T Nation

Comparing Two Grip Exercises


Currently my primary grip training exercise is the farmers walk using a trap bar. I am following WSFSB, so grip training is done at the end of my max effort leg day. I did ME box squats and at the end of the workout my legs ended up being the limiting factor in the farmers walk since I am currently using about 90% of my deadlift max.

So for the hell of it I tried a set of single arm deadlifts ( bar position the same as a regular deadlift)...Damn this is an awesome lift! It feels totally different on the upper body than a FW, but still requires badass grip strength. My biggest problem was balance- I need to buy one of those bar adapters (what the hell are they called?).

Im thinking about switching to the 1Arm DL for grip, but the FW with the trap bar has gotten me very good results for my upperbody in addition to my grip strength. Like I said before my legs are really too burned out to perform extra DLs to complete the farmers walk.

I did read the TNation article on one arm DLs. Im looking for more of a comparison of benefits between the two grip training options. I was also thinking about moving the grip training exercise to another day, but I dont want to fuck with the program.


I cant imagine 1 arm dead lifts would interfere greatly with your current program… They should be done with such a low percentage of your strength level (1RM on regular deadlift) that it shouldnt really tax your system.

However… And this is a key point beginners need to learn: If the trap bar farmers walks are already improving your grip, THERE IS NO NEED TO ADD EXTRA GRIP WORK. Not to mention they provide a cardio benefit not really found in the 1 Arm Dead lift… Bang, meet buck.

Instead of adding a new exercise, I would work on further improving your Farmers by holding the weight for a longer period of time and keeping the weight static for a while. Or if you are failing to hold the bar AT LEAST 30 seconds you should actually reduce the weight a bit. (Coach CT on this site like longer holds, like 60-90 seconds per “set”)

How long are you current farmer walks?


It depends. At my gym im fucking limited to this ~25 foot corner so I cant walk farther than that. When Im not limited like I was at the same gym but another location. I did 4 sets between 30-40 feet at 90% (last week). The origonal post should say 95%, which is what I did today.


In the past I measured by distance not time, so I stuck with it but now the weights are getting heavy.


try one-armed farmers walks. Like so:


My gym doesnt have a farmers bar sadly and the kettlebells only go to 100lbs


Just keep using the 100’s and walk back and forth in that 25’ corner until your grip fails. You should be able to get quite a workout in if you are walking for 90 seconds straight for 4 sets.


What do you recommend as a progression then?
More time?
More sets?
Less rest between sets?

I was thinking about this problem today and I came up with a really broke-ass idea.

I could use a chain meant for lifting belts and wrap it through 4-6 25lb plates. I could use one of the cable handles and hook the chain with the weights to it, and it would act as a really crappy kettlebell.

I know doing timed sets is probably the way to go, but adding weight each workout helps boost my confidence at the end of the day. Knowing that I went from never doing farmers walks before to doing 150lbs in each had in about 4 months is a good moral booster.


Why is that a bigger confidence booster than increasing the time of the sets? Seems like either way its progression to me. As far as progression I would worry about adding more sets as 4 is plenty. I would work on making the “sets” last approx 90 seconds each, and then decreasing the rest in between sets to 30 seconds. When you can do that its probably a good time to start looking for ways to add weight.

Again, I’m assuming you are training the GRIP and not some other aspect you are using the farmers walk for. If you are trying to increase the amount of weight you can farmers walk that is a different story (although longer durations at lower weight will also help that)


I’ll try what you suggest and stick with 90sec/set, then reduce the time between sets. I’ll probably be in the gym either tomorrow or Thursday so I’ll spend some time finding the right weight and creating a makeshift kettlebell. The dumbbells tend to slide on my wrists since I have small hands and it hurts like hell.