T Nation

Grip Training


How do you program your grip training? I know Jim recommends things like Kroc rows and Towel chin-ups, but what about things like grippers or the Rolling Thunder? Do you add grip workouts on your off days? Do you add 1 or 2 grip exercises at the end of each workout?


Power cleans, deadlifts and DB rows.

I could see doing specific grip training if I did more strongman stuff, but for what I do I just need to be able to hold onto a barbell.


I do rolling thunder and block weights) after OH press (Monday) I do back Tuesday, no grip. I rest Wednesday, I do Plate pinch on Thursday after bench, I do back on Friday, with gripers on Friday or Saturday. I cant SQ or DL at the moment (heart issues)


That's similar to how I was thinking about doing it. Lately I've been having 2 grip workouts a week separate from my 531 workouts which are 4 times a week. I've been thinking about just adding 1 grip exercise to the end of each workout, so that I can use my off days to rest.

My grip on the deadlift has not been an issue since I started training it double overhand a lot, so my grip training is just for the sake of accomplishing grip feats. What do you think would be a good grip exercise to do on deadlift day when my grip is already sore? I was thinking about doing levers the day before deadlift day since they're more for the wrist then hands, so my grip won't be tired for deadlifts.


I 'cured' DL grip problems by BB shrugging after DL, using the rack and over / under grip and working to shrug more than I could deadlift.

I have a long interest in grip (I have a few toys, grippers & grippers). DL is mainly 'supporting grip' so avoid that type of training the day before, though it will depend on you personal tolerance and how hard you do the grip training. I dont think I'd have a great deal of problem doing Rolling Thunder the day before DL as long as it was a repping workout for the RT. Basicall set up something you're happy with, try it and then evaluate. My main dificulty is keeping the time devoted to grip to less than 20-30mins a session.


I've trained with top grip competitor Jedd Johnson numerous times. He doesn't follow the 5/3/1 routine but he trains grip on the same days as compound movements. For instance we'd do double overhand axle deadlifts before regular deads to help grip, work on overhead press then 2 hand pinch, squats with grippers, bench with blob lifting. He always said that he felt doing the other movements helped prime his body for the grip lifts. Grip strength has a quick recovery time.


My grip strength went up very quickly when I started doing Kroc Rows. Just pick heaviest dumbbell you can handle and do as many reps as you can.


That's cool that you trained with Jedd Johnson. Watching his videos and reading his articles has really gotten me into grip training. I've learned a lot from him and Jim Wendler lately. I've now decided to take the same approach and train grip after my other workouts.


Honestly, if you're doing boring but big programming (and I don't know if you are), you don't really need any extra grip work, but if you're doing different assistance, any of the other stuff mentioned above would be a decent option. I'd stick with towel chin-ups and kroc rows until they stopped working, though. It takes a while (if ever) for that to happen.


Also, it depends on your goals. If you're going to be a grip competitor, ok, go for all of the extra stuff. If not, and grip is just a secondary goal to your overall strength--deadlift, kroc rows and chin-ups are waaaaaay more awesome. ;p


I have small hands that make gripping things difficult, but what I found helpful was doing a couple sets of direct grip work at the end of upper body days and also adding a grip element to some of my other assistance work here and there. For the direct grip work it would usually be fat grip dumbbell holds for time, plate pinches, holding the top part of a hex dumbbell for time, etc. This kind of stuff takes just a few extra minutes each week and shouldn't interfere with your recovery at all.

As for adding a grip element to other assistance work, I'd do towel pull-ups in place of regular pull-ups, axle clean and press rather than barbell, fat grip DB curls rather than regular, etc. You don't need to swap out every exercise and turn every session into a grip training bonanza, but a little bit goes a long way. Personally I would choose exercises that still gave me a good training effect in the originally intended way and also a grip challenge. For instance I wouldn't choose to do double overhand fat grip deads in place of regular deads because I wouldn't be able to move enough weight to get an effect on my glutes, hams, back, etc. Also avoid any grip work the day before deadlifting.

The last thing you could do would be to choose conditioning options that challenge your grip. Hammer swings, hand over hand rope rows, and farmers walks all come to mind. If you have any of these options available to you I strongly suggest you utilize them.

Give yourself three months while making these changes and you'll be a pickle jar opening machine.