T Nation

Grip for bball palming


What are some good exercises for palming the ball? I can hold it in one hand but not too securely.


I don't know what Joe will say, but PLATE PINCHES. Start with 2 10s, then 3 10s/25, then 2 25s. By then it should be no problem.


Ability to palm a ball is generally a function of hand size, specifically the span from the tip of the thumb to the tip of the little finger(reportedly Dr J's span was measured at 14"!), and to a lesser extent the span from the tips of the four fingers to the heel of the palm.

If the span of the former is 10" or more and you still can't palm the ball, then increasing hand strength is in order. I would recommend isometric holds using a basketball in addition to low rep work with some sort of grip trainer. I use the G0-REALLY Grip Trainer from IronMind with some ball players I train because you can put a lot of weight on it and it allows them to train both hands at once, which reinforces keeping boths hands on the ball. I have also hand players use a fingerboard(like rock climbers use)and over several weeks up work up to a few sets of hangs with added weight. This works very well, but you have work carefully and progressively because there is a risk of injuring finger ligaments.

If the span is less then 10" then it will be difficult, even with increased strength, to palm the ball. It will help some but you'll tend to get the affect of squeezing the ball out of the hand. However, when you rebound with 2 hands or go to the hole with 2 hands it will be difficult for the opponent to strip the ball if you increase hand strength.

I can palm the ball as can some the players I train. But it is an overrated ability. It ain't a skill. It's a function of genetics and does not necessarily translate into more effective play. It's more of a showy ability that oftentimes leads players away from fundamentally sound play. I recommend building your court skills then your core strength and explosiveness. You may also want to purchase one of the newer generation of balls that have a tackier surface making it much easier to palm.

Good luck with your game and remember: Always build ya skills!


Thanks! My handspan is exactly 10 inches.


Being an ex baller I would have to say reverse grip curls and towel chinups helped my grip to a great deal, and developed other parts of my body simultaniusly.
If you want to go all out, you can choose to follow the dvice in chris thibudeau's article on grip strength.


I think rackrecker gave some good suggestions on how to increase your hand strength. I think that something you have to pay attention to also is the flexibility of the hand. You can have a lot of strength from working out, but if you don't have the ability to "open up" your hand that strength won't help too much.

Somethings that can help: 1. Put the ball in front of you on the ground. Place one hand on top of the ball, your fingers and base of your fingers should be the only parts of your hand touching the ball. Don't let your palm touch the ball. Now press down lightly for 15-20 seconds. Then try to lift the ball from the ground slowly. 2. Hold the ball in front of your chest with 2 hands and elbows out. Concentrate on squeezing the ball with your thumbs and the base of your fingers.

Both of those drills helped me with palming the ball more easily, especially after jamming and dislocating a few fingers.


My hand is probably the same size and I can palm a ball pretty easily after practicing for a while.

Just find a good quality ball at your gym (or wherever) and just start doing it. If you position your hand so your fingers grab in the slots in the ball and keep doing it your grip strength will increase.

After a while I got to the point of being able to palm the ball off the dribble. This took some amount of practice which involved a lot of attempts and holding until my hand gave out which increased my grip strength. The suggestion of holding a small plate in the same manner is excellent.

I always needed to have a very nice quality leather ball with fairly deep channels to do this properly.


I have always had a hard time believeing that grip strength has anything to do with palming a basketball. If your hands are too small to palm a ball there is noting you can do about it. Charles Barkely could never grip a ball and he was a pretty strong guy. I have a grip span of 9 inches from tip to tip. I have been able to grip a ball since I was in high school. Its not perfect but I can still grip it, pick it up or do MJ's pump fake jump shot. Now my grip strength has tremendously increased since then, I'm 28 now and I have exactly the same type of palming of the ball. No difference at all.

If your hands are too small you must find out how you can position your hands on the ball to hold it. Just like suggested above its usually with your fingers spread out in the channels.

Increasing grip strength does not mean you'll be able to palm the ball BUT it does mean that defenders will have a harder time smacking it out of your hands when you have TWO hands on it.