Grip Strength - Where Is It?

There's a great reason for doing some serious grip work.


Double rope work
Zach at the Underground Gym.
The typical gym is often packed with machines. The lifters kill the pulldowns, rows and chins using straps on every set, including their 100 lb warm up sets.

Grip strength is not thought about, pumping the forearms is done half heartedly with some light wrist curls...maybe.

With serious lifters leaving the fancy gyms and opting for their garage, basement or backyard - grip strength is becoming a serious focus.


It's becoming serious because these undergrounders realize that weak hands are related to a weak man. If you wanna lift big, the hands must be strong and they must be trained....HARD.

The earlier in the game you start, the better off you will be.

I learned this big time after I met Steve Maxwell for the first time. He told me that when his son was 4, he hung a rope from the ceiling so his son would have to climb up and down the rope to go upstairs rather than using the stairs.

At the time, Steve's son was a teen and he told me that his son had much larger hands than his own, which led to his feelings that the training of hands - especially at a young age - can help mold the hands into more than what they were predisposed to.

Today, in my gym, there are no straps to aid in the grip. There is lots of rope climbing, rope training (attached to sleds, kettlebells, battling ropes, tug of war), thick handled devices and all around emphasis on hand strength.


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There is nothing fancy about it, and 1 - 2 x week our athletes hit some dedicated hand and grip work. The typical exercises:

Still, the workouts themselves are always chipping away at grip and hand strength. Lots of pull ups, rope climbs, kettlebell work, sandbag work, thick bar training and the like.

It's very much like the artist who chips away for long days and months at the large stone, until eventually the masterpiece is created.

We take the same approach to training the hands and grip. Chipping away at each workout with 1 or 2 dedicated grip workouts at the end of a workout each week.

The bottom line? Chip away every day, the powerful grip and crushing hand strength will come. Dedication and hard work will take you further than anything fancy.


Zach Even-Esh

Zach Even - Esh is a Strength & Performance Coach located in Edison, NJ & is the owner of The Underground Strength Gym. Zach co authored the ebook 'Grip Experts' and hosts the most passionate show dedicated to old school strength training which can be found at Underground Strength Show.

You'll also find him on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Youtube and Google+.

And, of course, in Gymchat 217 - Underground Strength Training . Great conversation.



Like this? Check out :

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This month's collaboration with Run to Win's Blaine Moore - Things which deserve more attention - continues with a look at one of my favourite areas of training, the forearms.

DIY Equipment Ideas.

Stuck for ideas? Try these.

The Home Gym 2007.

Wonderful place to train.

Grip Training - Lifting the Inch Replica Dumbbell II.

Preparing to lift this strange beast.

TGIF : Weekly Round-Up (WE Fri 8 Feb 08).

Another incredibly wet and stormy week here at Straight to the Bar. Still bunkered down in the home gym.



Of course, if you enjoyed these, I'd highly recommend grabbing the Strength & Fitness Newsletter. Delivered weekly, and absolutely free.

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NB : If you'd like to write a guest post for Straight to the Bar - I love hearing how other people are training - get in touch. If you've got a fitness competition or seminar coming up, add it to the calendar.

Look forward to hearing from you.


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