I have begrudgingly been using a 20kg bar for Olympic lifting when I train a couple of mornings a week at a gym that only has 20kg (or men’s bars).
The difference between a 15kg and 20kg bar for those who have never picked one up is only 3mm’s in diameter, but trying to get your hand around the bar, it feels like a huge amount.
I don’t have the biggest hands in the world, but I struggle to hook grip the bar. A hook grip is where you tuck the thumb under the first fingers for a stronger grip, I just don’t do it in a WOD, I feel like I can’t properly grab the bar.
But I have started to notice the difference in my grip when I do get my hands on a 15kg bar. The first time I noticed a difference was after really working at a deadlift goal using the bigger bar. I was so close to hitting my goal, and the time I nailed it was when I did the same weights as previously but used the thinner bar, I could hang onto the bar for longer.
It’s also good to practice with the bigger bar in case of team competitions and needing to share a bar with a guy.
My biggest ‘ah-ha’ moment was in class this morning. Yesterday I had joked with the coach that I thought my fingers were longer when we had to hook grip the bar in the skills warm up. Obviously, they are not, but the reason hit me thing morning, my hands are much more used to the wider bar, that when I grab the thinner bar my grip is much better for it. Who would have thought?! Of course, it’s obvious in hindsight.
I’m still going to talk to the gym owner about a 15kg bar, but for now, I’m happy knowing despite it being a bit trickier using the 20kg bar, I’m developing other strengths at the same time.