When most people think of grip training, the image of squeezing grippers comes to mind. This type of training will improve your crush strength but won’t really help if you’re trying to hold onto something while you’re hanging. In fact, there are 3 types of grip strength:

  1. Crush 

  2. This is the grip between your palm and fingers. This is the strength you need to crush someone's hand in a handshake.

  3. Pinch 

  4. This is the grip between your fingers and thumb.

  5. Support 

  6. This is the grip required to hold something for a period of time. Like a deadlift, farmer's walk, pull ups, etc.

So what type of grip training do you do. You can really take two approaches:

  1. 1. Train the types that fit your requirement, like a climber might train for pinch and support. If you want be a Captain of Crush, you’ll be training Crush strength.

  2. 2. Train all types to give you the best allover strength.

So bearing that in mind, here are some sure fire ways to improve your grip:

  1. Farmer’s walk 

  2. With the farmer walk you pick up an object and walk with it for a distance. You can do this with dumbbells, kettlebells, sandbags, etc. When you reach the end, put the weight down and rest, shaking your hands out. Then pick up the weights and walk again. This exercise will build up your grip as well as endurance in your arms. To work your pinch grip at the same time, you can do farmers walk using plates held by pinching them between your thumb and forefinger.

  3. Bottom’s up kettlebell training 

  4. Holding the kettlebell bottoms up forces you to grip the kettlebell harder increasing your grip and forearm strength. Also a kettlebell handle is normally thicker than a dumbbell so you have to use even more grip strength to hold onto it.

  5. Pullups 

  6. Any of the variety of pull ups will work your grip. And if you want to make your grip work even harder, try doing towel pull ups. The thicker grip will force you to work even harder. Alternatively you can do rope pull ups to get a similar effect. You can even do weighted pullups to make it harder still. And lastly, you don’t even have to do pullups, hangs will work your grip as well.

  7. Deadlifts 

  8. Naturally the heavier you go the more grip strength is required. Do these without straps. Change the grip as required and change up what objects you are lifting, don’t just stick to barbells (eg: kettlebells, sandbags, etc). And as with a lot of the other exercises, the thicker the bar, the better it is.

  9. Grippers 

  10. Naturally a great way to train crush strength but don’t rush out and buy the cheap grippers from the local sports store and expect great results. These ones are ok for a warmup but you’ll quickly find that they typically aren’t strong enough to keep up with your training. Look at the heavy duty grippers, like the ones from Captain’s of Crush to keep moving forward.

There are plenty of other ways to improve your grip. Just pick a few exercises and build a program around them. And don’t go crazy rushing into grip training. Build up slowly or you’ll be more susceptible to injury. And enjoy the surprise on your friends faces when you crush their hands in a handshake.

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