Grip Strength Training 101 - Importance, Types, Exercises

The 3 Types of Grip Strength

Grip Strength can roughly be separated into 3 types: Crushing, Pinching, and Support. Crush grip is your handshake style grip. Think of opening jars, holding a tennis racket, or closing a hand gripper. Pinch grip focuses on the fingers and fingertips. Think of turning a key, grabbing a climbing hold, or pinching a bumper plate. Support grip focuses on using the whole hand and forearm muscles to hold onto things. Think of a pull up bar, kettlebell carry, or carrying groceries. All of them at once of course. Focusing on just one type of grip can be beneficial for a sport but we encourage you to try all 3 and balance out your grip training.

The Importance of Powerful Grip Strength

While often overlooked, developing elite grip strength provides immense benefits for athletes and lifters. A powerful grip allows you to fully transfer force through your body, maximizing strength expression. It prevents your grip from being a limiting factor on big lifts. It improves safety by giving you a secure grip to control heavy weights. Remember, if you can’t grip it, you can’t lift it.

Climbing, grappling, and strongman competitors rely heavily on crushing grip strength. But even for mainstream strength sports like powerlifting and weightlifting, having an iron grip is crucial. Virtually any physical discipline demands a base of well-rounded hand, finger, and forearm strength.

Beyond performance, maintaining a strong grip promotes healthy hand dexterity and function in daily life as you age. Don't let a weak grip stop you from opening jars, carrying heavy objects, or just doing the basic daily tasks.

Training Specific Grip Types

As stated earlier, there are 3 main types of grip. Crushing, Pinching, and Support. Let’s dive into them in with some more detail. We’ll also list some lifts and tools you can use to increase them.

Crush Grip

As the name implies, this involves gripping and crushing an object in your hand. It works muscles like the flexors in your forearms, thumbs, and hand muscles. Crush is great for grippers, grappling, and showing off your brutal handshake. Main crush grip exercises can include:

Pinch Grip

Pinch grip centers on your finger strength, particularly working the thumb and fingers in opposition. Grapplers and Rock Climbers especially can benefit from pinch. Here are some key pinch grip builders:

Support Grip

This full hand grip is all about hanging and maintaining a hold on to something. Strongmen, powerlifters, and arm wrestlers can benefit greatly here. Top support grip movements are:

A Balanced Training Approach

While you may choose to emphasize one grip area based on your sport or goals, a well-rounded program should incorporate all 3 grip styles. This balanced approach prevents any weaknesses and ensures total grip development. It can be easy to fall into focusing on only one area of grip.

And we know, there’s some eye-rolling including our stuff on the exercise lists. We of course emphasize you can get a freaking solid thick and tight grip with very little gear. Our equipment just happens to make it a little easier. Whatever equipment or exercises you decide to go with, we’re stoked you’re building up your grip.

Whether your goal is to crush the thickest bars, lock in tighter submissions, or simply open any jar with ease, purposeful grip strength training is a worthy pursuit. Try out some of these exercises to develop powerful, well-rounded grip strength from all angles.

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