^
Muscle for life

The Best Forearm Workouts to Increase Grip Strength

By
The Best Forearm Workouts to Increase Grip Strength

Grip strength is more important than you might think. Here’s why, as well as the best forearm workouts for increasing grip strength.

 

When it comes to getting strong, grip strength is rarely thought about…but it actually plays a large role in your overall progress.

If your grip strength is lacking, you’ll not only have a lot of trouble with your back workouts (deadlifts, especially) and arm workouts, you’ll probably struggle with less-than-impressive looking forearms.

(I know because I used to have all three of these problems.)

Furthermore, by increasing your grip strength, you can progress faster in your chest workouts and shoulder workouts.

How?

It’s simple: by engaging your wrist and forearm muscles, like you will in the forearm workouts in this article, you’ll also engage all the other muscles in your arms, including your shoulders.

(A simple way to feel this is to hold your arm out in front of you and squeeze your hand into a fist as hard as you can. See how everything in your arm tightens?)

The bottom line is the better your grip strength, the better you’ll do in your weightlifting and the better your arms will look.

So in this article, I’m going to share with you the best forearm workouts for building Popeye-level grip strength.

The Best Forearm Workouts for Increasing Grip Strength

grip strength exercises

While your grip strength will naturally improve through a proper weightlifting program, there are quite a few grip exercises that you can do to speed up the process.

Below we’ll look at my favorite types of forearm workouts and how to put them together into an overall forearm training routine.

Hand Exercisers

One of the most effective ways to increase grip strength is to to train your “crush grip,” which is simply the action of closing your hand around an object and squeezing. By training your crush grip, you build the strength and density of the bones and muscles of the hands, fingers, wrists, and forearms.

A hand exerciser is a great way to improve your crush grip. But not just any hand exerciser–you want one with enough resistance to be effective, but not so much that you can’t use a full range of motion (you should be able to fully squeeze the hand exerciser, not only partially close it).

Here are the two hand exercisers that I like and recommend:

Gripmaster Hand Exerciser

The Gripmaster is a good place to start training your crush grip. I also like that it allows you to train each finger independently, which comes in handy for strengthening the weaker links like the pinky and ring fingers.

I recommend starting with the medium tension (red), and once that’s easy, move up to the heavy (black).

best-forearms-workouts

IronMind “Captains of Crush” Hand Exerciser

Once you’ve defeated the black Gripmaster, you’re ready for a “big boy” hand exerciser.

The “Captains of Crush” hand exercisers are great products. They’ve been on the market for about 15 years now and are quite popular in bodybuilding, powerlifting, and strongman circles.

You have 11 strength options to choose from, ranging from 60 lbs to an incredible 365 lbs. Most people find they need to start with the Guide or Sport models (60 and 80 lbs of strength required to squeeze, respectively), but if you’re an experienced weightlifter that can deadlift over 300 pounds for reps without straps, you can probably start with the Trainer model (100 lbs) and be fine.

captains-of-crush

 How to Use the Hand Exerciser

 Alright, so you have your hand exerciser. What now? First, let’s see how to properly set it into your hand for use:

Use the following tips to get the most out of it:

1. Start with 2 to 3 hand exerciser forearm workouts per week.

While the forearm muscles are very resilient, training them too frequently is detrimental. This is especially true if you’re also weightlifting.

So start with 2 to 3 forearm workouts per week and, over time, you should be able to work this up to 4 to 5.

2. Structure your hand exerciser forearm workouts correctly.

Start your hand exerciser forearm workouts with a few warm-up sets (I like to do these sets with the Gripmaster or even a cheap, lower-strength hand exerciser, like this), and then move on to your “heavy sets.”

After you’ve warmed up, you will do 5 to 6 sets of squeezes, with 8 to 10 squeezes per set. Rest 1 to 2 minutes in between each set. Once you can do 5 to 6 sets of 8 to 10 squeezes,  you’re ready to move up to the next level of resistance.

As a note, a “special” type of squeeze that helps build strength is the “squeeze-and-hold” rep. This is where you fully squeeze the hand exerciser and hold it closed for 10 to 20 seconds (start with 10 and work up from there). I will often finish my sets with squeeze-and-hold reps.

3. Keep your form strict.

Like with any exercise, form is very important. And that means full squeezes (don’t start too heavy or you won’t be able to even get one full squeeze), and no twisting your arm or body to get additional leverage. Treat it like a proper weightlifting exercise.

