For many, grip strength is a limiting factor. Though many guys are strong overall and can lift impressive weights, their grip is often the first to give out.
Walk into most gyms, and you’ll see dozens of people who use lifting straps, even on exercises where they shouldn’t – such as the pull-up.
But lifting straps and hooks are only useful for masking the problem, like putting a bandage on a wound. You need to work on improving your grip strength, not masking it through hooks or straps.
Here are three great exercises.
1. Farmer’s Walk
The farmer’s walk is one of the simplest movements you can do, but its benefits are many. Holding and carrying heavy weights strengthens and develops your grip, but it also trains the rest of your body.
Improving your ability to grip, hold, and carry heavy weights is going to translate to every other lift you’re doing at the gym – be it a deadlift, pull-up, or shrug.
2. Plate Pinch
To perform the plate pinch, grab two or more metal plates with the smooth sides out and pinch them for as long as you can.
It’s better to start with lighter, thinner plates such as five or ten-pound ones. Over time, you can work your way up to 1-minute holds with 3-4 ten-pounders, 2 25-pounders, or even 5+ 5-pounders.
3. Dead Hang
Having to hold your body weight from a bar is a great way yo train your grip strength if you don’t have much special equipment. Though it might sound easy enough at first, hold yourself from a bar for a minute and talk to me then.
This is one of the best grip-strengthening exercises for most folks precisely because it directly translates to core exercises like the pull-up, chin-up, muscle-up, and many row variations.