The Grip & Strength Connection

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Grip training isn’t something that you see many people focusing on, but truth be told having a strong grip correlates with systemic strength.

And any time we can add a “grip component” to an otherwise basic exercise we effectively increase the number of motor units that are activated.

Moreover, many will experience added size to their biceps when they introduce a small dose of grip training into their routine.

It makes sense considering the functional anatomy whereby an increased demand on the forearms will result in more recruitment of the biceps group.

But you don’t need to dedicate a full day to grip training – a few common exercises that you’re likely already performing with a new twist will go a long way.

For CrossFitters having a strong grip is key, but even if general fitness is your goal grip work should make a regular appearance in your training.

Grip Standards

One standard we’ve come up with that we’ve found to be a relatively accurate test of grip strength consists of pinching two plates together – for men two iron 25s and ladies two iron 10s + 2.5 plate.

The standard is holding for a 5 ONE-THOUSAND in each hand. While both are tough, they are very reasonable if you’re someone that deadlifts regularly.

#5 Fat Grip Pull-ups

First, you’ll need to already be proficient with regular pull-ups (10+ strict reps in the tank) before leveling up the grip demand.

For many simply adding “fat gripz” will turn this into an entirely new challenge (shown using Fat Gripz Xtreme.)

Accumulate 25-30 total reps

#4 Fat Grip Row Variations

Be prepared to use less loading than you’d normally use. You may be thinking, ‘if I’m using less load will the exercise coincide with my level of strength and produce a training effect?’

Yes, and likely you’ll exercise more of a training effect because most people go TOO heavy with their rows – I almost always feel my lats more when I drop the load.

Moreover, the challenge to your forearms is legit!

4-5 x 8-10 each

#3 Pinch Grip Farmer Carry

We already know the traditional farmer carry done with heavy dumbbells or kettlebells is the ultimate grip smoker (we are already assuming you’re performing those – if you’re not check this article out here), but changing it up from time-to-time is never a bad thing.

The pinch grip version will be more demanding on your digits – that’s right your fingers which is another area of low-hanging fruit for most individuals.

3-4 sets of 50-100 ft.

#2 Behind The Back Wrist Curls

A little direct forearm work will go a long way if you’re already performing the aforementioned exercises.

And you certainly don’t need to spend more than a few minutes here either so this work can easily be added to the end of your routine a few times a week.

3 sets x burn

#1 Fat Bar Reverse Curls With A Tempo

If you don’t have access to a fat bar, your fat gripz will work well here too. This is one of my favorite ‘kill two birds with one stone’ exercises where you’ll experience a sick pump in your forearms and biceps.

You can go the extra length and add a tempo for increased grip demand on both the concentric and eccentric phases.

3-4 x 8-10 @3030


You don’t have to re-write your training plan to include grip training and by making these simple changes you’ll experience new strength & size gains.

But before you go adding fat grips to everything, don’t forget that there will still be times when increasing grip demand may not be the goal so don’t add them to every single barbell or dumbbell exercise!

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