Yes it hurts! But not for forever!
So many of us hate the hook grip in the beginning, but love it when we finally hit our PR’s. It is for that very reason why Olympic Lifters, Power Lifters and now, CrossFitter’s are ALWAYS using the hook grip in all barbell movements that require a pull (deadlift, any type of a snatch, and any type of a clean). In these given movements, a lifter can lift up to 2-3 times the weight of a loaded barbell at rest AND maintain grip during the 2nd and 3rd pull of a movement.
By using the hook grip, you are creating friction between your thumb and fingers, resulting in a more secure grip, a more relaxed forearm, and a quicker transition of the elbows.
Most of the pressure/pain in the hook grip is in the thumbs; however, with regular training and consistent use of the grip at heavy loads, the pain subsides as your grip becomes stronger and stronger. If need be, some lifters tape their thumbs in order to fight the chances of ripping and/or to reduce the pain that the barbell causes. All in all, practicing the hook grip is the best way to eliminate the pain.
When I started learning the hook grip it hurt like hell. So, for three months, I started lifting with the #45 bar. It sucked. But after those three months, I switched back to the #35 bar, ANNNND the hook grip was a piece of cake! I was so excited because my hook was stronger and more secure. I was PRing right and left in multiple movements, and flying through the barbell movements in the WOD; the best part of it all was that it didn’t hurt anymore!
Try it… you just might like it… in a few months.