The hook grip is a technique used by Olympic weightlifters to lift more weight by reducing the requirements for grip strength. The method is fairly simple. The lifter simply has to wrap his fingers over the thumb in order to secure the bar.
Since four fingers are stronger than one, and the thumb acts as an obstacle for the bar to roll out of your hand, the barbell is secure, and a lift is rarely missed because of a weak grip. This technique is also used by some powerlifters during heavy deadlifts to avoid biceps tears and uneven back development.
Does the hook grip develop forearm and grip strength?
The forearms are heavily involved in any exercise done with the hook grip. Yet the hook grip, does not develop exceptional forearm strenght. In consequence, your forearms and fingers do not receive as much stimulation.
That’s why you should not rely on the hook grip for every set you do.
Save it for the sets that matter – personal records (PRs) and competition attempts.
There’s absolutely no need to do your warm-up deadlift sets with a hook grip. Let the forearm get some work. After all, you can’t make a muscle stronger if you don’t push it beyond its current level of strength.
The hook grip hurts a lot because the bar is digging into the thumbs. Some lifters have even pulled their nails off during heavy deadlifts done with the hook grip.
The pain usually goes away after a certain period of time, but there’s always some discomfort, especially during deadlifts.
A good thing to do would be to use chalk and wrap your thumb with athletic tape to protect the skin and provide some cushioning.