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Deadlifting Grip Strength Help


Lately I've been deadlifting with straps since I pair it with pullups in an edt style(only for about 3weeks) I will usually wait till my grip dies, but even then I know i can be pulling more if i started out w/ straps rather than resort to them in fatigue.

My training is aimed soley at MMA.....

can you give me some opinions on straps for deadlifts? Should I forget the faggy strips of cloth? Or should I use them as a tool to load more weight onto the rest of my body and just train my grip in another session/point in time?

Same question goes for shrugs. I can shrug damn near 600lbs (once) if I really wanted to with straps. I'm stuck in the 3-4's (for reps) without them.

(stating that I recognize i DESPERATELY need to bring up my grip strength)

How would you go about training your grip to match the rest of your body's strength?

I've been using the tampon-neck-protector-thingy that people use for squats as a thick bar and do curls, side bends, and static holds with that to improve my grip.

I've yet to purchase the ivanko supergripper that i want but would that be helpful?

I really couldn't care about closing any grippers for certification i just want to get stronger and dominate opponents like mere children.



use straps. the guys with the strongest grips on the planet didn't get that way from barehanded deadlifts. they got that way from training grip specifically.

you may not want to be certified in grippers, but getting good at grippers is the best way to get better at gripping. buy a captain of crush or heavygrip and close it 10-20 times then buy the next heaviest one.

grip training is easy and can be improved much faster than any other movement or strength.


I wouldn't worry much about using straps on a few movements here and there. As long as you aren't constantly missing deadlifts due to grip, it shouldn't be a problem.

The only time I use straps is when I'm doing snatch grip deadlifts or shrugs. You shouldn't need them for rows or pull-ups.


in a previous post you asked if there was interest in a seminar in the NY/NJ/CT area this fall. After quite a few "yes" replies, you said that you'll have to get someting going ... so ...

any concrete plans yet?

Also, what topic(s) do you think you'll cover? Thanks!


I am a relative newb to serious weight training but, do have experiance in the martial arts. In addition to the crush/pinch training you may want to look into buying some grip putty(Power Putty, Razing Putty, ect.), basically very stiff silly putty. It may be too tame for serious crush and pinch work but can be usefull for working finger extension, spreading, and pinching(extension, abduction, adduction). This improves overall grip strength/stability and helps alot with preventing broken hands, a real bonus for fighters.


Nothing concrete, but there has definitely been quite a bit of discussion.

I'll likely speak on the topic of unstable surface training (as related to my master's thesis), although I might decide to go another route and discuss backoff weeks and/or my approach to charting training stress.


Well, you can start training right away without even buying any equipment, by training your pinch grip in the gym.

Keeping your fingers straight, grab a weight plate like you were picking up a plate or tray, but just let it dangle from your hand as you stand up. There are a few ways to go from here.

First -- add more plates. You might start with a 10 lb. plate and add another, however many you can hold. This will change how wide your hand is pinching, let's say opening up the "tiger's mouth," since you're a martial artist. Each change in width not only adds weight, but making your hands wider stimulates growth differently.

Second -- keep it to one plate, but make it a bigger one. Greater weight in the same size hand opening will eventually create greater strength in that size pinch.

Third -- grab any configuration of plates and hold for time.

You can do these lifts and holds in the normal sets/reps manner.

You might also add some other exercises. Rope climbing, or twisting a towel over a pull up bar and twisting it and then climbing it like a rope, is a tremendous grip work-out. Simply hanging from a bar is great for endurance. Try grabbing a plate by the hub -- the raised metal around the hole in the center. Try gripping with only the first two or last two fingers.

That's enough to get you started. Luckily, pinching works to give you a pretty rounded strength. Grippers, for instance, don't really use the thumb much, but pinching gives you a more rounded strength. And it will apply to grippers, or elsewhere.

You might also want to get some thick rubberbands for extensor work. Slip em over your fingers and straighten your fingers. This rounds out your hand strength and growth in a way said to help prevent injury.

Eventually, you'll want to get some grippers. Ideally, you'll want one that's relatively easy, to warm up on and do holds on, one that's a bit too hard for you(your "goal gripper"), and one that's much too hard for you, to do negatives on. Most of the tough quality grippers cost roughly $20 or a bit more. So if you want a serious start in gripping, you can get by only spending $20 if you already know what strength gripper you can close, but even if you do, you'll be better off getting at least one or two more grippers.

Check out the gripper sites for more info. They're quite friendly and there's an awful lot of solid info on them.


Throw a gi top or a towel over your pull-up bar and do your chins and pullups gripping that. Helps a lot.


have you been doing any grip/forearm work in the hypertrophy range? might just need to add a little more muscle quick to give you something to work with.
Remember that crushing grip is not the same as your hoding grip. There is much cross-over, but you might be able to get away with traing the crushing or pinching grip and not overdoing your volume.
Your grip improvement might be held back by your extensors. Train them. If you haven't been hitting them hard, I bet that's the problem. sounds like you're lifting a lot, and most people don't train their extensors nearly enough to keep up with their flexors.
Also keep in mind the large neurological stress of gripping very very hard very often. Hit the Powerdrive.
Good luck.


