“Do I HAVE to wrap my thumbs around the bar?!?” Groaned the Athlete…


Sound familiar?


“But the bars too thick!”

“It hurts my hands!”

“I prefer this grip!”

“But I’ve always done this!”


Sound even more familiar?!


If I had a pound every time that I heard this, well let’s just say, I would own a lot more Metcons!


When performing gymnastics movements, wrapping your thumbs around the bar helps:

  • to create a more stable shoulder position to pull from
  • creates stronger grip and it has a lot more transferability in your gymnastics
  • keeps the shoulders slightly externally rotated and more engaged, and therefore creates a stronger pulling platform.

In other words, making it easier for you to pull yourself up!


Another added bonus is that this grip significantly decreases the likelihood that your hands will slide on the bar. Not only is this better for your safety if you happen to lose your grip, but less sliding means less friction and less friction means less tearing.


A wise coach once shared this little gem with me:


“Tell the athlete – if you can do a rope climb to the top without using your thumbs, you don’t have to wrap your thumbs” he said smiling.


“Then they either get your point, or you watch them burn their hands trying to prove you wrong!”.


Of course, there are situations where a thumb over grip may be better. For example, some athletes may feel as though they can create more tension without the thumb when performing bar muscle ups. But for the majority of athletes and those looking to improve their gymnastics, a thumb-around style is the way forward.


And lastly, just remember…There’s a reason it’s called the suicide grip.