Christian Thibaudeau wrote:
GRIP PROBLEM? HELP FROM THE STRONGEST 'GRIP-MAN' OF ALL TIME!
I have smallish hands, it has always hurt my lifting performance in the past, mostly because I did not try to correct the situation by working on my grip strength.
For example, when I was competing in olympic lifting I could snatch 142.5kg in training (actually have that on video) yet my best in competition was only 125kg (around a 40lbs difference). The main reason was that I often relied on straps during training. The 'more secure' grip allowed me to transfer more force the the bar which led to 'better' performances in training, but bad ones when it counted.
I didn't help myself in that I never worked on my grip strength and used straps for all pulls and deadlifts.
I started training on the olympic lifts again, and still train the deadlift hard (my nemesis; which I want to conquer). This time around I decided to throw away my straps completely and work on my grip strength to solve that problem once and for all.
I did the typical grip stuff: Captain of Crush grippers, pinch gripping, bar holds, forearm work, etc. My hands got stronger, on those lifts, but it didn't seem to transfer 100% to the actual performance of snatches, cleans and deadlifts.
So I looked elsewhere, to one of the strongest grip-man (if not THE strongest) of all tine: Hermann Goerner. That man has too many grip-strength feats to number them, but suffice to say that he has deadlifted over 750lbs with ONE HAND. This requires a grip of steal!
How did he train his grip strength? He would ramp up the weight on his deadlifts (and one-hand deadlifts)... with the lighter loads he would use a tougher grip and as the weight were getting heavier and heavier he would switch to a stronger and stronger grip type.
For example, he might start his deadlifts by using a supinated (palms forward) grip, using only two fingers per hand. He would ramp up the weight...
When the load got challenging for that grip he would switch to a pronated grip (palms facing him) still using only two fingers...
When that second grip type was starting to be problematic he would switch to a three fingers supinated grip... then eventually to a three fingers pronated grip...
When three fingers were not enough he would use a full, supinated grip (using the 4 fingers and the thumb wrapped around the bar) then a full pronated grip...
When the full pronated grip was starting to be tough he finally switched to an alternating grip.
This progression is a bit long for myself, as I'm not a grip-master yet, so I adapted it. It looks like that:
GRIP TYPE 1: Two-fingers (pronated)
GRIP TYPE 2: Three-fingers (pronated)
GRIP TYPE 3: Full grip (pronated)
GRIP TYPE 4: Hook grip (olympic lifting grip)
GRIP TYPE 5: Alternating grip
I ramp up the weight on all sets. I use this method for deadlifts and shrugs (which I now use as my main grip exercise).
I find that this...
- Transfers directly to gripping performance on the actual lifts
- Gave me really deep forearm soreness the next day, the first time I tried it
GOERNER, NOT ALONE...
Goerner is not the only one to recommend such technique. At least two other respected authorities recommended a somewhat similar approach.
Years ago Tommy Kono (former world champion olympic lifter) recommended that those who have a weak grip do their olympic lifts with a regular full grip instead of the typical hook grip (which is more securem but doesn't improve grip strength) on snatches and clean until the weight on those lifts absolutely require the use of a hook grip. Over time this makes the grip much stronger.
Charles Poliquin also recommends the same when he works with female olympic lifters. In OL the women lifts on a smaller bar, less thick (25mm instead of 28mm). Charles recommends that the female lifters use the men's bar for as long as they can, and switch to the women's bar when the weight gets heavy. He noticed an actual increase in pulling strength as soon as you switch bar (better neural activation).
He recommended something similar on rowing movements... guys can use a thick bar for the lighter work sets and switch to a regular sized bar as the weight gets heavier.