How to add grip work

Marty Lynden

Level 5 Valued Member
I´m looking for advice on how to best incorporate grip and lower arm work into my current routine? I have transitioned a bit from doing pure bodyweight training to adding barbells as well in the occasional deadlift. I´m currently using a full body work out 3 times per week with a light/medium/heavy schedule which I have interchanged with periods of "easy strenght style training" 5 times per week, or doing the fighter pull up program a few times a year.

Basically a normal session consist of
Warm up including 1 minute of RTO support hold
Weighted chin ups
Ring rows
One arm push up (done from an inclination where I can do 5 with good form, my 1 rep max is one good rep from the floor)
Pistol squats
dead lift
Skin the cat/german hang on bar with a pause and hold in the tucked back lever position
In addition to this at the end of each session I do some bodybuilding style lower arm work for flexors, extensors. radial and ulnar deviation and pronation/supination and finish of with hanging from the pull up bar 3x20 seconds weighted. Lower arm work is helping me keeping my wrist/arms healthy as I had some problems with that in the past.

I´m making steady progress and don´t feel like the total volume is to much, however doing all this in one session bring total time spent in the gym to over 2 hrs, which is inconvenient for a number of reasons.

I´m toying with the idea of putting the lower/arm grip work on 2 of my off days and keep doing the rest 3 times per week, however not sure if this will be too much? I don´t feel like the lower arm/grip work takes to much out of me at the time, but that is with 4 days of rest per week which will now be cut down to 2 full rest days. Any advice is appreciated.
cheers
Marty
 

offwidth

Level 9 Valued Member
Marty...
Do you have any specific 'grip goals' or particular reason for doing ancillary grip training?
 

pet'

Level 8 Valued Member
Hello,

@Marty
Most of time, the simple fact of lifting heavy will automatically make your grip stronger. At least, this was the case for me ;)

However, as @offwidth said, grip training is specific. Holding a bar, even if we are weighted, is different from pinch gripping for instance

Nonetheless, this is always good to add some grip training, as long as you do not exhaust it.

I chose to add grip training on a GTG base, using a wide variety of grip (pinch, gripper, towel hang, finger hang, etc..) Using GTG, I can work this out everyday. I simply stop when I feel my hands are tired.

Below are some examples:
Should Men Be Inspired By History? | The Art of Manliness

Kind regards,

Pet'
 

offwidth

Level 9 Valued Member
Hello,

@Marty
Most of time, the simple fact of lifting heavy will automatically make your grip stronger. At least, this was the case for me ;)

However, as @offwidth said, grip training is specific. Holding a bar, even if we are weighted, is different from pinch gripping for instance

Nonetheless, this is always good to add some grip training, as long as you do not exhaust it.

I chose to add grip training on a GTG base, using a wide variety of grip (pinch, gripper, towel hang, finger hang, etc..) Using GTG, I can work this out everyday. I simply stop when I feel my hands are tired.

Below are some examples:
Should Men Be Inspired By History? | The Art of Manliness

Kind regards,

Pet'
Eric knows his stuff....
 

Marty Lynden

Level 5 Valued Member
Thanks for your replies guys, I use captain of crush grippers and do 1 or 2 reps every hour throughout the day as that doesn´t interfere with work in any way. So that should take care of my crush grip. I have always felt my grip has been a limiting factor for me, I felt a big difference in my weighted pull ups after i started adding weighted hangs to my training. Primary training goal is to get to the one arm chin up and can´t see that happen if I can barely hold on to the bar with just one hand :) My 1 rep max is currently bodyweight (82.5kg) plus 45kg and grip strenght feels like alimiting factor for me.

Also the accessory movement I do for lower arm training seems to help keep my wrist and elbows healthy (at least my problems there went away after I started adding them, eventhough I changed nothing in my training otherwise). However I also realize there is a line to be crossed when there is simply to much.
 

pet'

Level 8 Valued Member
Hello,

@Marty Lynden
Considering the weighted pull up, you can also try to do 1 arm deadhang (possibly with a weight). This should also increase your grip strength.

For forearm training, the second video is an excellent exercise. You can also do it with a chair, a broomstick, etc...


Kind regards,

Pet'
 

JW513

Level 5 Valued Member
I work construction and blacksmith as a hobby plus play guitar.. I try not to overwork my hands.. But don't lift barbells, just kettlebells and sandbags, plus bodyweight workouts. Those all work my forearms pretty good.

Long story short, I do my main workouts, then at the end, I sandbag carries or sledgehammer swings and static hangs.

Sandbag shoulders plus kettlebell carry with other arm works your grip pretty hard...
 

offwidth

Level 9 Valued Member
Many of the largest forearms I've seen and strongest grips come in people that do hard physical work for a living. My dad was one of those Popeye arm guys. With a grip like the jaws of a pit bull.

He never worked out a day in his long life...

Farming, oil fields, construction, heavy equipment, fighting in wars....
 