Use this workout and flexible dieting program to lose up to 10 pounds of fat and build muscle in just 30 days…without starving yourself or living in the gym.

Barbell Holds

The Barbell Hold is a great way to increase grip strength and it can be done at the end of any workout. It’s very simple:

I like to use a Power Rack and an Olympic bar, and make sure to use a double-overhand grip.

Go for 10 to 20 seconds of hold time per set and adjust your weight accordingly. Once you can hold a given weight for 20 seconds, add 10 pounds to the bar and work with that new weight until you can hold it for 20 seconds, and so forth.

The end of a back workout or arms workout is a good place to insert 1 to 3 sets of Barbell Holds.

Plate Pinches

Like the Barbell Hold, the Plate Pinch gives a great forearm workout and you don’t need anything special to do it. Here’s how it works:

Like the Barbell Hold, you’re going for about 20 seconds of hold time, and once you hit it, you increase the difficulty by adding another plate to pinch (3 instead of 2, and then 4, after which point I would go back to 2 plates of next higher denomination).

And again, like the Barbell Hold, 1 to 3 sets of Plate Pinches after your back or arms workouts is plenty. (You could do Barbell Holds after your back workouts and Plate Pinches after your arms workouts, for instance.)

Oversized Grips

Oversized grips are thick rubber grips that fit over barbells and dumbbells, and they’re an incredibly cost-effective way to improve your grip strength.

I like to use them on my big push exercises (Barbell Bench Press and Military Press, mainly), but not my pull exercises as they greatly limit the amount of weight you can pull (some people use them on warm-up sets only).

Here are the products I use and like:

Iron Bull T-Grip 2.0

The Iron Bull T-Grip 2.0 is comfortable and extremely durable and stays locked in place. You can’t go wrong here.

iron-bull-tgrip

 

Fat Gripz

Fat Gripz are also popular and effective oversized grips.

I wouldn’t say either the T-Grip or Fat Gripz are better than the other–it’s just a matter of preference. Some people (like me) like the slight bulge in the middle of the T-Grip, whereas others don’t; and some people prefer the rougher texture of the Fat Gripz, whereas I don’t care either way.

fat-gripz

Dumbbell Farmer Walks

The Dumbbell Farmer Walk is a tried-and-true grip strength builder. Here’s how it works:

Easy enough. Shoot for 30 to 40 feet walked per “set,” and once you’re able to move a given weight for that distance, move up.

Like Barbell Holds and Plate Pinches, Dumbbell Farmer Walks are great for ending a back or arms workout.

Weightlifting Straps

Purists shun straps as blasphemous and while I don’t disagree with that mentality, straps can be useful for improving grip strength if used properly.

The key is to not strap on your first set. Instead, work without straps until your grip is too fatigued to allow for a proper set, and then use straps.

Don’t go with just any straps, either–bad straps are more of a liability than a help. They can be overly tricky to wrap tightly, they can fail to hold their grip while you’re lifting, and they can seriously cut into your wrists.

 Here are the straps I use and like:

Harbinger Big Grip “No-Slip” Lifting Straps

Harbinger Big Grip pro lifting straps.

These straps rock. They have a padded wrist strap with a sturdy velcro clasp, so no awkward looping of the strap to get it to hold (this is the type that will shred your wrists), and they have two thin rubber tracks running down the inside of the strap, which grip the metal tightly.

Band Extensions

Last but not least on the list of forearm workouts are the deceptively hard Band Extensions.

This isn’t a grip exercise like the crush and hold exercises given above, but it helps prevent injuries and strengthen your overall grip by training your forearm extensor muscles.

You do Band Extensions by placing a band around several or all of your fingers and opening your hand and holding for 5 to 10 seconds (that’s one rep). You can finish each hand exerciser forearm workout with 1 to 3 sets of Band Extensions.

You can use a thick rubber band for this or can get bands especially made for it, like these:

grip-strength

The Ultimate Forearm Workout Routine

grip strength training

Alright, now that we’ve gone over a variety of grip exercises, let’s turn them into something of a routine. Here’s what I recommend:

  • Use straps on in back workouts if necessary, as described above
  • End your back workouts with 2 to 3 sets of Barbell Holds or Dumbbell Farmer Walks (you can alternate between these each week)
  • Use oversized grips on your push exercises
  • End your arms workouts with 2 to 3 sets of Plate Pinches
  • Do 1 to 2 hand exerciser forearm workouts per week, and include Band Extensions for bonus points, and as your grip gets stronger, you can increase this to 3 to 4 hand exerciser forearm workouts per week

If you do this routine, you will rapidly increase your grip strength, and will immediately notice the benefits in your bigger lifts. Happy forearm training!

