You’re on the last 3 reps and you can feel the bar slowly dropping from your fingers, you have to put the weight down, adjust yourself and go again.
This is very common, but I apreciate it’s also very frustrating. If it wasn’t for my grip failing me I would have gotten a 130kg rackpull that time. As easy as the weight felt to lift my grip just couldn’t handle it.
Here are my best tips for developing your grip strength.
1. Weighted carries.
The number one tip I can give you to help improve your grip strength is to do weighted carries. Grab a couple of dumbbells and go for a walk! This seems like a pretty easy task itself but if your usuing the correct weight it will be a huge challenge. See how far you can get without having to drop the weight and try and increase this every time, eventually adding more weight. Or you can time yourself and see how long you can hold a pair of dumbbells for, if you’re lasting for a minute or more then the weight is too light and won’t be challenging your grip enough.
2. Take some weight off.
There isn’t a more obvious way to improve your grip strength other than actually doing the exercise. If your grip lets you down on a deadlift, drop the weight down to something you can do for around 10-12 reps. Like any other exercise, the last couple of reps should be hard, if they’re not then the weight isn’t quite heavy enough. Add some more and try again. Your grip is determined by the strength in the muscles so it makes sense to treat them like any other muscle you train in the gym.
3. Ditch the gloves.
If a client turns up wearing gloves, the first thing I do is ask them to take them off. Whilst I understand that you may think they’re going to help you grip better becuase they have that funny texture and pads on the palm area, they actually hinder the development of your grip strength. The hands (and feet) are contact points, everytime you touch or hold something it send signals to your brain. By putting on gloves when you lift, you are stopping these signals from happening. Thus making your grip strength develop much much slower.
4. Work on the weaknesses.
Unless you are going into competition where straps are allowed, use them as little as possible. By using them you are relying on them and not your grip. Some competitions allow them, a lot of strongman does for deadlifts, however most of you are not training to compete. In this case, get rid of the straps and wrist wraps and start working on the muscles in the forearms, wrists and hands.
5. Use grip builders.
Buy yourself some Fat Gripz. These are designed to help develop grip strength by increasing the thickness of the bar, similar to the diameter of a strongman axle barbell. you can wrap things around the bar as well, as long as they’re not likely to slip. You will notice you will have to drop the weight significantly when using these. But they are a great addition to your gym bag.
7. Hang around.
Yes… literally! Hang off a pull up bar and holdon for as long as you can. Make sure you squeeze the bar rather than just dangle from your finger tips. Wrap your thumbs around and tuck them underyour finger tips. Time yourself and try and increase it every time.