with Olympic lifting.

Michael McKenna
03-23-2010, 06:17 AM
It is about timing and subtlety. I release the hook grip, and I alse move my hands out on the bar: My pull starts just outside the rings (an inch or so) and I catch the bar collar to collar. This came naturally to me and was not a purposeful adjustment.

It's always helped me to focus on quickly turning over my wrists at the top. Focusing on the speed led me to unhook and move my hands out; I do it at the top of the pull when the bar is weightless (ish).

I also focus on "pulling myself under the bar" for quickness/ speed. That attention makes it easier to focus on the top of the movement.

Since so much happens so quickly in the snatch, worrying about your grip might slow you down. I classify it as one of those things that, if you think about it, the lift is over before you can adjust. Choose a cue, like turning your hands fast, pushing up on the bar, squeezing the bar at the top, and see what happens when you focus on that.