Want More Workouts?

The Ultimate Chest Workout

best chest workout

The Ultimate Arms Workout

arms-workouts

The Ultimate Back Workout

back-exercises

The Ultimate Shoulder Workout

shoulder-exercises

The Ultimate Abs Workout

ab-workouts

The Ultimate Legs Workout

Arnold Schwarzenegger squatting deep.

The Ultimate Calves Workout

ultimate-calves-workout

The Ultimate Butt Workout

best-butt-workouts

The Ultimate Bodyweight Workout

Man doing push-ups on kettlebells.

 

What do you think of this forearm workout routine? Have anything else to add? Let me know in the comments below!

admin admin

I'm Mike and I'm the creator of Muscle for Life and Legion Athletics, and I believe that EVERYONE can achieve the body of their dreams.

If you like what I have to say, sign up for my free newsletter and every week I'll send you awesome, science-based health and fitness tips, delicious "diet-friendly" recipes, motivational musings, and more.

THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE HAVE USED MY BOOKS TO BUILD THEIR BEST BODIES EVER. WILL YOU BE NEXT?

If you want a "paint-by-numbers," step-by-step blueprint for building a muscular, lean, strong body...faster than you ever thought possible...then you want to check out my bestselling books.

Here's a little sneak peek of what you'll learn inside...

  • The 7 biggest muscle building myths & mistakes that keep guys small, weak, and frustrated. (These BS lies are pushed by all the big magazines and even by many trainers.)
  • How to build meal plans that allow you to build muscle, lose fat, and get healthy with ease…eating foods you love (yes, including those deemed “unclean” by certain “gurus”)…and never feeling starved, deprived, or like you’re “on a diet.”
  • The 5 biggest fat loss myths & mistakes that keep women overweight, disappointed, and confused. (These BS lies are pushed by all the big magazines and even by many trainers.)
  • An all-in-one training system that delivers MAXIMUM results for your efforts…spending no more than 3 to 6 hours in the gym every week…doing workouts that energize you, not wipe you out.
  • A no-BS guide to supplements that will save you hundreds if not THOUSANDS of dollars each year that you would’ve wasted on products that are nothing more than bunk science and marketing hype.
  • And a whole lot more!

The bottom line is you CAN achieve that “Hollywood body" without having your life revolve around it. No long hours in the gym, no starving yourself, and no grueling cardio that turns your stomach.

My book will show you how. Get it today and let’s build a body you can be proud of.

Bigger Leaner Stronger

Bigger Leaner Stronger

Thinner Leaner Stronger

Thinner Leaner Stronger

Want more awesome stuff like this? Enter your email address to get the weekly newsletter.
LIKE MUSCLE FOR LIFE? Let Google know!
Leave a Comment!
Comment!
  • Shreddy Brek

    I’ve used the band extensions in the past as part of physio for an aching wrist. They work well i find.

    • Michael Matthews

      Yeah, they help.

  • Adam Clancey

    Useful article, my grip is definitely lagging behind. I think i’ll order one of those Gripmasters to use at my desk.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks! It will help. Once the black is easy, you can move onto the Captains of Crush products.

  • António

    Hey Mike,

    Sorry for talking about unrelated things in your articles. I wanted to ask you what kind of university course should one take to work in similar things like you do? There are “Nutrition and sport science” courses, and there is also medicine. What career path should one take to understand the human body to a greater level, but indeed perhaps with a greater focus on nutrition? In the future I see myself perhaps working in the bodybuilding industry like you are. From what I know you previously had a different job and a different education, but knowing what you know, what would be the most useful education you could have had?

    Thanks a lot!

  • Oriol

    Really useful! I have a hand exerciser but didn’t know which was the best training frequency for a proper forearm training. I will definitely include your forearm advice into my BLS routine. What would be the indicator to change from doing 1-2 hand exerciser workouts per week to 3-4?
    Thank you Mike!!

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks! As your forearms get stronger you’ll be able to increase workout frequency without it compromising your lifting. Your forearms will get sore and fatigued like any other muscle.

