Murph’s Top 4 Grip Exercises-With Videos

Who wants another Grip article?
Here you go.

I’ve written about Grip training many times over the years and I am doing it again because it is probably the most overlooked aspect of training.
But it should not be.

A strong grip is your link to the bar.

Or your bat, stick, racket, or opponent.
Not only is a strong grip your link to the bar but it is a spot where you can lose a lot of power and control over whatever you are doing. Increasing grip strength is never a bad idea and it doesn’t require specialty equipment, but if it is in your budget, buy some now.
Added bonus: It’s fun!
Let’s look at the different components of Grip Strength before we move on.
Typically, when discussing Grip Strength people list three types:

  • Crushing
  • Pinching
  • Supporting

There is a fourth, extension.
Let’s not neglect wrist strength either.
Let’s review each one briefly:

Crushing Grip:

This is best described using an example, remember in Jaws when Quint crushed the Narraganset can?
That was badass because those cans were thick. Not like the cans today, and I’m pretty sure Robert Shaw used a prop can. I recall seeing guys do it when I was a kid and being amazed.
Another example is the handshake. A Crushing handshake was for centuries the sign of strength.
In Powerlifting and strength training in general, crushing grip is used when you squeeze the bar.
We’ve all heard people screaming in the gym to squeeze the bar right?
Crushing/squeezing the grip allows all of the muscles in your body to contract harder.

This is called Radiational Tension, and we need a lot of it to move big weight.

Some of the best ways to train crushing grip are:


Pinch Grip:

This is exactly as it sounds, pinch your fingers together and squeeze them tight.
Pinch grip is used all day in life picking things up and carrying them is pretty common right?
It’s also used a lot in Martial Arts.
One    of the best ways to train pinch grip is with pinch blocks.

Supporting Grip:

One of the most common ways we use our hands. We pick things up and hold them.
Think a deadlift lockout, or a heavy Farmers Walk.
Training supporting grip is simple and thick bars are a great way to do it, as is timed holds.
Load up a barbell and hold on to it as long as you can.


The most neglected aspect of Grip Training!
Extension is opening your hands, and while it may not be used hardly ever, if at all in sports, it needs to be trained.
If you don’t lots of issues can arise. You get a strength imbalance between the flexors and extensors and wrist and elbow problems creep in.

We squeeze barbells and dumbells all day, we type on keyboards and phones and so on.
When do you open your hands against resistance?
Imagine doing nothing but pressing exercises and never pulling/rowing?
How soon do you think and injury will occur?
I’ll give you a simple exercise to add in at the end for this.

Wrist Strength:

Another neglected aspect of grip.
Especially for equipped benchers and any athlete in a sport where you need to control a stick or an opponent.
The wrist is the weak link between your hands and arms. Weak wrists wreak havoc on your ability to control objects/people.
It’s so important that Brian Schwab made it a critical aspect of Bench training in his 12 Weeks to a Bigger Bench DVD. 


One of my favorite tools to use for Wrist strength is a Hammer 
and the Gripedo. 

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Here’s the thing on wrist strength, you really need a hammer or a Gripedo to get the most benefit.
For the other aspects you CAN train them with no extra equipment!



Okay, now that you have a sweet list of specialty items to buy and start smashing, how about Murph’s Top 4 Grip Exercises that require no special equipment to train all of the aspects of grip?


Crushing Grip:
No grippers no problem.
It’s not as good but if you don’t have any special grip tools, simply wrap a facecloth or towel over your bar or dumbell and train as usual, but SQUEEZE and CRUSH the bar harder.
You’ll probably find that you can’t use as much weight on some exercises and that’s ok. Keep at it. You’ll get strong(er).


Pinch Grip:
Here is a very simple but not easy exercise to train Pinch Grip, Plate Pinch Curls.



Supporting Grip:
Besides doing a little training as necessary with straps, building the Supporting Grip is simple.
The most time efficient way is to add Vertical Hangs in between sets.


Shoot for a minute or more.
Remember I said I’d give you a simple extension exercise earlier?
Here it is.
Band Hand Extensions.
I like to add these in at home while reading or watching t.v. It’s easy to get a few hundred reps a few times a week.
I really notice it when I take these out of my day too. The hands and elbows start to hurt.
Bonus: These are AWESOME if you play guitar or bass. Probably piano too, but I don’t so it’s a guess.



Build that grip strength and watch your lifts go up and your sports performance increase.


My mentor Dr. Fred Hatfield used to say at seminars that grip strength was the single most neglected aspect of training, he was right.
Listen to Dr. Squat.



Did you miss last week’s log?


Read it here
CJ Murphy, Murph, elitefts, ankle, mobility, stability, farmers walks


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Vincere vel mori

C.J. Murphy

August 27, 2020


Total Performance Sports

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