T Nation

Grip Exercises


What are some good exercises for developing a mean grip? I am a wrestler and my grip isn't that good so I have to change that. I already have the Ironmind #1 and trainer gripper, so I will use those but want some other exercises as well. The barbell hold just didn't seem to work for me when I tried it because it tore apart the calluses on my hand before my actual muscle. Preferably no machine exercises.


If you have access to a thickbar, just doing deads and cleans and even holds will exhaust you.


Heavy deads and shrugs with NO straps... Also, try farmer's walk at the end of a workout, take some heavy DBs and just walk around the gym until you can't hold them anymore.


Try this article:



Farmer's Walks: Grab two heavy things (dumbbells work fine for this), and start walking with your hands at your sides. Walk up stairs, etc.

You can also do a plate-pinch: grab a smooth-sided weight plate with one hand and hang onto it from the top, i.e. just pinching it with your fingers. Hold it for 60 seconds. Work to pinch bigger plates for longer times

Grip-trainers are great for building grip-strength, but the 2 above help build grip-endurance.

Oh, and just in case, if your using straps for any lifting, try not using them. There's nothing like bare-handed deadlifting to work your grip-strength.


'KTA Grip program' at Cyberpump.com. There is nothing else you need to know.


I'm going to have to wholeheartedly disagree. You wouldn't tell someone who wants to develop his throwing power, "Westside Barbell. That's all you need to know," would you? Same goes with this. KTA is a program specifically for closing tougher grippers, and during the time he's on it his hands will be annihilated if he does it right. He's looking to increase his grip for martial arts, not to become a certified Captain of Crush.

That said, using the CoC grippers that you have can be very beneficial, but also do the other things that have been suggested in this thread. If you can find some old hex dumbbells and make block weights out of them, they will help tremendously. As John Brookfield says, "Block weight training = grip strength."

If you're serious about increasing your hand strength (which you should be), I highly suggest Brookfield's book, Mastery of Hand Strength. Another great one is The Grip Master's Manual, but it is geared towards the advanced grip athlete.


Not sure if it was on the link that was given as I was too lazy/busy to check but towel chins can help alot as well. BTW I will agree that while being able to close a high level captain of crush will give you a large advantage gripwise, I surely wouldnt' make it my only form of grip training. Unless that's all I was looking to accomplish.

Anyone here ever see/use a cat's paw? Just curious, never heard any feedback.


Being a wrestler in my younger days i would say thickbar work, hammer curls and one arm db rows come to mind all with at least a 2"bar or DB.Rope climbing and grabing sand in a bucket with your hands over and over.Make sure you do some endurance type grip work in just like a match.With a partner you can grab each others wrists and try to hold on.This would be very specific for wrestling and a good grip/wrist workout.Don't forget your wrists either.Levering with a sledge hammer is a good one for this.


I do in fact do my deadlifts with a 2" thick bar, and used to do all of my lifting with it. Grip doesn't hold me back on the deads surprisingly, but it used to on all other execises. I don't want to start using the thick-bar exclusively because I want to tax my main muscle groups primarily when I do my standard lifting.


Grip a Barbell over hand keeping your arms in front of you hanging straight down. Open your hand and let the barbell roll to the tip of your fingers. Then roll your fingers up into a closed hand.


Wrist roller, pinch grip, grippers. Also try leverage lifts: Heavy HammerII from Iron mind. Go to Ironminds site for grip tips from John Brookfield.



You shouldnt have to worry about this too much. Doing supplementary work like curls and presses with a thick bar will far from hold you back, it may even help you lift heavier weight.

When you are lifting a thick bar, you have to hold onto it tight. Tight = tension. Tension breeds strength. By squeezing the barbell you are getting that much more out of the exercise.

If anything, I might opt to drop the thick bar deadlift, and do all your supplemental work (romanian deads, curls, presses, rows if you can, etc) with the thick bar.


Get a 5gallon bucket. Fill it with sand. Stick your hand in and move your fingers around.


For wrestlers wanting to improve their grip strength, why not do some thick towel hangs, thick towel pullups and thick towel chins? Thick bar lifts if they are heavy enough will work the grip and the wrist.

You might also build a sandbag that is your weight or slightly over it and practice lifting that in a variety of methods. Just gripping a very heavy sandbag will work your grip in an amazing way!!


I see most suggestions are for lifting/carrying things. What about hanging from something or climbing on the horizontal ladder?

I used to climb on those things all the time as a kid. Recently went to the local schoolyard and did some hanging and climbing and did it ever own me... Felt it in the fingers for days. Gotta do it more often I guess, feels good

So what do the experienced guys say? Holding your whole bodyweight seems like more of an excercise than a dumbbell or a sack of sand. Doing it on off days twice a week - good idea?


When I was a kid I heard that was a martial arts exercise so you could stick your hand inside someone?s body.


Like in ace ventura when he rips his heart out.


I have heard the same. I would imagine the technique they did it with to be slightly different though.


I thought the "reaching in & ripping out the victim's heart and showing it to him, still beating", was straight out of Indiana Jones The Temple Of Doom :stuck_out_tongue:

But seriously, the usual stuff should work... Farmer's walks, overhead press and hold for time with a BB, plate pinch grips and extensions.

Holding a 45 lb plate with your fingertips at your side extend & contract your fingers for reps and then switch sides. I do this after my arm/forearm work and trust me, brushing your teeth afterwards is tricky.

Also, try scoping out & googling rock-climbing sites... some climbers I know have crazy grip strength & taking from other sources of info can only help you in your quest.

Good luck.