T Nation

Grip Strength Problems


So i have just come back from 2 weeks being out of country and not being able to lift. Before i left i was doing a decent bench, deadlift and squat. The only problem is my grip. I do deadlifts and my grip fails way before my strength. I was wondering if someone could give some suggestions and tips on what i can do to improve my grip strength. Im willing to commit a workout day to just improving my grip.

I feel i will never get my deadlift up there if i dont fix my grip problem. Also im working against my genetics since i have small hands and small wrists thanks to my mother. Any help would be appreciated.

                                        Semper Fi


Try searching. Since I have no idea what currently you are doing,
here are things to try in order:

Mixed grip, chalk, straps. (also hook grip or a bar with better knurling)


adding in some direct grip work after your sessions could work eg static holds.


Try mixing grip work in with your regular routine. e.g. if your going to do pullups drape a towel (or something similar; I used to do traditional Martial arts so I use old belts from this) over the bars and do towel pullups.
If you have access to Kettlebells, again fold a towel around the handles and do curls. The thicker the towel the better as it will force you to squeeze harder

Press-ups on your finger tips - this will put alot of pressure on your fingers so when your starting out you need to be careful
Hold a sledge-hammer at the end of its shaft by your waist at about a 90 deg angle to your body, raise it to a 45 deg angle an return.
In short if you want to increase grip strength the list of exercises is limited to your own imagination

If you have a budget for it you should get yourself some grippers (I use Captains of Crush and have noticed significant improvements in my grip strength, working on Level 2 at the moment)


Some good replies here.

Lots of pull-ups. Anything with a thick bar. Snatch grip deadlifts.

I consider a weak grip a safeguard to over doing it. The tendons and connective tissue of the hands requires a long a time to strengthen so when your grip fails it does so to save the body. You've only been at if for a year and a half off and on so chances are your grip is exactly where it should be for the time you've spent at it.


I'm not sure I agree entirely with this. He said he has small hands. I have small hands as well(freakishly small...my middle finger is only 2.75" long making a hook-grip impossible). If any of the bars were proportionally smaller to accomodate my hands, I'd have no problem with my grip failing.

To the OP, you should work on grip strength, but if you must use straps and things like that in order to avoid limiting the weight you'd otherwise be using, then do it.


well straps are the very obvious immediate solution. heres some good ideas though. reverse grip curls, hang from a pullup bar for as long as possible, hold the heaviest dumbells you can handle for as long as possible, grippers, like stated earlier towel pullups, fingertip pushups.

and heres two very unorthodox exercises; get a bucket of dry rice and try to wiggle your fingers in that gay spirit fingers motion trying to reach the bottom, youll never make it; also grab two ten plates and face them in towards eachother with the smooth sides facing outward, now hold onto these two with one hand for as long as possibble only using your fingers as a vice to keep the plates from seperating, then switch to the other hand. also simply keep deadlifting and do shrugs without straps.


On my DL's my grip tends to fail as well, but I'm doing stutter rep sets so I'm quite burnt from them. I also find my grip usually fails due to sweat. The program I'm on is killer.

I plan to get some straps, but not rely on them all the time, otherwise my grip won't ever fully improve.


If your grip is failing due to sweat, use chalk.


Fat grip (i.e. Tyler grips), Captains of Crush grippers, towel grip pull-ups, rice digs, and heavy static holds (DB/BB) for the win!


kroc rows


squeezing balls of newspaper...