Post originally published by GS MAG and appeared HERE.
Grip strength is just about the most important thing to gain for grappling and other combat sports. Without it, an opponent can constantly break away and, in turn, dictate the fight from there. So here are four ways a person can build their grip strength effectively.
- Lift Heavy Things
This is one of the best things you can do for your grips, but it seems to also be one of the most often overlooked (especially by average BJJ practitioners who are notorious for not wanting to lift weights). However, getting under the bar is one of the best grip exercises out there. Deadlifts, cleans, bent rows, snatches and bicep curls are some of the most effective for building that grip strength. By doing these, you are forcing your hands to hold onto something heavy for a few moments. In all honesty, a person can lift more weight with their hands than an opponent can generate in trying to break grips.
- Specialized Grip Exercises
This may seem obvious to some Jiu-Jitsu practitioners, but again, it’s still really a niche market among grapplers. There are such things as Jits Grips, and they have become rather popular recently. If a person uses them with the resistance band that they come with, they will gain some strength in their grips, but it’s going to top out rather quickly. People who get really serious about it attach them to chains and do heavy lifts and pulls with them. However, I find Maximus Kimonos Sleeve Grippers to be more effective. They are built to wrap around just about anything and can be used for lifts, but the best way to use them is for Farmer Walks because it builds the grip strength and endurance needed in grappling.
- Hit the Mats
Obviously, if one constantly practices their grappling art, they will find that their grip strength will naturally improve over time. I don’t believe this to be the fastest way to build grips. For many people, this will only improve them gradually, and minimally. Unless a person competes incredibly often, they will not recognize the strength they are lacking in grips. My second competition is when I realized that I needed to do something about my grips. By the end of my first match that day, my forearms were completely burned out and I couldn’t even open my own water bottle. If a person is to completely rely on their time on the mats for improving grips, they are going to need to spend an incredible amount of time there, and an incredible amount of time just trying to hold onto someone.
- Bodyweight Exercises
The best ways to use bodyweight as a grip builder are pulls. For example, pull-ups. A person can traditionally change their grips on the pull-up bar (wide grip, close grip, etc.), but they can incorporate some non-traditional grips as well, such as a half grip (using fingers only on the bar, no thumbs, creating a partial grip). Rope climbs are also an incredible grip builder and should be done when possible. The last bodyweight exercise for grips is the pushup. However, the person performing the pushup ought to try to “grab” a handful of earth under their hands as they perform a pushup. This will force the forearms to work overtime and will ultimately improve grip strength.