I’ve never really considered by grip strength too much until recently. After thinking about it a bit more, it’s always been a limiting factor in my deadlifts, rows and other exercises that require strong hands and forearms. Grip strength of course is important in everyday life and we can all benefit from having stronger hands. Try these 5 ways to improve grip strength to improve your strength in and out of the gym.
Ways to Improve Grip Strength
1. Farmer Walks
There’s not too much you need to know for farmer walks. Grab some heavy weights or kettlebells and start walkin’. It’s important to maintain good posture while performing this exercise. Keep your eyes on the horizon, chest up and shoulders back. Try starting with as heavy of weight as you can maintain proper posture with and walk until you grip starts to give out. Rest and repeat. Try adding these to your routine a few times per week.
2. Towel Hangs and Pull-Ups
Throw two towels over a pull-up bar, grab onto one towel with each hand and and see how long you can hold on for. Hold as long as you can, rest and repeat for 4 or 5 sets. If you can, add a pull-up in. You can also make this a towel grip inverted bodyweight row by setting a smith machine bar about waist height, coming under it and grabbing the bar with your legs extended out in front of you. Pull your chest up to the bar and slowly slower back down. (See photo below.)
3. Deadlift Heavy
Deadlift often and heavy gripping the bar as hard as you can. Try switching up your grips from underhand to overhand, and a mixed grip.
4. Pull More, Pull Heavy
Add lots of pulling exercises to your workout program. Try bent-over dumbbell rows, barbell rows, t-bar rows, lat pull downs, pull-ups, seated rows and any other exercise that requires a pulling motion. Lift as heavy as you can maintain proper form with and practice gripping the dumbbell or barbell as hard as you can.
5. Fat Bars
Wrap a towel around any barbell or dumbell you’re training with so it makes a ‘fatter’ bar to hold onto. Try this with walking dumbbell lunges, 1-arm dumbbell rows or barbell rows to work the muscles in the hands and forearms and really challenge your grip.
Regularly add these grip-builders to your program and you should see improvement in as little as two weeks. Since adding more farmer walks and bar hangs to my workouts over the last 3 weeks, I’ve already seen an improvement in strength and endurance.