Instructional - Olympic Weightlifting

Do You Release The Hook Grip In The Snatch?

Whether or not you should keep the hook grip overhead in the snatch depends on one thing: can you achieve the proper hand and wrist position overhead, without pain, with the hook or not?

If you can, there’s no need to release the hook grip in the turnover. The benefits to maintaining it are obvious: it’s less complicated, and it’s easier to maintain a tight connection to the bar throughout the turnover.

If your build and mobility won’t allow you to hold the bar properly overhead with the hook, or maintaining it is painful, you’ll need to release it at the end of the turnover. This is more common among men in heavier weight classes.

The goal is to slide the thumb out without opening the grip any more than necessary, and to wait until the hands are turning over and transitioning from pulling against the bar to pushing against it, when there is essentially no tension. This prevents a loss of connection during the pull under and turnover, and allows the release to be quick.

Muscle snatches will allow you to practice this release of the hook with a slower motion initially—focus on timing the release as late as possible, immediately before you punch up into the bar.

If you do maintain the hook grip, you still want to avoid gripping the bar too tightly overhead. Excessive grip tension will limit the speed at which you can extend the elbows into a locked position and may even prevent complete lockout. As you finish the turnover, allow the grip to relax just enough for the hand to settle into the proper position for stability and maximal elbow extension.

Also be sure to use the hook grip with all of your snatch-related overhead exercises like overhead squats, snatch balances and snatch push presses to condition your hands and wrists accordingly.

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