  • Laura MacGregor

    Hey Mike
    Given that you’re recommending the medium tension gripmaster for beginner guys, would I be better getting a light tension one? I can imagine us girls need something a bit easier to start with.
    Thanks

    • Michael Matthews

      Good point, doh! I forget I’m not only writing to guys sometimes, haha. Yeah light tension would be a good place to start.

  • Jim

    Hi mike. Sorry off topic. Absolutely love your articles. Your such an inspiration to me. I like that you came from not being in great shape (no offence) to now something I inspire to look like. Give me 2 more years :). Anyway, I’m a big fan of macros and sorting the necessary p, f and c.
    In your honest opinion do you think results would be effected using different splits? Eg calories for the 3 examples are 3000.
    1 – 220p 350c 80f
    2 – 200p 300c 115f
    3 – 170p 260c 150f
    Do you think body composition would be any different using these 3 combinations even though calories are the same? Really really appreciate your answer mike!

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Jim! I really appreciate it!

      So long as protein stays at 1 g per pound you can play with fats and carbs however you want. Don’t drop fats below 15% of total daily calories though.

      Carbs are definitely your friend when you’re lifting, though. I talk about why here:

      https://www.muscleforlife.com/guide-to-post-workout-nutrition/

  • K.M.

    Hi Mike,

    Few questions:

    1) For barbell holds and plate pinches, do you hold the maximum weight that you can hold for 20 seconds at a time?

    2) Will oversize grips reduce my weight on Barbell Bench Press, Military Press and Barbell Incline Press? In other words I will need to use lower weight to push a set?

    • Michael Matthews

      1. Yeah this seems to work well. 30 seconds would be the longest I would go.

      2. Nope. It will decrease pulls though.

  • Jim Anderson

    Hi mike just want to clear up a point,you say about grip strength ,I was under the impression that there are not any muscles in a persons fingers like you quote,am I wrong??.

    • Michael Matthews

      The fingers themselves don’t have muscles–the muscles are in the palm and forearm.

  • john rollison

    hey mike, im john. i’ve been weightlifting for a about a year now, im 15 and its my freshman year of high school. i play 3 to 4 sports a year that includes football where i play on the line. oddly enough i haven’t been able to hit my “stride” like a lot of the other guys who’ve been doing this longer than me. i want to get bigger and stronger but i haven’t sen much improvment overtime. we only get to worout 3 times outa the week and we follow a strict list of exersices. id really like your help! thanks!

    • Michael Matthews

      Hey John!

      You’re in a great age to lift. What type of program are you doing?

      • john rollison

        just a regular weight lifting session after school i guess

        • Michael Matthews

          Ah okay. What are you doing in these lifting sessions tho? Exercises? Rep ranges?

  • Pingback: 8 Proven Ways to Increase Your Deadlift | Muscle For Life()

  • Randy

    For some time now, I’ve been throwing in a couple of sets at the end of my workout with a wrist roller (tube & rope attached to a weight plate). Roll it all the way up, then down, the reverse direction at the bottom. Does a great job and makes your wrist move in a natural, functional exercise.

    • Randy

      “then reverse…”

    • Michael Matthews

      Yeah I’ve done that before. Simple and workable.

  • John

    Can I do this routine while cutting?

    • Michael Matthews

      Yup!

  • Tony Spinelli

    Mike you know I’m an old timer. What’s wrong with wrist curls and reverse wrist curls? As far as the squeeze grips go I used them on my one hour commute. There were days that I did 500 reps with each hand easily. No one wanted to shake hands with me…lol

    • Michael Matthews

      They’re okay but they don’t build grip like the hand exercisers. And LOL your grip must have been insane!

  • Jeremy Witkowski

    Hey Mike thanks for the great article! I’ve been struggling with my deadlift and romanian deadlift because of my grip strength. What days should I do the grip strength training so that it doesn’t exhaust my gripping muscles for my regular workouts? My current workout schedule is:
    Sunday – Chest & Abs
    Wednesday – Back & Triceps
    Friday – Shoulders & Biceps
    Saturday – Legs

    • Michael Matthews

      My pleasure!

      I would start with Sat & Weds…

  • João Carlos Clementoni Silva

    Hi Mike!!
    I’m following the BLS program and I’m feeling that my forearms and hands are weak. So I bought the Gripmaster to start but I don’t know how to use it. My questions are: how many sets, how many reps, how much hold time, when go to another level and what time to do it?
    Thank you very much!!

