T Nation

grip strength

Hi everyone!

I’d like to know what are the best exercises to improve grip strength? I’ve thin wrists and not much strength in my fingers, which is a problem when I do heavy dumbbell shrugs for example.
Thanks in advance!


Heavy cock squezes. 3 sets of 5 reps. 30 seconds rest in between.

My deadlift is up 50 lbs to these.

I find doing deadlifts, or in my case rack pulls (i.e. partial deadlifts) with no straps really forces my forearms to grow.

Also, on my 2nd back day of the week I do chin-ups which works not only the back but the biceps and forearms really well.

Here are some of the excercises I have used successfully in the past:

  1. Wrap a towel around a chin-up bar and hang for as long as you can.

  2. Double overhand grip deadlift holds.

  3. Pinch grip plates. I started with 2 10lb plates and eventually worked up to 2 25lb plates. You can even try and use 3 plates.

I recommend cycling them all in your training.

In large part, just struggling through shrugs, rows, chins, and deadlifts will go a long way towards improving your grip.

If you’re looking for something more specific, check issue 260.

first and foremost, trapezius muscles are much stronger than forearms and metacarple muscles. Obviously straps are used to isolate the traps when perfrorming shrug, upright rows, etc…

I value my time more than doing forearm exercises. With that in mind, my method for my clients and myself is to take your forearms to failure when performing shrugs and upper back work and then add straps for the heavy sets.

Also, concentrate on your grip when your doing calves, leg press, quad extensions, ham extension, etc…every maching, especially for the lower body, has handles so kill two birds w/ one stone.

Basically, when you’re done w/ your calf and chest day, your forerms, calves, and forearms should be toast.

Now you’ll never have to waist 15 minutes on forearm work twice a week. Just remember, they’ll ache and get weaker until they condition and adapt to the new beating they’ll be taking.

Hope I helped.

Grip strength?

Dont you get that when you feed the cattle, cut firewood, haul hay, fix fence…
Oh wait, you don’t live on a farm.

Some things that have worked for me…

Go to wal-mart and buy and eight pound sledge. Cut the handle off till its only about 14 inches. The support your forearm on your leg while sitting down, with the hammer in hand in front of you.
Bend you wrist forward and back up and then to each side. Do this for each arm.

The strongman excercise called farmers walk is good. Pick up two dumbells you can barely hold on to and walk with them.

As for pinch gripping, find a big rock, and hold onto it, not by a point but by the whole thing. You can also do this with the ball of a dumbell. Pump jack weights from an oil well work pretty good too.

Reverse curls are making my forearms huge. They work pretty good too.

I have heard of people (super-woman i think, is it patricia?) Hooking a rope up to their vehilce and puling it with their arms towards them. I haven’t tried it, dunno how hard it would be on a 4x4 1/2 ton truck.

The first part of CT’s chin up article has some good grip exercises that haven’t been mentioned yet.

Thanks alot!

Greekdawg, I’m afraid I’ll end up behind bars if I follow your advice at the gym but I might give it a try…


Don’t forget the good old gripper. I’m using CoCs with good results.

It is a matter of simply keeping up with using and straining the muscles. Dead, chins, rows, bench, etc. Pretty much any movement. Squeeze as hard as you can. Limit your use of straps if you use them at all, only do so when you cannot go anyfurther without them and need to lift more to finish hitting other areas.

Good luck and keep up the work, your grip will come.


weighted chins seem to burn up my forearms pretty good. i used to also just hang from the chinup bar for as long as i could…

I got to go with Moose and say the Captains-Of-Crush are the way to go. I’ve been using a no. 2 for a while now and i’ve really noticed a big increase in strength. Not a very big increase in size tho.