Different Types of Gymnastics Grip

Let’s talk about two different kinds of gymnastics movement “grip” or hand positioning. It’s important to understand how to most efficiently hold onto the pull-up bar, depending on what movements we want to perform. While there are several different kinds of grip, the two we want to call out are for strict movements vs. kipping/rotational movements: 

1. Strict movements grip: For something like strict pull-ups that don’t require any swinging or momentum.

  • Use a full ‘meaty’ grip around the bar
  • Wrap your whole hand around the top of the pull up bar
  • Wrap your thumbs under the bar
  • Place your thumb on top of your fingers for a reverse hook grip

2. Kipping/rotational movements grip: If we are doing kipping movements that require swinging/rotation around the bar with torque, we want to avoid ripping our palms when our hands move around the bar.

  • Use what’s called a ‘monkey’ grip
  • Wrap your fingers around the top of the bar so your first set of knuckles is in line with the top of the bar. 
  • The meaty part of the palm is still below the bar.
  • Wrap your thumbs under the bar.
  • Again, put your thumb on top of your fingers for a reverse hook grip

The biggest commonality between the two grips is the “reverse” hook grip, with the thumb overtop of the rest of the fingers – this is key so that we don’t fall off by mistake! We want to make sure we hold on with our thumbs for safety/maximum strength, but also hold in such a way to protect our palms from ripping!

Try out both grips next time you hang from the pull-up bar and see what works best for you!


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