    • Michael Matthews

      Cool! Did you read this article? It lays out a grip workout routine…

      • João Carlos Clementoni Silva

        Yes, I read. My doubts are about the Gripmaster. I already started workout on other exercices you wrote in this article.

        Thank you!

        • Michael Matthews

          Oh okay. Here’s what it says on the gripmaster:

          2. Structure your hand exerciser forearm workouts correctly.

          Start your hand exerciser forearm workouts with a few warm-up sets (I like to do these sets with the Gripmaster or even a cheap, lower-strength hand exerciser, like this), and then move on to your “heavy sets.”

          After you’ve warmed up, you will do 5 to 6 sets of squeezes, with 8 to 10 squeezes per set. Rest 1 to 2 minutes in between each set. Once you can do 5 to 6 sets of 8 to 10 squeezes, you’re ready to move up to the next level of resistance.

          As a note, a “special” type of squeeze that helps build strength is the “squeeze-and-hold” rep. This is where you fully squeeze the hand exerciser and hold it closed for 10 to 20 seconds (start with 10 and work up from there). I will often finish my sets with squeeze-and-hold reps.

          • João Carlos Clementoni Silva

            Ohh! I’m sorry. I did not realize that the gripmaster’s exercices is the same of Captains of Crunch. I thought it was different. That’s perferct for me!!

            Thank you very much!!

          • Michael Matthews

            Haha yeah no worries!

  • Marco

    Hi Mike,

    I have a couple of points/comments:

    1.

    > A simple way to feel this is to hold your arm out in
    > front of you and squeeze your hand into a fist as hard
    > as you can. See how everything in your arm tightens?

    Not at all.

    2.

    What do you think of these?

    http://www.amazon.com/FlexEx-Hand-Exerciser-Triple-Pack/dp/B00597E3QG/ref=sr_1_1

    3.

    Regarding the band extensions, no matter whether IronMind or FlexEx:

    If you place these at the outermost limbs of your hand, the resistance will pull each finger approx. to the center of the circle that the fingertips imply. That means that thumb and middle finger work against resistance in the natural direction. However, the pinky finger (and the index and ring finger somewhat) works in a direction nearly perpendicular to the natural direction. I wonder whether that will ruin the joints.

    See the first attached picture for a demonstration with a FlexEx band. This should be similar with IronMind bands.

    I can think of these fixes:

    a) You could position the band at a pinky limb closer to the hand, where the joint is larger and the leverage smaller. Of course, the outermost limbs stay untrained, then. (see second picture)

    b) You could train the pinky individually, e.g. against a band held in the other hand in an optimal position.

    c) You could pull the center of the FlexEx band (would not work with IronMind) towards the wrist with your other hand.

    What are your thoughts on this?

    • Michael Matthews

      Those hand exercisers are great! I like that.

      Never been a fan of wrist curls as it doesn’t directly strengthen your grip like crush grip training does.

  • Marcus

    I started this program and my grip is improving. Over time, will this add size to my forearms (huge lagging area for me)? Also, I have a pair of fat gripz, I only use them for curls though. Is that okay? I felt for pressing it was limiting weight too much (about 10 lbs each lift). Obviously for pulling it was way worse!

    • Marcus

      I worked out arms right after posting my last comment. For the third set of each bicep exercise I took the grips off and I felt like I had better form and a deeper burn on the bis, maybe I’m adapted to the grips and changing it up did that. I’m thinking of ditching the fat gripz and just doing ditch training. What do you suggest?

      • Michael Matthews

        Yup that’s why I don’t like them on curls.

    • Michael Matthews

      Yup it will. I don’t like the grips for curling because it compromises the weight I can lift. I like them for pushing though.

  • Guest

    I cant believe you forgot the most important exercise of all. It works on the entire forearm and the gains are fast and long lasting. I do it every day just two reps with 13 pounds. You put the weight on a rope and a plastic or wooden trunk or cylinder, grip that and curl the forearms until the weight is all the way up and then the same motion downward. Fantastic and most reliable exercise, much less strenuous than the hand grip exercise.

    • Michael Matthews

      Honestly I saw sub-par gains with this exercise…

  • tjboudreaux

    Please fix the videos on this page. Every single video auto plays when loading the page.

    Autoplay videos are extremely annoying. It’s exponentially worse when there are 4 videos all playing on top of one another.

