T Nation

Better Grip Strength, More Tension


I make it a point every time I train to get the most out of all my muscles...one thing I have found value with muscle activation is adding the grip4orce grips. It's a know fact that increasing tension in the hands also increases more muscle activation.

I've taken my grip strength serious from incorporating grippers, from rice bucket in the evening to whatever I can to increase my strength in my hands which in return will allow me to create more tension throughout my training in the gym. Tension=Force-the tenser your muscles are, the more strength you display. By Pavel




an overly strong grip can cause your forearms/arms to take over movements as well

grip is invaluable for powerlifters but can work against you in bodybuilding


Thats bullshit, the stronger your grip, the more weight you can handle and the bigger the other muscles in the arms will get, if your forearms are stong, your bicepts and tries will benifit, so will all the other muscles you need arms to do.


ever hear of people using hooks for back work?


I disagree. The benefits far outweigh your perceived drawbacks.

You can train yourself to not let your forearms take over.

I think the OP is right on the money. Maybe an oversimplification, but the general point is accurate I think.


I also see people wearing a belt during pull ups. What's your point. SOme people do stupid shit.

Also, how many people DONT use hooks. Id say 99.99%.

If you dont know how to isolate your lats the problem is in your brain, not that your forearms are TOO strong.

Strength in a specific muscle =/= mind muscle connection. You are correlating the two when a correlation doesnt exist.

Natural dominance of a muscle group also is not the result of that muscle being too strong. In fact, I believe the opposite is true. You notice strength imbalances because your brain is better at recruiting those muscles, leading to faster progress. The strength comes AFTER existence of a muscle imbalance. Imbalances are inherent is what Im trying to say.


This is along the same line so Ill post it here.

Not using straps for any movement where the elbow bends has been the best thing for my forearms and grip strength. Engaging all of the forearm muscles by squeezing the bar AND engaging the rest of them by bending the elbow is, IMO, the most efficient way to get big forearms. Chalk is necessary to apply maximum grip force.

(Isometric grip strength during deadlifts and anything else that the elbow doesnt bend seems to have less impact on forearm growth. Using straps during the heaviest deadlifts sets is a good tool to enhance progress, IMO. Especially if you prefer double overhand grip)


I've never ever heard (until now) that a strong grip can 'work against you' in bodybuilding. A strong grip is essential for many exercises bodybuilders do.


Very good post Bonez. Clear, concise, and absolutely spot on. You know your shit.



all good points and i, for the most part, agree. shoulda been more clear

i never could get a good back work out just pulling away. forearms and bi's always got sore but hardly back. once i dropped the weight pretty low (and forearms were less tense) i started feeling my back better and upper back had noticeable size gain

maybe other people dont struggle with targeting the right muscles as much as i do but for me its the hardest aspect of training that i still dont really have down

but yeah for max poundages, you want every muscle in your body to be tense as fuck


eh, rereading it, it's not so clear. I said 'all the forearm muscles' then said 'and the rest'. I didnt mean all forearm muscles are engaged simply by closing the hand, but the rest is clear enough. Thanks


Yeah, I knew what you were trying to say but I was just point out that a lack of MM connection is a separate issue

Establishing the MM connection is an essential step for the novice lifter who plans to move on to bodybuilding. The time it takes to master it is worth it.


lol @ overpowering forearms

i'm waiting to see a picture of someone with huge forearms and skinny biceps/triceps


really wish i started on this sooner. first starting to lift in a high school foot ball team gym, the message was move as much weight as you can from point A to B.

well after 5 years of neglect i guess i have to pay my dues :frowning:


reading comprehension


What about Popeye?

Hell he packed a huge punch! lol sorry couldn't resist . . as for me I need my strong grip as I'm a PL but I have to limit the volume as it bothers my inside of my elbow at times from an old injury


This whole concept of the importance of having a strong grip relates to what is called Muscle Irradiation. Muscle irradiation simply means that if you want a muscle to contract with more force, than you must contract the surrounding muscles with more force. More technically, it has to deal with how the nerves are integrated in our bodies and how it creates a kinetic chain of impulses.

For example, my strength coach back in high school always preached the concept of never taking a thumb-less grip while benching, not just for safety reasons, but because he wanted us to grip the bar with as much force as we could possibly achieve, because when we applied a strong grip to the bar it would activate a kinetic chain for all the other muscles to contract with greater force, starting from your forearms, working its way through the triceps, shoulders, and then into the chest. Because of your grip working harder, everything else had to as well.

Here's a good way to prove this point;

Go stand in front of a mirror, turned to the side so you can see your arm. Clench your fist while trying to keep the rest of your arm relaxed...you can't do it. Once you clench your fist you will notice your tricep also contracts.

Just a little tid bit. Sorry for the rant.


Well, I can. I guess I have decent mind muscle connection. I can flex and unflex my triceps whilst making a fist and squeezing.

The rest of your post may be right though


Just because you can't see your triceps contracting, doesn't mean they aren't. But because you don't see your triceps contracting, I am guessing you do have a good mind muscle connection. It would be a great way to practice that. But like I said, this is all theory but when I've put it into practice it does seem to work and the physiology makes perfect sense.