Building Grip Strength (No Weaknesses!)


So maybe your back, your
legs, or anything else is super strong but you just have problems making your hands do what the rest of your body is capable of. Well, today I’m going to show you how to build in grip training with some specific grip movements and some everyday exercises
that everybody uses but you can modify to make them more beneficial to your hand strength. So, starting off with grip strength. How do you build it in? Do you extra exercises or
do you just make exercises modified to make more grip? I have found that most of
the exercises that I use is a modification of an
exercise I’m already doing. For example, we’re going
to do lat pull-downs today. This is the standard grip that
came with the lat pull-down. It’s about 1″, maybe an 1 1/4″ thick. By just getting a set of cheap fat grips and putting it on there, we’ve just turned that handle
into nearly a 3″ diameter, making our fingers and our hands have to work extremely hard
to do the same exercise we were going to do before. So by doing this exercise
with this fat grip, it’s going to make it
way harder on our hands than being able to just
do it with this grip, where I can almost fully close my hand and get my grip all the way around it. This is very minimal arm work. This is maximal handwork,
building up the forearms and the fingers to be super strong. If you’re strong with a fatter grip, when you go to something smaller, your hands are going to be way stronger. Now another big trick is when
you’re doing your dead lifts, there’s a couple of ways that
in the lighter warmup sets, you can make your hands have
to work immensely harder. One is to just use a regular
double overhand grip. So if I go grab this and don’t hook it, my fingers are going to
have to work way harder. But we can take our
thumb around the outside or, even more special, what I learned from a lot of old school
dead lifters back in Indiana, namely Jim Dawson, which is one of the
first guys from Indiana to pull 700 pounds, is pick up your lighter warmup
sets with only a few fingers. So when I was a kid, he
used to make me warm up with 135 up to 275 with
one, two, or three fingers. So what we would do is he would make me, what I call an ET grip,
lift 135 using only fingers. Middle fingers, all kinds
of different fingers styles. What I found was that made
my hands insanely strong and I don’t have really big hands but being able to hold onto multiple 800 pound plus dead lifters, my grip was never an issue. And I think it was
because when I was a kid, I was using one, two, and three fingers to warm up before I
got to my heavier sets. And in rare instances, you might need some specialized equipment. For one, we made this gripper machine and basically what you would do grab the bottom, come to the top, and then just pinch it
closed and let it open slow. The trick is not
necessarily how much weight but doing it slow and controlled. You can see my forearms
really having to work, my fingers getting stretched
and having to squeeze. And you can even do
these as isometric holds if power lifting is your only thing. Remember that strength
is in different ranges by meaning you can have crushing strength and supportive strength. If you’re trying to be a weightlifter, supportive strength and holding isometrics is going to be a better friend to you than crushing strength. So when you do stuff like this, you want to hold for a
second or two at the top, like you’re squeezing a normal barbell. Another thing you can have
is a variety of fat bars. As you can see at Wenning Strength, we make quite a few different ones. And if you look at my pile of bars here, you’re going to see
that almost all of them are fatter handled than
a normal handlebar. This is one of my favorite, the reverse V. This is 2 3/4″ and when I’m doing lat
pull-downs or tricep push-downs, my hand has to be spread open to do so, which is going to make
my hands work way harder while I’m already training back work. So these kinds of bars like this and as you see, they’re smooth. So people ask me all the time Matt, why don’t you
train with a lot of stuff that has knurling? Because I train with a
deadlift bar that has knurling and your hands are only
going to take so much so by training with a smooth bar, you actually have to grip harder. So make sure that a lot of
your bars and your positions are making you do this type of stuff with no knurling so your skin’s
not supporting your hands actually have to squeeze. And that’s another big trick. Train with smooth implements and watch how much stronger you get when you have something that’s coarse. So for most of us, we just don’t have time to add in extra grip training. So how do you do that? You add the grip training into the stuff you’re already doing. Make your handles fatter on
the stuff you’re pulling. On your warmups, on your dead lifts, change it to one, two, or three fingers. And then have maybe some accessory stuff that you do for grip training alone. But in reality, you just
need to add fatter implements to the stuff that you’re already doing.

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