Hook-grip Tape

Daniel Siegel
4 min read
May 5, 2022

Hook-grip is an integral part of weightlifting. Sore thumbs.. don't have to be. Learning how to tape your thumbs can save you hassle, pain and even weights slipping through your fingers.

To better understand hook-grip tape, EAB (Elastic adhesive bandage) or any other thumb tape, we must first understand the hook-grip.

Hook-grip is an integral, typically uncomfortable, and even painful (if performed incorrectly) part of weightlifting. However, its also the only reliable method of securing a barbell in a way which withstands both the demands of the dynamic second and third pull as well as the turnover which occurs in both the snatch and the clean.

How to Hook-grip

To Hook-grip, wrap your thumbs around the bar (with both palms facing towards you) creating the “hook” shape, and pull the thumbs around the bar with the index and middle fingers. Complete the grip by wrapping the remaining fingers around the barbell.

Once the lift starts, you should feel the weight of the bar in the thumbs, index and middle fingers, whilst keeping your arms relatively “loose”, but more on that in our technique articles.

The sensitivity of your thumbs will decrease over time. However, the consistent use of your thumbs as a securing mechanism for heavy barbells will take its toll. We recommend going for a pair of Tow Straps when doing sets of 2 or more and to (almost) always use straps when doing pulls. You’ll thank us later.

When training or competing, where hook-grip is option, covering your thumbs with tape can reduce any feelings of discomfort and even improve the feeling of grip security by increasing friction between the thumb, barbell and middle finger.

Thumb Tape

Tapes are wrapped from the base of the thumb downwards, whilst maintaining a slight bend in the thumb. Keeping the thumb bent whilst wrapping will mimic the hook-grip and ensure the best possible adhesion between skin and tape. Keep in mind that during weightlifting competitions the tip of the thumb must remain visible, so you may as well get used to this style of wrapping in training (should you opt to tape your thumbs).

The trick is to find a tape which provides the right balance of grip, support and adhesive to stay put during the most demanding of lifts. EAB’s are often used in preference to conventional (non-elastic) tapes, such as zinc-oxide, as the taped joint retains some degree of flexibility. Immobilised joints may cause sprains in the next link along the chain or result in unnecessary discomfort when the joint is forced to bend under the weight of the barbell.

We used to use zinc-oxide tapes for their added support, but the adhesive quality of these seemed to have decreased in recent years. Tape started sliding off our thumbs mid set and worse still, during personal best attempts. We swiftly changed to EAB’s, saving the remaining zinc-oxide rolls in our kit bags for injuries and battered fingers. However, we soon ran into the same problems.

Our STASH Weightlifting Hookgrip Tape was designed to provide you with the best of both. It sticks as well as our old-school zinc-oxide tapes whilst still providing the soft, grippy, texture of EAB’s. Tested by CrossFit athletes, unfit weightlifters (us) and 234kg Clean and Jerking monsters alike, we’re confident our tape will serve you well.

Simply apply the tape at the start of your session (works best on dry skin), give it a quick friction rub for the best possible adhesion and you’re ready to lift.

Happy lifting.

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