Straight to the Bar

All Things Strength


Making Your Own Gym Equipment : DIY Grip Tools
Posted By Scott Bird
Wide Plate Pinch

Wide Plate Pinch.

This month, Run To Win and Straight to the Bar will be looking at the many possibilities when it comes to home-made training equipment. To kick things off, I’ll be investigating several ways to keep your hands and forearms in great condition – DIY Grip Tools.
As you may have gathered, I love home-made exercise equipment. This is perhaps most evident when it comes to grip training – definitely a passion. Here, then, are instructions for making your own hand, wrist and grip tools.

Hands and fingers

If you’ve ever watched a rock climber at work – or performed a bit of climbing yourself – you’ll appreciate just how strong the hands and fingers need to be. Accordingly, several items from climbers’ training routines are featured here. Enjoy.

Campus board

Invented by Wolfgang Güllich, the Campus board is a superb piece of training equipment. The video shows it in action; Metolius is definitely the place to go when it comes to making one. Full instructions on construction and use – and they’ll even sell you the stuff if needed.

Rice and a bowl

This is about as simple as it gets. Rice digs are a great way to toughen up your fingers and hands, and make use of equipment you’ve already got in the kitchen. Grab a large bowl, half fill it with rice; plunge your hands in. Repeat.

Note : if the rice doesn’t present enough of a challenge, try using sand, lead shot or any other cheap, granular material. Oh, and don’t be tempted to eat the stuff afterwards.

Grip strength

Softball Implement

Recently Jedd showed how to make a softball grip implement. Cheap, simple and quick to make. Perfect.


Ever tried holding a pile of bricks by pinch-gripping the bottom one? Ironmind’s Stacker performs the same task; letting you adjust the weight easily in small increments. If your welding skills are OK, knock up your own. This video shows a home-made version in action.

Horizontal Pinch Device

In last year’s home-made equipment competition, Chris Rice came up with a brilliantly simple way of training the pinch grip. Superb idea.

Loadable plates

Wide pinch plates

Wide pinch plates.

This surely rates as the simplest piece of grip equipment I’ve ever constructed; consisting solely of two nuts, two bolts and a length of chain (perhaps 2′ or 3′).
One end of the chain is looped through a plate, and ‘tied off‘ using one of the nut+bolt pairs. The other end of the chain is passed through another plate, and held there using the second nut+bolt. The picture at the top of this article show it in use.


Wrist Roller

Wrist Roller

Wrist Roller.

This was one of the first pieces of equipment I made when I started working out. Although there are several variations possible, the rack-mounted version over on Dave Draper’s site is perhaps my favourite.




Clubs are great things. Although they’re one of the few items I tend to buy rather than make, there have been several attempts at constructing the perfect home-made equivalent.
Top of the list is Fightraining’s sand-filled approach. Details here. An alternative is demonstrated in the video below.




Although it isn’t always regarded as a piece of grip equipment, there’s no doubt that a dose of sandbag training will put your fingers, hands and forearms to the test. Of course there are several ways to construct these; here’s how I make mine.




If you happen to have a fitness ball lying around, here’s a great use for it. Over to Ross Enamait.

Altering existing equipment

Fattened Bar

Fattened Bar.

One of the quickest ways to alter your existing equipment – so as to increase the level of grip work involved – is to fatten up the handles. This has an instant impact, and applies to dumbbell and barbell handles, and chinning bars.
To see just one way to do this, take a look at my own fattened-up chinning bar. Good fun.
Of course there are many, many other ways to enhance your grip training. What are some of your favourite pieces of home-made grip equipment?

Over to you. Drop us a line on Twitter ( @scottbird ), or add a comment below.



NB : if you love talking about strength-training as much as I do, you might also like to check out the weekly newsletter (there's also a daily version available). A regular dose of fitness-focussed discussions, absolutely free.



  1. Monday, 4 Oct 2021 – Strength & Fitness Newsletter - […] Gem From The Vault : Making Your Own Gym Equipment – DIY Grip ToolsScott Andrew Bird | Follow @scottbirdBuild…

Leave a Reply

What's This?

Straight to the Bar is the online home of fitness enthusiast Scott Bird, and looks at the many training approaches, essential techniques, uncommon exercises and superb equipment to help you become as strong as humanly possible. In short, this site is the home of all things strength.

images of strength


Want to see (and learn) more Feats of Strength like this? Dive in.

Just Joined Us? Try These.

There are some incredible writers on the team here. To give you an idea, check these out :

If you enjoyed these, check out the complete ‘Best Of Straight to the Bar‘ list. Fantastic.

setting up a home gym?

If you’re getting ready to put together a solid Home Gym (fantastic thing), here’s how.

For more, swing by the full guide. Absolutely free.

And of course, you’ll find everything you need over in the SttB Strength Store. Massive range.

Ever Tried Kettlebells?

If you’ve seen people using them but never taken the plunge yourself, here are the ones I use personally. You can also pick up a book/DVD/course if you want to learn how to put them to work.

Ready To Learn Even More?

I love learning new skills, and the many seminars & workshops available are a great way to do that. If you’re looking for a specific type of workshop nearby, check out the ones on Dragon Door. Great mix of kettlebell and calisthenics-based offerings.

The Precision Nutrition Certification Program

The Precision Nutrition Certification Program

The Precision Nutrition Certification Program.

If you’re a fitness professional and love the Precision Nutrition approach, check out their certification offering. To say it’s comprehensive is an understatement.

Wherever You Are, We Are.

In addition to the main site, you can share your strength-training passion with a like-minded community on :

Wherever you like to hang out, get your regular dose of strength. Straight to the Bar.

Written By Scott Bird
Scott is a long-time fitness enthusiast (Jan 2004!), writer and photographer living in Sydney, Australia. If you share the passion for spending a bit of time under a bar, welcome. Love hearing how everyone else trains. You can connect via X (Formerly Twitter), Facebook and the various networks listed in the sidebar.
Drawing of Scott Andrew Bird performing a deadlift. Artwork by Vince Palko.