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Training For Grip Strength


I'm looking for some input on training for grip strength. My specific problem is I want better ability to palm a basketball. I'm trying to enter some dunk contests this summer and I think I have the vert for it, but I miss dunks (especially windmills) due to losing the ball. My hands are plenty big (even for a 6'4" guy), but they are pathetically weak. I figured I'd ask some of the powerlifters/strongmen on the board if they had any advice for me here.

I'm going to buy the COC trainer grips and I've started doing some pinch gripping. I don't have a fat bar to bench with, but I have one that I can do some other stuff with- I guess I probably could bench with it, but I don't know if it's long enough to rack. I figure what I need to work on most is supporting and crush gripping.

Anybody got advice for me??


This topic has come up so do a search.
My humble suggestions:
Hang for as long as you can after pull-ups.
Hold on for as long as you can after shrugs.
Don't use wrist straps for DLs etc. until your grip is REALLY shot.
Buy/Build a wrist roller.
Get some Captains of Crush grippers from IronMind.
And, most important: Practice palming a basketball ALOT.


Bro, just buy some "stick'um", apply to fingertips, and THROW IT DOWN!



Hey man. There are a number of grip tools from IronMind that you can hook up to a "loading pin" (sold separately!). One of these grip toys is probably a 4" diameter tube. You can, of course, add weight to the loading pin ... so this could serve as a "weighted" basketball for giving you some overload.

There is also a very wide block that you can grab from different angles. My personal favorite is made to reconstruct the classic strongman trick of picking up an old York 45 by its center "hub".

Anyway, grab a loading pin, a carabiner, and a few grib toys and go to town ... lots of fun at the end of your workout.



Go to a daycare facility and try picking up various sized children by the head. The kids with the whiffle haircuts have the most carryover to your sport. Do reps with the little tykes and heavy singles with the chubby/bigger ones.

Or... try to find some roundish stones of various sizes (even the granite balls at fence companies or bowling balls) and try palming them. You'll need that open-handed strength that involves the finger tips.



Thanks for the tips and good replies...

"Open hand strength" is exactly what I was talking about. That gave me some good ideas (no not the kids!)- I'm gonna try to find some big shots puts or some med balls and work on palming them.

I just checked out Ironmind- I didn't realize how much info is on that site. I think I'm gonna pick up the blockbuster pinch grips and that hub pretty soon. I've started doing some 1-arm deadlift/shrug combos with the fat bar to work on the grip strength and it's helped me realize just how weak my overall forearm and grip strength is. Hopefully I can bring that up in time for the summer.

Thanks a lot and if anybody has anything else to add I'd appreciate it.


I would say that to increase open hand strength, you should train open hand strength. Wide block pinches would be your best bet.

Anything that trains fingertip strength would also be good.


thats some funny shit


For open hand strength, timed dumbbell holds can work well. (holding it by the end not the handle)


For open hand training go to a lumberyard and find you a 5" or 6" wood "globe", that are used for decoration. put big eyescrew into it, hang weight, and palm away.


I have a 12lb Nike Medball that looks and feels exactly like a rubber BBall, just a lot heavier

working out with that makes a real BBall feel like a feather.
I do medball circuits and stuff with it, makes my forearms feel jacked.
Throwdowns, woodchop, chest pass into the floor etc catching the medball after bounce, situp/russian twists and such. Works my forearms/grip in a pretty specific manner

that may help


Try puting an eyebolt in a baseball an hanging some weight. Farmers walks, wheelbarrow walks work good too, you also get some GPP with them. I second or third the Iron mind stuff, great equipment.


hold heavy shit. also, you could lift more.my grip just got stronger as i got stronger.amazing how that works.


Agreed. This may sound wierd, but besides the COC's and heavy hangs, which are both awesome, since you specifically need fingertip strength, pick up a finger strengthner from a guitar store. They work each fingertip individually or all together. What works for holding down strings better should also help you grip the ball better.


Lots of things to do for grip, one i was thinking of and somewhat of an addition to what has been said... get an old softball and drive a hook into it and then attach weights to it and lift. I think that for your larger-than-normal sized hands a baseball might be too easy for you.

Also, and this might sound outlandish - get an old basketball (one no one needs anymore) and fill it with sand. It'll be heavy BUT then you can practice palming this 'heavy basketball'. Good Luck!


Hey guys,

Thanks for all the input so far. So far I've been focusing on hex dumbell holds, fat bar pullups hanging for extra time on the bottom, and the wrist roller. It's only been a couple of weeks but I've made a little progress already so that is encouraging. I'm just mad I've neglected grip training for so long!


When using a wrist roller, what kind of form is optimal for grip, because I realize the whole "shoulders up" thing is stupid, and if you stand on a box, it provides full range.

However, I am more asking about flexion of the arms as it makes it easier to turn your forearms. should the arms stay straight, or should you bend at the elbow to be able to use more weight.


I stand with my arm down by my front, as straight as possible. If I hold the out in front of me, my shoulders go out before my grip does.

As far as standing on a bench or box, I don't think it matters. Just do more rolls. I don't count reps, I go by time.



that is friggin HILARIOUS

functional strength in action!


What about working the wrist extensors..is it wrist flexors...the top half of the forearm that is rarely work. Would i have to do speciality work to balance between the extensor and flexors or will these grip excercises you guys suggested work both equally.