Get a Grip

by: Josh Bryant

Interview with world-renowned grip expert, Joe Musslewhite 

A strong grip and well-developed forearms do more than just twist lids off pickle jars.

A strong grip will aid you in golf, a pugilistic battle at the Cairo Fish Market or any athletic endeavor in between. Furthermore, frequently in strength training, the grip is the weakest link!

The naive solution offered by self-proclaimed strength messiahs and Web gurus is “ditch the wrist straps” on all exercises. While this may improve grip strength it means sacrificing the effectiveness of other exercises; shrugs are performed to work your traps and rows to work your back, so wearing straps make sense to maximally overload these muscles. 

The best way to build a strong grip is to directly train it in a highly-specific matter! 

I consulted world-renowned grip expert and ISSA certified trainer, Joe Musselwhite, on how to best do this while adding minimal time to your existing training regimen.

Joe advises implementing the following five strategies to accomplish this.

  1.  At the end of any movement, squeeze the bar as hard as humanly possible for six to eight seconds. Do this toward the end of your workout. Three to five sets of these full-effort squeezes are plenty. 
  2. Do three sets of Farmer’s Walks with dumbbells for 15-30 seconds; for a more intense stimulus, Joe advises using Fat Gripz or even a towel.
  3. Start taking your plates back and forth to the weight trees by grasping two plates at a time with smooth sides out for a great workout for the thumb flexors. Joe emphasized thumb strength is the centerpiece to overall grip strength!
  4. At the end of a training session, before putting the plates up, perform static holds with two plates. They may be 25s, 10s, 5s, 2.5s — scale according to your strength level at the time. Perform three sets of static plate pinch for maximum time.
  5. Deadlift overhand holds for three sets of 15 seconds.  Using a double overhand grip in a locked out deadlift position, slowly let the barbell roll down to just short of your finger tips and statically hold this position for 15 seconds.

You now are empowered how to build a grip like a vice without sacrificing the effectiveness of traditional exercises or adding time on to your session.

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