8 Simple Ways To Build A Better Grip

Jim Wendler Deadlifting
  • Do Reps! Not doing reps on pulling exercises, specifically deadlifts and cleans, only made my grip worse. This one change is the simplest and best way to actually get stronger and make progress in your grip (and your deadlift). As soon as I fell for the "singles build strength myth," my grip was 100% sewer filth. Do some reps and build some strength.  If you have a solid training base, a program like Boring But Big will handle this for you.  There are many variations in the Beyond book that you can use.

  • Use A Rope/Towel For Chins. I started doing towel chins in college and this made a huge difference in my pulling strength, grip, and overall strength. To do a towel chin, simply drape two towels over a chin bar, bring the ends together, and twist them. Some people also tape up the ends with athletic tape to give them a place to put the hands. From there, just hang on and pull up. Simple, yes, but not easy to  do – especially if your grip is awful and your bodyweight is 3-oh-Fat.
  • Do Kroc Rows. This has been explained countless times, but if your grip strength sucks, do Kroc rows as part of your assistance program. A Kroc row is nothing more than a high rep, one-arm dumbbell row. Begin with one warm-up set of 10 reps with an easy weight. After that, pick the heaviest weight you can do for 20-50 reps and blast away. Make sure to do both arms. (I suppose that goes without saying but you never know.) Kroc rows will make your grip awesome as well as train your upper back and lats to a great degree.  If you can do more than one set of Kroc Rows, you did NOT do Kroc Rows.  You simply failed to give the right amount of effort. 
  • Use An Overhand Grip. Do your supplemental deadlift sets with an overhand grip.    This modification may limit the amount of weight you can do initially, but your grip will get stronger and adapt.
  • Lose Fat. I don't have the biggest hands in the world but when I got bigger, my palms turned into paws and my fingers became sausages. This killed my grip strength. So if you have small hands and things jiggle when you even THINK about  jogging, you're fat. Lose some fat and get stronger. Your grip – and the  mirror – will thank you.
  • Pull The Sled - hook up a big rope to a sled (I use a thick, 112' rope) and pull the sled hand over hand.  This is great for building your grip and strengthening your arms and back.  Also, hook up a thick "triceps" rope to a sled strap - grab the rope and drag the sled backwards.  This is a great grip developer and makes you actually do something with your grip.
  • Do Pull Ups On A Fat Bar- This is a simple fix for building your grip strength. Let's face it - doing chins or pull ups with a normal bar is sooooo 2000.  And don't take a false grip - wrap that thumb around.  If you don't have access to a fat bar, affix some Fat Gripz to your chin bar.
  • Train With A Fat Bar - this can be done for your main work, your supplemental work and for much of your assistance work.  You can easily do Fat Bar Deads as your supplemental work.  Fat Bar rows, shrugs, and curls will also be great addition.

One of the keys of doing grip work is to make it economical - there is no point in doing direct grip work when you can EASILY add to an exercise you would already be doing. And the BIGGEST excuse is "but I can do more weight if I don't use overhand grip or X". Well, guess what?  If your grip ain't strong, it won't matter what you can tug.  You are simply WEAK.  Get over your own ego and do things right. 

You Might Also Be Interested In Reading:

5 Tips To Increase Your Chins/Pull Ups
Small Changes. Big Impact.
Thought's On Training
Quad Dominant or Hamstring Weak?


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