3 Ways To Improve Your Grip Strength…Without Actually Training Your Grip…
Looking for ways to improve your grip strength but don’t want to get stuck tacking on a bunch of small hand exercises to the tail end of your workout? Want the hand strength to crush an apple, but you’ve also only got 45 minutes to get this workout in? Maybe you just want a more intimidating handshake for the workplace but are admittedly too lazy for all that “grip training stuff”…
Whatever your reason, here are 3 ways you can improve your grip strength…without actually training your grip…
1. Hold Your Deadlifts
By far the easiest/laziest way to increase your grip strength without even trying is to hold your deadlifts.
First, if you aren’t currently doing deadlifts…start. Second, what do I actually mean by “hold your deadlifts”?
To (pun fully intended) “squeeze” some extra grip gains out of your deadlifts, start focusing more on the way you deadlift. So long as you aren’t deadlifting in straps, you’re going to be training grip simply by deadlifting. The exercise is quite literally just holding onto heavy weight for reps. To add to this already existent grip training, get into the habit of slightly pausing your deadlifts at the top (The same way a powerlifter would show control of their deadlift in competition). Additionally, on the last rep of your last set hold the bar for as long as you possibly can. Just like that, grip training.
It really is that simple. For powerlifters, a slight pause at the top of the rep is required for competitions anyways so might as well start practicing. As for non-competitors this is just a great way for you to emphasize control in your deadlift technique. This is also ensures your grip never becomes a limiting factor for your deadlift. With the additional grip training of the slight pauses, and final hold, your grip strength will progress right along with your overall deadlift strength and you shouldn’t run into dropping any max effort deadlifts because your grip gave out.
Outside of heavy barbell holds from a rack, this is some of the heaviest grip training you can do. However, compared to setting up rack pulls for grip training you won’t be adding any additional time to your workout. You’re already deadlifting, might as well make the most of it.
2. Pull Your Way To Grip Gains
Barbell Rows, Pull-ups, Lat Pull-Downs, Cable Rows, Dumbbell Rows, if you are training your back, you’re training your grip as well.
Once again, much like the deadlift, so long as you aren’t using lifting straps, strong hands and forearms are just necessary to complete basic pulling movements. In fact, a common problem you’ll see for newer lifters is their hands and forearms will be their limiting factor for training these movements.
If you want some bigger forearms or a stronger grip, adding some extra back volume to your workout routine is an easy way to do it.
Extra pulling volume is my go to recommendation for people who really want a strong grip, but get bored by the smaller grip exercises. Training the rolling thunder, or pinching some grip blocks can be a hard sell, especially at the end of an already hard workout. I get it, not the most exciting lift. It’s much easier to get someone excited to hit some heavy rows, or to improve their pull-ups, and whether they know it or not, they are going to be strengthening their grip. The bonus being the stronger a person get’s at certain back exercises the stronger their forearms and hands are going to have to get to adapt to it.
Back tends to be a more neglected training area for people anyways, so the promise of a bit of extra grip strength may be exactly what you need to add a bit more of it into your training.
3. Make Farmers Walks a Staple
Farmer’s walks might be breaking the “no grip exercises” rule of this article. I’m letting it slide though because Farmer’s Walks are THE exercise for anyone in a rush.
There are few exercises that will match the sheer number of muscles you are training at once like you are with some basic heavy farmer’s walks. Upper back, forearms, hands, legs, calves, core, basically everything aside from chest. Not to mention that, depending on how you are training, you may even be able to sneak in a conditioning session as well with these. If you are on a time crunch this is in the running for “most bang for your buck exercises”.
There’s a reason the farmer’s walk get’s brought up so often in the fitness industry. For one, it’s simple. Pick up some heavy weight and go. But two, it’s just a damn good exercise. This is an exercise I recommend simply if you want to be a stronger human overall. The insane grip strength you’ll be able to develop from it is just a bonus.
Farmer’s walks also offer a unique style of grip training compared to other “strictly grip” exercises. Because this is a full body movement, it gets…heavy. Additionally, since you are going to be in motion you will have to make sure you are squeezing with all of your might into the handles, or risk having them shift out of position on you as you go. This is grip training at it’s hardest.