JonS

Level 7 Valued Member
You've received some great ideas already. I'll add a different thought: what about the barbell finger rolls from beyond bodybuilding (BB)? You are doing some deadlifting anyway, so a bar heavy enough to support a short, seperate session of 3-6 x 3-6 is easy enough. Perform the reverse wrist curls as written in BB and you are set. I added an inch to my forearms in one month doing this. And no, I was not trying to add mass, just thought it would be fun to see the results.

As @offwidth pointed out, some of the most well-developed grips come from manual labor/hard living. Work requires broad abilities, and develop the grip accordingly. Rotating one's training makes sense too, IMHO.
 

Martin Joe

Level 7 Valued Member
For grip work I recommend HEAVY SWINGS and/or ROPE CLIMB because it is convenient.

For more inspiration: check out the book Convict Conditioning II - the section about "hanging".

/Martin Joe
 

pet'

Level 8 Valued Member
Hello,

"Molding a mighty grip" from G. Jowett is an excellent reading regarding this topic. Rope climbing as mentioned by B. Kubik. A lot of wrestlers do rope climbing. In BJJ, guys can also do pull ups using the belts or the gi.

Macework is a wonderful tool to build a strong grip. I do it between sets of other exercises as active recovery and weighted mobility.

Kind regards,

Pet'
 

JW513

Level 5 Valued Member
i'm not a climber, but climbing probably works your grip harder than anything.

Start training with a military duffel back full of sand.
 

offwidth

Level 9 Valued Member
i'm not a climber, but climbing probably works your grip harder than anything.

Start training with a military duffel back full of sand.
Well that's the funny thing. It does, but it shouldn't, and more...

Climbing is a high skill endeavor. Beginners often get a killer grip workout because they lack technique; especially in footwork. So they have to compensate somehow.

Once you figure out footwork and technique, strength (both grip and pull) become much less significant. A well skilled climber can climb pretty hard being relatively weak.

However... once a person starts to get up there in the grades then there is no denying it... grip strength becomes critical and indeed can become the limiting factor. This is why climbers chasing the big numbers do indeed do a lot of grip work, and develop extremely impressive grip strength especially for their relative size.
 

Chrisdavisjr

Level 6 Valued Member
I'm a big fan of fingertip pull-ups (i.e. pull-ups on a ledge, shelf etc.) for finger strength/endurance. They won't do anything for your thumbs, unfortunately.

Maybe get some fat grips or similar for your gym rings? Or just wrap towels around them to make them thicker.
 

Marty Lynden

Level 5 Valued Member
First of all thanks to everyone who chimed, so many great suggestions that it is almost overwhelming :) Lots of stuff for me to try out for sure!
 

WeightedPullups

Level 1 Valued Member
Towel or/and Rope (manilla 2 inches in diameter).

How?
Pull-ups
Dead hangs
Hang it off something heavy and pick it up and do reps or static holds

There are many other options out there but for grip and practical grip work the previous mentioned IMHO is the best. If you have something heavy and large and can pick-up with one hand you can do farmer walks. But again if you carry a towel and just throw it over a tree limb that will work your grip better than even the Captains of Crush; again IMHO.
 

Deleted member 11594

Guest
I do these exercises 2-3x per week AFTER bicep and/or back focused days. I also rock climb so these are nice finishers post-climbing as well unless I hangboard (nice posts about climbing training above btw):

1. Wrist Mobilization- I use calisthenic-based wrist mobility drills like making fists in end-range flexion and max unweighted wrist extension holds to get things going.

2. Wrist Push-ups Variations- I use gymnastic-type wrist strength exercises to make sure my wrists are getting strong from plenty of angles. Gymnastic bodies have progressions in their handstand content for this.

3. Reverse Grip Barbell Curl- I use this to overload the brachioradialis

4. Standing Forearm Extension- I like this one because it's easier than bench braced DB extension to go really heavy.

5. Bench Braced Forearm Flexion

6. Plate Pinch- 10lb plates make it easy to increase both weight and thickness.

7. Hangboarding, rolling thunder type contraptions, towel hangs, etc., are optional for me right now and go in last if at all.
 

Jak Nieuwenhuis

Level 6 Valued Member
Nothing seems to compare to working a job with your grip.

My forearms have gone from frail and relatively soft to looking like they are made from bundles of zip ties. More than any other body part, my work has changed my forearms. It is an unreal transformation.

You can tell the guys who work their arms in a gym and you can tell those who got their arms from just working their job. Its a different look and different strength.

Im not encouraging you to work as a manual laborer, perhaps my point being is that most grip training is going to produce different results than a more "organic" approach.

My favorite grip tools are the expand your hand bands from Ironmind. They keep my elbows happy / pain free.

1 and 2 arm hangs from a bar / ring.

I have a crush gripper i use gtg style once or twice a week on days I dont work.

The grip work i do is relatively light and therapeutic, I try to train the weak little muscles and connective tissue so I don't hurt myself when i have to actually USE my grip.

Deadlift/ carries/ swings/ fist pushups are also frequently on my menue
 
Top Bottom