I was talking with some of the BJJ students this morning about grip strength and how to make your grip like a death lock.
When it comes to fighting, or grappling like Judo, BJJ, and Wrestling, having a strong grip makes a big difference.
If you want to be considered powerful, it all starts with strong grips. Having the kind of grip that can’t be broken easily is a huge benefit.
And I’ll be honest, a fighter shouldn’t have soft hands that’ve been pampered by using things like lifting gloves or straps in the gym.
If you use gloves when you lift weights please smack yourself upside the head right now. That kind of garbage has no place in your MMA training.
Use your hands to their maximum genetic capabilities. I’m willing to bet you’ve got much better grips than you think.
And if you lack that gripping power don’t worry, there’s help. Below you’ll find 4 super simple ways to develop better overall gripping strength.
Exercises that work wonders for grip strength:
#1 – Thick bar training
A really good way to increase your grip is the use of what we call a “Thick Bar” in the weightlifting world.
The larger surface (thickness) of this type of bar demands more from your hands and forearms in order to hold it.
Using a thick bar to do a basic exercise like the bench press makes it that much more effective because you add in the gripping element. That’s a solid start.
You can also apply the principles of using a thick bar to go beyond the barbell. Try doing your pull-ups on thicker bars, or even off of jungle gyms or ledges.
You may not have noticed but in the upstairs unit of Ivey League we sport a custom made thick style pull up bar that many students put to good use daily.
#2 – Bar hangs
That same thick pull up bar upstairs is also great for another style of grip building, bar hangs.
Hanging from a bar challenges your grip muscles to support the weight of your whole body, as opposed to just a little of it.
That’s why most commercial grippers will never be as good as hanging from a bar, especially a thick bar.
The demand placed on the arms, shoulders, back, and core, from bar hanging unlocks far more than just gripping strength.
It increases overall upper-body power and endurance. For an extra challenge, try hanging with just one hand. It’s not easy I assure you.
Pretty soon you’ll find yourself asking people “How long did you hang for?” rather then “Yo dude How much can you bench press?”
#3 – Fingertip pushups
I don’t use these movements myself but over the years I’ve run into plenty of people who swear by fingertip pushups.
With grip training, you do a lot of grabbing and squeezing. Anything you can do to help in this area is worth trying.
Fingertip push-ups will challenge your extensors, that is the muscles used to open your fingers, as well as the flexors, tendons and other connective tissue.
These movements combined with the exercises I mentioned above, are going to help produce balanced, powerful hands with cut forearms.
Just get ready to work hard. Fingertip push ups are hard as heck.
#4 – Let Daily Life Lend a Helping Hand
Ever trained with a plumber? Did you notice how freaking strong their grips are?! Every now and then take on a task that also serves as a grip builder.
Jobs and activities like chopping wood, carrying odd-shaped objects, moving furniture like a bed, and so on all help contribute to fantastic gains in grip strength.
Work on your grip strength daily and it won’t be long before you see the results. Be sure to try different things/exercises and don’t be afraid to experiment.
Use the world as your playground and training ground. Don’t view it as work but rather as training, and training should be fun right?
I just tossed out a few ideas. You can find plenty more on youtube. Check out the video I posted below.