T Nation

Grip Strength: Routines & Ideas


I figured we should have a grip strength topic to help everyone in case anyone is interested or has problems due to poor grip.

If anyone would like to post their ideas or routines, please. Any advice for beginners, intermediate and advanced grip strength would be most appreciated.

Hopefully, we can make this a decent thread for people to use as a wiki for grip strength.


I think this would be awesome too. I don't have big hands or anything, but they are fairly strong. I closed the coc #1 and #2 the first time I got it, and that's with NO direct training for hands or anything. Did it at 18 years old. 19 now and just recently began trainnig grip, I want to close a 2.5 COC and eventually a 3 would be awesome. But once agaain, I have small hands and I hear that doesn't help much lol.
I do electrical so my hands get pretty much numb and tingling feeling all day if I do too much grip training but right now I'm doing this:

Day 1:
Crush strength/forearm trainign (wrist curls, reverse etc., finger curls)

Day 2:
(usually on deadlift day)
Holding weight, then pinch strength

Day 3:
Wrist curls, or anything else to make strong wrists. Then I'll do like something for the forearms and such.
Towel pull-ups, been wanting to get a rope to climb it using only hands. Something for lower end forearm strength.

And then fingertip pushups, and then putting hand in a jar and putting weight in that jar to work the outside muscles, and also wrapping thick elastic band around the hand and opening it.


Yeah... my grip sucks. Just got COC gripper, starting with the #1... I can close it and hold it for about 10-15 seconds, so I am going to use it as a trainer. I can almost close the #2... hopefully get it soon.

Pisses me off, grip is really starting to effect my deadlift. Starting to do Barbell holds, finger rolls... anything to tax my grip strength.



Go here, make an account, and read. That should hold you over grip wise for the next few years :).


A strong grip is awesome.

How much can you guys overhand DL?


Not much. I feel my wrist begin to pull and separate. Not a good feeling if you've ever experienced it. If I can do 250, like that, I'd be surprised.


When warming up for DLs I usually go overhand until about 315 for a couple, then switch to alternate grip to my max.


Grip strength can cover a lot of ground: crushing, holding, pinching, twisting, bending, tearing, etc.

Unless you're a climber, arm wrestler, or something similar, I don't think most people need to spend much much time on all aspects of grip. I'm mean, some grip tricks are kind of neat, like rolling frying pans, but at the end of the day it's still just a grip trick.

I just feel if hands are not a primary goal, training time can be better spent. At the same time, if someone just wants to have strong-ass hands, who am I to judge their goal?

I think most gym-goers will never need to more than some basic grip work. Farmers, barbell holds, and thick bar work will cover most people's needs. Throw in some gripper work and some wrist curls and a person can develop some solid hand strength.

Now, to have world class, freaky hand strength, you need to specialize your training. If you want to get good at bending nails and tearing decks of cards, you have to practice specifically doing those things. In my experience, I haven't seen a lot of carryover between the different aspects of strength.

For example, I can double overhand pull 405 and hold over 600 with a mixed grip, but I can't close the COC #2.


malonetd, I agree with you.

Its not necessary for many people. I just wanted to get some good grip strength as just something extra I could do in say, 10 to 20 minutes every other day (not sure how long it really takes).

I also think that for some people on here, a strong grip might be one of their goals. It would be good for T-Nation to pay attention to this instead of just sending people over to another site.

I have small hands, rather, short fingers and closing a COC is nearly impossible unless I stabilize the handle that rests in my palm with my other hand. If this was not an issue, I could close a coc #2 w/ no training. I have the same issue w/ the coc #1. The gripper slides back and my fingers aren't long enough close it at that point.

As for primary point, I do enough volume considering I do sheiko, additional ab work & cardio (or at least try to, ha!). I can make time to fit in 15-20 minutes 3 to 4 times a week just doing things to build up my grip.


Uh, what exactly are you wanting? As mentioned, there are several types of grip training. Ask yourself what is it you want out of your grip--crushing unopened cans of beer or the supportive grip strength to pull 400+ with overhand--then ask for advice.


I just wanted to start a thread discussing grip work, not specifically for myself.

If no one wants that, just iggy the thread and it'll go away.


I have been focusing a lot on my grip lately as I have pretty small hands(about 6.5 inches from tip of middle finger to wrist). I am currenlty training 3 days a week with wendler's 5/3/1 and do my grip work after. I have closed a #2 CoC and am working on a #3.

What seems to be working the best for me is the following:


  • 4-6 attempts at closing the #3


  • Plate pinches 3-5 reps per hand for max hold time. I follow this up with all types of forearm work, such as plate curls, extensor work, and levering.


  • Same as Monday, 4-6 attempts of #3.

I also will sometimes work my supporting grip after all of this by doing some bodyweight holds on a chinup bar, depending on how my hands feel. Sometimes I do one handed holds but I am finding that I tear a my calluses pretty easily doing this(BW is about 300 right now). This program seems to be working well and I am getting closer to closing the #3 but I believe it will be one to two more months.

My goal is to have the #4 closed by the end of this year.




I recently switch from powerlifting and I am now training fro armwrestling. I can double overhand deadlift around 600, and I can rep a COC #2 about 5 or 6 times, and my grip sucks for armwrestling. My bicep strength also sucks, but that is another story altogether.

I have started doing COC work once per week. 2 sets of 10 on the trainer, 2 sets of 10 on the #1, and 2 sets of 5 on the #2. Usually by then, I can't quite close the #2.

I have also been doing all of my forearm work with a fat handle.

Active rest has been using the IronMind egg.

Open hand finger strength is very important, so I have been doing all of my back work using just my fingers to grip.

I have found over the years that wrist strength can impact grip strength a lot. I was lazy and have allowed my wrists to get weaker, and it has hurt my grip as well.

Its funny---all the things I ignored as a powerlifter are the things I need as an armwrestler.


I tried a new grip thing today: I set up a rope on my pullup bar, so that it was like climbing two ropes at once. I then did pullups in that positions, absolutely crushed by grip, hitting all the pulling muscles at the same time.


I currently work grip/forearms 3 days a week, focusing on different aspects each day.

Day 1: Lever Work

  • Sledge Adductions 3x8-12
  • Sledge Abductions 3x8-12
  • Pronation / Supination 3x20
  • Sledge Tosses till failure
  • Band Expansions 3x15-20

Day 2: Forearm Hypertrophy

  • Wrist Roller 2x2 (up / down, both ways)
  • Washcloth Wring / Crush 5 sets
  • Band Expansions 3x15-20

Day 3: Gripper Work

  • 3x1ME
  • 3x1 Static Crush for time
  • 1xMax Reps RP
  • Band Expansions 3x15-20

I do this stuff in the evenings before bed.

I'll probably switch it up in 4-6 weeks, adding some dynamic, thickbar and pinch grip work.


OK... not looking for crush, twist strength.
Looking for grip strength for deadlifts.

I usually do weighted bar holds, finger rolls, and just got some King of Crush grippers. Should I be doing reps with these, or just holding them closed for as long as possible?


Holding them closed for time is the most applicable to deadlift grip strength.

Fat bar holds are very good for this as well.


10-4... thanks Slat!


For anyone that will take the advice, I've found that weighted chinups are in credible way to strengthen your fingers as well as giving you an incredibly strong back. As far as open handed strength goes theres really no better exercise than fingertip pushups.