Serra BJJ brown belt and strength expert Billy Hofacker reveals the best ways to strengthen your forearms, wrists, and hands without the use of fancy grip strength equipment:
Forearm, wrist, and hand strength are crucial to the success of a combat athlete. Strength in these areas will allow you to crush your opponent when grappling. You will also be able to hit hard when boxing with a lower risk of injuring your wrist or hand.
New grip strength equipment is constantly being invented and marketed to combat athletes and others who desire a strong grip. The truth is that it doesn’t really matter which tools you use. The muscles that you use for gripping don’t know the difference between a $200 piece of grip strength equipment and towel used to hang and do pull-ups from.
Consider performing some of these exercises 2-3 times per week:
Crushing grip strength exercises-This is the type of strength someone with a very firm hand shake has.
Example: Squeezing a tennis ball-While this is very basic, it’s a great place to start if you are new to gripping exercises. It’s also one of the cheapest pieces of grip strength equipment.
Example: Plate pinch grips-Take two weight lifting plates and position them so the smooth sides are facing out. Pinch the plates together without letting them slip. Hold for a given amount of time. Start with lighter plates (2.5-10) and work your way up to heavier (25 or higher) ones.
Example: Farmers Walk-Hold a dumbbell or other heavy object in each hand and travel a distance holding onto the objects. For more effectiveness, increase the diameter of the object (use a thicker handle or wrap w/ a towel).
Towel or gi pull-ups-Simply perform a pull-up but instead of hanging from a bar, hang from a towel or gi
- Squeezing tennis ball-2 min.
- Finger tip pushup*10
- Knuckle pushup*10
- Wrist curl*10
Repeat 3 times
Or you can pick 3-4 exercises and perform 3 sets each before moving to the next exercise. Try to include the different types of gripping strength throughout the week. Also, some of the workouts can be more intense than others (heavier weight, more reps, longer holds, etc.).
Don’t forget the Principle of Specificity
The ultimate piece of strength training equipment is the one you use for what you are actually trying to get better at. The Principle of Specificity states that if you want to get better at something, do that thing.
For example: if you want stronger grips for gi grappling, then practice grapping with the gi, etc
Now get your simple grip strength equipment and get to gripping!