Grip Strength Like Dad!
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Get Grip Strength Like Your Old Man
Somehow old dudes have meat hooks that are meant to control everyone. Growing up, my dad could just throw his hand on my neck and I’d be immobilized. A lot of grip strength comes from growing up on a farm or even growing up in a city from having long carries with odd objects. Think about your parents making you carry the groceries from the bodega, up a hill, for almost a mile. Can’t help but improve that grip strength over time. Next thing you know, that kid is now a parent and has a ton of grip strength that can apply to anything in their own life.
A lot of grip strength and forearm strength come back from completing a lot of physical labor. Being a mason, working construction, being a mason, or carrying cement blocks for long distances. All of this leads to improved isometric strength. It will also help with explosive strength–think of working with a hammer. The hammer work demands explosive action and it also can ask the joint to rotate.
Use A Rope
One of the best ways to develop an iron claw is to use a rope. At Garage Strength, we use a 2” rope. We love to use the rope attached to a sled for pud pulls. Pud pulls are done with an overhand grip. Do the pull with good wrist and elbow flexion. The hand-over-hand grabbing helps with the explosive grip. The long duration of the pull creates great grip endurance as well.
No rope? Use the fat part of the dumbbell and complete curls to blow up the forearms.
Use A Towel
Another way to train isometric grip strength involves using a towel. For combat sports like MMA, jiu-jitsu, or wrestling (even football), grip strength is important. Hang a towel that can hold your body weight over a pull-up bar. The isometric part comes from gripping the towel. The pull-up will naturally target the biceps and lats. The towel grip pull-up will help with the clinch in Muay Thai as well.
Fat Grips, Long Duration
A key aspect of training your grip to be more explosive and have strength endurance is to do long-duration sets. Putting some fat grips on a T-bar row can go a long way to do sets of 20 to 30 reps to focus on the isometric holding of the thumbs squeezing every single finger. We will also have elbow flexion and get a big row from the lats.
The cool thing is, that as the grip starts to fatigue, the body will recruit more high threshold motor units from other muscles, particularly the lats. So not only will our grip strength improve, but so will our lat strength.
One of the best ways to train is through pre-fatigue. I like to use pre-fatigue techniques for the forearms. Doing PowerLastic band rotations work great. To do the PowerLastic band rotations, drop down to the bottom of a squat. Have the PowerLastic band under both feet and grip an end of the band with each hand. With the elbows resting on the knees, simply rotate the wrists out, back to center, and out again. The forearm will move from the elbow as well. Do this for at least 30 reps before going to complete walking hammer curls.
With the forearms already being blown up from the PowerLastic band rotations, the walking hammer curls function like a farmer’s carry with a hammer curl. The biceps and forearms get lit up. It is okay to cheat performing the hammer curl; the walk lends itself to not doing the movement super strict.
Plate flips are some of the best things that can be done to improve explosive grip strength. One unique way to go about it is holding a plate isometrically in one hand while flipping the plate with the other. In this way, you can go back and forth. It will lead to isometric strength improvement as well as being explosive while fatigued.
There is another opportunity to use a post-fatigue technique here as well. After the plate flips, we can focus on wrist flexion and do barbell flappers. At the bottom of a squat, put the forearms on the top of the legs, grab a barbell, and flex the wrists up to get a nice pump in the forearms after training them explosively.
Old people have years and years of labor and mental fortitude built up to improve their overall grip. Fortunately, we know the power of grip work and grip strength; grip strength can even help predict overall health and longevity. Doing grip work once or twice a week to improve overall grip strength is a great way to enhance grip strength, enhance forearm hypertrophy, and probably even improve your quality of life.
Yo, It's Dane
Welcome to the Garage Strength Blog, where it is my goal to provide you with the experience and knowledge I've gained in the strength and conditioning world over many years of learning from both successes and failures. I train elite-level athletes in a multitude of sports from the high school to professional levels, already producing 5 Olympics and 30+ National Champions. If you want to be the next champion I train, check out my strength programs below!
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