    • Michael Matthews

      Oops sorry about that. It’s not happening for me but I’ll have my Web guy check it out.

  • sj

    mike

    my left arm lags behind my right in biceps and triceps. since ive read this article ive noticed that my left forearm grip also lags behind my right. could this grip lag be a reason or at least a contributor to lagging left arm? anyhow im doing grip strength training; just wanted your thoughts.

    all the best

    sj

    • Michael Matthews

      It could be but it’s probably more just a matter of genetics. Some people’s muscles don’t balance perfectly and simply need some tweaking. You can do additional sets each week for the lagging parts.

  • Stan Tompson

    Is it a good idea to work on your grip strength if you’re a beginner bodybuilder? I’ve read that pull-ups and deadlifts are great for improving your grip (here: http://www.healthlisted.com/10-functional-exercises-increase-grip-strength/ I’m not sure if it’s true) so I wonder if classic routine is enough or should I add extra workouts to make my forearms look better.

    • Michael Matthews

      It won’t hurt because you WILL have grip issues within your first 6 months if you’re training properly…

  • Théophile

    Hi Mike,
    Do you think a beginner like me who has started your program 4 weeks ago should use the double overhand grip while deadlifting to increase grip strength, or rather use the mixed grip to be able to lift more and do forearms workouts aside. Or maybe even another combination ?
    (I did sets of 5 with 100kg this week with a double overhand grip and I don’t think my grip would be a problem until 120kg or so.)
    By the way I saw that you were using paper while deadlifting so i tried it myself today on my romanian deadlift and it felt great, I think I’m gonna keep doing it :).

    • Michael Matthews

      Yeah double over until your grip finally can’t take the weight and then alternate.

      Haha yeah a simple way to keep your grip without ripping your hands apart.

      • Greg Groves

        Paper…hmm…never thought of that

        • Michael Matthews

          It works. Paper towels to be specific.

  • EdX

    Hi Mike,
    About plate pinches – can I do them after legs workout instead of arms? I’m doing BLS 4day split, so I don’t really have “arms” day. Are you supposed to do warmup set before pinches, walks and holds? Thanks.

    • Michael Matthews

      Yeah sure. That works. No warmups are needed.

  • Greg Groves

    I struggle greatly with my grip strength, and because of that I’m stuck at 300 pounds on my deadlifts. this is a freaking awesome article on how to improve grip strength! can’t wait to try some of these exercises! As always, thanks Mike 🙂

    • Michael Matthews

      I hear you. I had the same problem at about 375 and now have no issues even in the 450 range.

  • Pingback: Grip Exercises Sets | Lean and Mean()

  • Briseis Charming

    hmmmm… Mike.. You FINE! I really hope I’ll be able to look as good as you do!
    Been trying the hand grippers here http://goo.gl/2jHZ6H but I still think I need to move away from the basics and maybe start doing some of what you’re doing to make you look so F.I.N.E… Sorry, I’m an engaged woman, I shouldn’t be doing this.

  • Pingback: Forearm Grips Bodybuilding()

  • Thanks for stopping by and checking out my article! I hope you enjoyed it.

    Feel free to comment below if you have any questions. I do my best to check and reply to every comment left on my blog, so don’t be shy!

    Oh and if you like what I have to say, you should sign up for my free weekly newsletter! You’ll get awesome, science-based health and fitness tips, delicious “guilt-free” recipes, articles to keep you motivated, and much more!

    You can sign up here:

    http://www.muscleforlife.com/signup/

    Your information is safe with me too. I don’t share, sell, or rent my lists. Pinky swear!

  • Pat

    Thank Mike – this article has been an awesome resource for me. I started with the gripmaster and I now think I’m ready to move up from the first Captains of Crush I bought (sport I believe). I’d obviously prefer not to end up buying 10 or 11 different versions. Would you recommend once you’ve successfully moved up on one of them to buy your next one two or three levels tougher?

    • Thanks Pat! Nice! Yeah you can do that and then use BB and plate exercises to help you make the jump if necessary.

      Personally I stopped once I no longer needed straps on any of my deadlifting (that was my original goal of grip training).

  • Mike

    Hey, do you think you can increase grip strength while cutting?

  • Andy

    Hey Mike, what about forearm exercises to increase size? My wrists and forearms are very small and they embarrass me.

    • A routine like this plus a proper weightlifting routine that has you doing a lot of heavy pressing and pulling is all you need really.

