Intro to Grip Training

I have had questions lately on how to get started with grip training. I am not an expert by any stretch but have had some experience now under my belt and wanted to share. I tend to do lots of research(geek out) on subjects that interest me and grip training seems to always  be at the top of the list. Awhile back I was a bit bored with my training and really started to train my grip. I looked forward to getting my workout over so I could get to grip training! It gave me a new spark, helped me hit PRs, increased my strength and added muscle. Here are 3 lifts that will hit almost everything you need and hopefully kick-start your grip training addiction.

First lets talk “why grip”?
We use our hands for literally everything we do. The brain thinks our hands are pretty darn important. Why? Survival…Can’t eat, hunt, fight, work, etc.

Should be leg day for this guy!

This model shows what a man’s body would look like if each part grew in proportion to the area of the cortex of the brain concerned with its movement

So for us, stronger hands = stronger body! Do you miss reps on lifts because of your grip? Sets of Deadlifts cut short, or sets of swings/snatches had to be stopped early cause your grip or forearms are gassed out?(but not your body) Does your grip impact the sport you play? The list goes on and on. Here are a few starting lifts to get you some essential pinching, crushing and support work for your grip. Programing reps and sets will be at the bottom of the post.

Typically the weakest link is the thumb. So lets pinch something.

One-Hand and Two-Hand Plate Pinch

Smooth sides out-1 hand pinch

Thumb on one side fingers on the other, smooth side out. Dig the plate deep into your hand and pinch.
-Start with 2 5lb or 2 10lb.
-Perform Deadlifts for reps
-Can also hold for time
-To easy, add another 5lb or 10lb plate so 3 or even 4!

Work up to 2 25lb plates, or 35′s or 45′s!

Smooth sides out- 2 hand pinch

Thumbs on one side fingers on the other, smooth side out. Dig the plates deep into your hands and pinch.

-Start with 2 25lb or 2 35lb plates
-Perfom Deadlifts for reps
-Can do holds for time

Work up to 2 45lb plates!

Grippers (Crushing)
This is what most people think of when they think grip training. Get yourself a gripper or 2 and start closing(not the ones at Target). Here is a great site(Grippersuperstore) with fast shipping. I suggest if you are new to go with  Iron Minds Captian of Crush Trainer or #1 for men, Guide or Sport for the ladies.


There are many ways to set the gripper, for now get used to driving it deep into your hand using your other thumb and fingers. Push the gripper deep into the pocket with the other hand

Think of pulling your thumb across(reach!) and hooking it over your index finger to help you close the handles together.

This takes practice just like anything else, really work on getting a good set and getting those handles to touch.

Thick Bar Work (Support)
If you don’t have a thick bar or don’t want to spend the cash on one. Get some Fatgripz
Keep in mind you will not be able to use the same weight you would typically train with if you make the handle thicker…adjust according.

Thick Bar to go

You can do so much with these. They can easily fit in a gym bag, travel etc. Start using these for any Barbell or Dumbbell work. Here are just some suggestions.
-Barbell Deadlifts, Bench, Rows
-Dumbbell Curls, Rows, Deadlifts, Pressing, Cleans, Loaded Carries
-Pull up bars, Lat pull downs, you get the idea.

Programing and Tips:
-I suggest doing grip training after your workout. Hands are good and warmed up and it won’t impact your strength training.
-Follow the 3-5 rule here. 3-5 days a week, 3-5sets x 3-5reps for a given lift. Less is more especially  if you are just starting out.
-Pick one lift per training session. Monday(Crush), Wednesday(Pinch), Friday(Support)
-Use Chalk
-Becareful with your thumbs, they can be tender and weak. Start don’t want a thumb injury…takes forever to heal.
-Have fun! Grip training is addicting and the gains happen fast.

Some Experts in this field.
John Brookfield
David Horne
Adam Glass
Jedd Johnson
StrongerGrip -awesome grip products!

Questions, comments, or want more ideas let me know

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9 Comments on “Intro to Grip Training”

  1. Sean A
    October 29, 2011 at 12:27 am #

    Another great post Kevin! Keep em coming!


  2. bencrush
    October 29, 2011 at 9:18 am #

    Great post Kevin! With the massive variety of grip training implements and techniques it’s almost harder to narrow it down than it is to get someone started. Well done!

  3. Kevin Knapp
    October 29, 2011 at 12:48 pm #

    Thanks Sean and Ben!
    I agree Ben, even I get confused at times on what to do, work on. Always better to keep it simple.

  4. Jedd
    October 31, 2011 at 10:03 am #


    Great post brother.


    • Kevin Knapp
      October 31, 2011 at 11:30 am #

      Thanks man! Appreciate you reading and all you do in the Grip world!

  5. Aleks
    December 4, 2011 at 3:31 pm #

    Awesome post, man!



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