Get A Grip And Get Stronger

You’re only as strong as your weakest link and often times this is the grip.

Your grip is the first thing that attaches you to a barbell, dumbbell, kettlebell, or your opponent (any grapplers out there grip is critical). If you strengthen your grip many big lifts will go up. Bottom line, if you lift more you’ll see more results. It’s one of weight liftings simple and very important laws of progressive overload. Disrespect this law and you don’t get results.

The reason why a stronger grip helps is simple.  A stronger grip means that less neural drive will be needed to hold onto an object so then your bigger muscles can work better. This is often referred to as tension threshold.

Here’s a great example I see with many beginners. They’re trying to perform some type of pulldown for  set of 8-10 reps with a slow tempo and their grip fails way before their bigger back muscles do. Strengthening the grip muscles will allow the bigger lat muscles to get more stimulation since they’re not forced to end the set prematurely because of a weak grip. Using heavier weights will ellicit greater hypertrophy (more muscle) which yields greater results.

Andy Bates, a college football athlete that trained at USI through the summer performed pronation and supination exercises as well as radial and ulner deviation with a sledge hammer and found that it completely fixed his wrist injury. That’s another big reason why you should do direct grip and forearm work.

There are many great grip and forearm exercises. In the video below I’ve included some of my favorite ones. At the end of the video Greg Hustad (aka Fog Horn Leg Horn) demo’s one of the hardest pull up variations I know of that’s very grip demanding. Greg has some jacked forearms and claims he got them from scooping ice cream all day during his teenage years working at an ice cream shop, which I find hard to believe. But he swears by it.

At USI we put our grip training at the end of the training session and we usually train one aspect of the grip. Don’t try adding in all these grip exercises in one workout. Just pick one, alternating between different ones on different training days.

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