How To Improve Your Grip

A picture of a hand closing a metal gripper.

I want to improve my grip.

This is always one of the common responses I get when I ask wrestlers what their lifting goals are.

So I wanted to take this opportunity to detail a number of ways you can add functional grip strengthening to your lifting program.

First off, I do want to say that even though I don’t write about it on my blog often, I think there is some value in direct grip work. I even include some exercises in my Wrestler Strength System eBook.

However, I definitely think that from a functional standpoint, using grip implements and working them in to your pulling exercises is going to carry over the best.

Why?

Think about it- you’re never just trying to grab and hold your opponent.

You’re looking to get a good grip on him (collar tie, Russian, wrist control, etc.) and then move him. And usually when you try to move him you’re pulling him.

So, rather than perform pulling exercises and then grip exercises, I’ve found that performing them together makes more sense.

Anyway, I’ll now go into detail on how you can better challenge your grip while performing the exercises in your strength training program.

DB Row and Curl Press

The Fat Gripz are super easy to use. Simply open them up:

A picture of a blue Fat Gripz being opened by a left hand to show how they function.

And place them over any handle (in this case a dumbbell handle).

A picture of a blue Fat Gripz on a 70 pound dumbbell.

From there perform the exercise.

Here are some various DB Rows.

I don’t use the last version often. I just included it as part of a “progression video” for a client.

And here’s a video of a Curl Press.

Sometimes I’ll rotate the dumbbells for the press (as shown).

Sometimes I just do a Hammer Curl and Neutral Grip Press.

I don’t think over-analyzing this lift is important. It’s just a good, compound lift.

Weighted or Grip Chinup

Using something to challenge your grip when doing chinups/pullups is a must.

If you’re a monster, you can add weight to increase the difficulty.

The two best ways to do this are to hang a Jiu Jitsu Gi over the top of a rack (shown below), or put the Fat Gripz on the chinup bar (not shown, but same procedure as above).

A picture of a white Jiu Jitsu Gi hanging from the top of a power rack.

You can also use a rope…and you can get crazy with it like I show in this old video:

This is one of my old clients who was preparing for the Cadet Pan-Am Tournament.

Other Examples

You can also hang a Gi or attach the Fat Gripz to nearly any attachment to a cable machine:

A picture of 2 blue Fat Gripz on a wide grip pulldown bar on a cable pulldown machine.

A picture of a white Jiu Jitsu Gi draped over a wide grip pulldown bar on a cable pulldown machine.

I’ve spent over a thousand dollars on a Fat Bar and various Fat Bar cable attachments. I haven’t looked at the price of the Fat Gripz recently, but I can’t imagine they’re over $50.

Also, on a quick side note- while you can use towels, I highly suggest a getting a Jiu-Jitsu Gi. I’ve been using the one I bought years ago and there are no signs of tears.

I just did a quick search on eBay and found many options below $35. So check that out or just search for “cheap Jiu-Jitsu Gis” on Google.

Just be sure you specify Jiu-Jitsu because many types of martial arts use Gis. In fact, the first one I used was a light weight Karate Gi from college.

Needless to say, the poor light weight Karate Gi was torn up within a few months.

Conclusion

In a nutshell the idea is to either:

A) Increase the thickness of the bar you’re holding on to (Fat Gripz, Grip 4orce, PVC pipe, wrapping a towel around, etc.)

OR

B) Use material that makes it harder to grip (Gi, towel, shirt, rope, etc.)

Really it’s just about being creative and working with what you have.

So start giving these options a shot in your program and let me know how it goes.

A picture of Kyle Dake and Dickie White.
Hi, I’m Dickie (the author of this blog). Here I am with my good buddy, Kyle Dake. While he doesn't have a nice coat like me, he is pretty good at wrestling. Here's what he said about my training system:

Before I began lifting using Dickie's system my wrestling skills were getting slightly better. I've now been lifting under his guidance for more than 5 months and I have begun to dominating ALL of my competition. At first I had little faith in Dickie and his program, but now I would run into a wall if he told me I would get stronger! I know it sounds insane, but I would. The bottom line is Dickie is an expert and knows what he is talking about. If you want to defeat those kids whom you've always lost to and reach a level you never thought possible, I suggest you start lifting using Dickie's system immediately.

-Kyle Dake, 4X NCAA Division 1 National Champion
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Want to see what other wrestlers are saying about my training system? Check out my Success Stories page.

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Want to learn more about Dickie? Check out my About page.

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Want to get started on a program today? Read this post and download your free program- 12 Week Training Program For Wrestlers.

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