When it comes to hanging on to the Chin Up bars or the Barbell, there are generally a few types of grip that we employ. Depending on the aim of the workout, having these different options will play to your advantage.
A very popular and easy to use grip that we use during strength components of the workout. The best way to build strength is to not take short cuts and use the hammer grip to build forearm strength and also a direct myofascial link from from your grip to your lat and chest system. This grip is best used when training for strength in your barbell work and also on the chin up bars.
In some WODs your coach may ask you to use the Hammer Grip for the sole purpose of building strength but the need to use it in bench mark workouts or testing is not necessary. Beginner CrossFitters should focus on using this Hammer Grip a lot initially to build upper body strength.
The Hook grip is a staple when it comes to weight lifting. Unlike the Hammer Grip, your thumb wraps around the bar first and then your index and middle finger wrap over the thumb. This type of grip is secure and less taxing on the forearms. Very similar to a Monkey grip, but more secure with the thumb under the fingers. Get used to this method of grip when you are weight lifting and when your forearms are shot, use this grip to finish off the reps without the barbell slipping off your hands.
The Hook Grip is more efficient in high rep barbell work and especially when your grip is fatigued or shot. When used, less forearm flexors engage reducing the upper arm and chest muscle engagement. In some cases it also reduces the tendency to pull using the arms.
It is however quite uncomfortable if you have never used this grip before but who needs a thumb when you have Siri anyway. Use this grip a lot more with lighter weights and build up your tolerance to uncomfortable and it’s like wearing a new pair of leather shoes, “the leather will stretch”.
The Monkey grip is when you wrap all your fingers over the bar, thumbs included. There is no thumb lock so the grip is open. there is less forearm activation using this method and such will save your grip a lot more for the high rep wods. Used a lot in Chin Up/ Chest to Bar movements, this will save your grip in WODs where there are numerous chins or chests.
Not an ideal method of grip when the barbell is overhead or during a bench press as it is an open grip. The bar may potentially slip off your palm and you may drop the bar on your head or break a rib. Yes, I have seen it all.
The choice of grips that you use depends on the nature of the workout. Use whatever you feel is comfortable for you but be able to change it up as your forearm fails. The more choices you have, the easier it is for you to complete your wods. As with most wods, you want to be more efficient with your movements so choose your grips wisely. You do not always have to use the Hammer Grip.
If you are generally stronger in your arms you may want to look at using the hook grip more often allow your hips to do some work. Being aware of your strengths and weaknesses will allow you to fix your imbalances.
Grip model: Coach Dani.