Did you notice that you always say you don't want certified on any grippers, then state that your grip sucks relative to your entire body?

Seriously though, didn't you already ask a similar question a few weeks ago?
If I recall, a few websites were mentioned as resources, and a number of members suggested exercises to try.

As an aside, I received my No3, the damn thing doesn't budge left handed, but I can get it to parallel with my right.

Whatever you decide to do, get to it and good luck. Later


Great grip builder: farmer's walk. Pick up the heaviest BBs you can handle and walk around your gym. No straps/hooks. Forearms will burn like crazy after awhile, but can end up giving you a crusher grip.


Some good suggestions so far - if your grip is lagging, you must make it a priority. If your legs were weak, you would squat more and back off elsewhere. If your bench were weak, etc. Same for grip. Use straps for your normal exercises, then tear the hell out of your hands later.

Grippers, fat bars, grippers, plate curls, and pinching should be the bulk of your work, with extensor training (with elastic bands as stated before) and wrist training on your off days. Remember that the thumb is usually the weak link - pinching and plate curls are important for bringing it up.

Join the gripboard, too. Or the grip training section on Power and Bulk. You've got some real grip monsters on those boards who could help you out a lot.



I seriously, seriously disagree. I always used straps, got to point where i could close #2 coc gripper, still used straps. I could deadlift 515 with wrist straps at the time, low 400's without (wasnt sure where in 400s, but couldnt pull more than 445 in rack pull without straps). Did all that work to get to the #2 coc gripper (from starting point of not being able to close #1 and pulling around low 400s without straps) after closing #2, could still only pull low 400s sans straps. Mike Hara told me to give up straps (he benches in 500s at 165) so i did something i dont normally do and i listened for once, gave up my straps, just did countless deadlifts without straps, grip shot up within month or two to pulling 520 for 1 deadlift, no straps, no belt at 175 bodyweight, age 20 (not competition but i didnt care). So all im saying is, yea, you can get strong "crushing" grip without straps, can you get strong "holding" grip without deadlift or strong "pinching" grip without pinch gripping? Maybe, maybe not.


The great thing about grip training is that as a rule the results come along so incredibly fast. I went from being almost half an inch from closing the #1 COC gripper to 1/8" from closing the #2 gripper in less than a month. Some people can go from the #1 to the #3 in well under half a year. (The #3 requires tremendous grip strength -- 285 lbs. as I recall, good enough to get you the comparatively rare certification.)

So if you take some time to work your grip while still using straps, you won't half to spend a long time and worry about getting further and further behind. Your deadlift pounds will definitely not be outpacing your grip strength; the opposite is pretty much a guarantee. In fact, in just a few months or less you will probably make substantial inmprovements in hand strength and even size.

So don't worry that you're slacking off or mistakenly misdirecting your efforts if you work on grip strength and use straps for at least a while. A mere few months could gain you dramatic increases in hand strength and be well worth it.

Alternatively, one thing that can result in solid gains in hand strength and that doesn't require you to use straps and isolate your hand exercising into its own routine is to use thick bars for some of your regular lifts. Deadlifts, curls, presses, etc. Your weights will go down, but you'll rapidly develop hand and forearm strength. If you want to tough it out and not do specialized grip work on its own, tough it out for real and grab a thick-handled dumbbell or barbell for part of your work-outs. It won't be long before you get substantially stronger.

Hands can be trained very hard, and they recover very quickly. However you choose to train them, do it very hard for best results. Merely hauling your usual weights around in a work-out, even doing heavy deadlifts, probably won't be sufficient to make your hand strength grow at anywhere near its natural capability. Take extra measures.


thanks again for the help, i've been putting this off but its time to invest in some grip tools.


Xen, as a fellow MMA artist, I can tell you that the best thing you can do for your grip is invest in a thick bar. It's not cheap, unless you build your own, but its damn effective. more like grabbing a leg or wrist.


or you could invest in a supply of enzyte.


you're not allowed to disagree when comparing apples and oranges. :wink: actually, my response would have been different if xen was a PLer. besides, grip training specificity isn't just crushing. i use my COC grippers to do all: crush, pinch, supporting. i dont think you could tell me that if you uped your COC#2 capabilities from being able to close it once to being able to hold it closed for 25 seconds you didn't get a stronger supporting grip and have at least a moderate carry over to deadlift. my guess is the carry over would be more than moderate though.


Just pick up John Brookfield's "Master of Hand Strength". It is pretty cheap and details a lot of different movements you can do for your lower arm strength, along with how to make your own tools to use. It also has which exercises are good for improving what types of grip, and what types of grip are needed for different activities. Not only that, it then outlines basic routine ideas for the various athletes' needs. Martial arts is one of the listed types. The book is an easy read and also works as a fine reference guide.

As a side note, I have not found much carryover between closing grippers and deadlifting strength. When I had a tough time holding onto 405, did static holds with 455 or higher for one month and have never had a grip problem deadlifting again (can do lockouts up around 700 pounds with no straps and not have my hands give out). Fat bar work seems to help me handle awkward objects (like people) and barbells much easier. But I can only close the COC#2 3 times, so maybe I have to be able to close the #3 or #4 before I see any carryover results.