  • Jacob

    I am stuck at a 480 deadlift and I can barely get that now just simply because of grip strength and i am using a gripper but am hardly getting any results from it any suggestions?????

    • Yeah it sounds like you’ll need to do a bit more on the grip as laid out in the article. What do you think?

  • wayneo

    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0046F26LQ?psc=1

    I have been using this tool for a couple months now and it has worked so much better than any other grip trainer I have ever tried before. Maybe they can send you a sample product to write a review on. I absolutely love this thing, it is the only forearm/hand trainer that I have experienced any effectiveness with after trying a lot of the different equipment you recommend above.

  • Hairywookie

    Personally I like reverse bicep curls for an awesome pump.
    http://www.forearm-workouts.com

  • Flexing Forearms

    Great article. Perhaps worth pointing out that you can’t increase the size of your wrist but can significantly add to the muscle towards the elbow. I have tiny girl like wrists but am aiming to get the rest of my forearm swollen! Thanks for the tips. http://www.forearm-workouts.com

  • That sidewinder tool seems pretty interesting. Never seen something like that.

  • LifeForMuscle

    will this add forearm size too?

  • Alex Bijma

    “The end of a back workout or arms workout is a good place to insert 1 to 3 sets of Barbell Holds.” What confuses me a bit is that you don’t specify how many reps each set has?

  • What should rest times be for barbell holds, plate pinches, and farmer walks? Also, if I ever get a hand exerciser, is it best to do them on days I didn’t do grip exercises in the gym?

    • 1-2 minutes rest for each.

      Yeah, I’d do them on separate days or work them into your grip routine at the gym.

      • Thanks! One more thing—the Prohands website recommends the hook grasp, the power grip, the power pinch, and the tricep press for weightlifters. Do you agree with these choices? Would you add anything else? Should we do the tricep press as part of a forearm workout even though it’s (obviously) a tricep exercise?

        • Hah this is neat. I haven’t tried all these fancy variations.

          Yeah one hand at a time for those types of exercises. Others obviously involve both.

  • Hikmat

    Hi Mike

    I can dead lift 180kg for 4 reps with chalk but no straps, should i skip the grip masters and go straight to the captain of crush hand exercisers

    • Yeah that’s fine. You can start with the “Captains of Crush”.

      LMK how it goes!

  • Anthony Renzi

    What is your opinion on Weightlifting gloves and do you think it promotes or inhibits proper grip and forearm gains?

    I’ve been struggling with bicep curls because my forearms seem to give out first, and I figured my forearms would catch up but it’s been a while and the problem still persists. I’m incorporating these forearm exercises but what i’m asking is do you think it would be beneficial to lose the gloves?

    Thanks Mike

    • I wouldn’t say they effect either of those negatively or positively. You can try without the gloves and see how it goes.

      Otherwise, I recommend increasing the rep range and dropping the weight on the curls. That should handle it.

      LMK how it goes.

      My pleasure!

  • Arafat Sultan

    I am not sure whether someone has already asked this question. I am following BLS 5 day split, but there is no exercise for forearms on this holy program. Fact is, I never thought of developing forearms before reading this article. If I am not interested in very big forearm and normal well developed forearm is enough for me, then do I need to add any exercise for forearm in BLS 5 day split?

    Thanks for your great efforts 🙂
    Arafat

    • Hey Arafat, if you’re finding your grip strength to be lacking on your lifts (such as deadlift), then you can implement the recommendations of this article in your weekly routine.

  • Siquan

    Hey, just a question about barbell holds… what do you do if you can’t get past a certain weight? Should I keep on working on that weight, or can I start using chalk to go past it?

  • Hey Mike, another good article. I’ve already got the Gripmaster and Harbinger 21700 products in my Amazon cart.

    Numbered questions as always: 1. By “hand exerciser workouts,” I’m assuming you mean using the Gripmasters? Is this one of the workouts you recommend after my upper body day? Or can I do this outside my regular workouts (like at my desk or wherever)? My concern is my timing: I go to the gym before work and need to escape somewhat quickly after my hour to get to work on time.

    2. For my grip workouts during back day, would it be okay to scrap the shoulder shrugs (which you marked as optional in the 1YC) and go for the barbell holds so I don’t go over my hour? (I already think I experience the dumbbell walks when I have to put the dumbbells back after lunges on leg day. :P)

    3. On back day, I usually lose grip on deadlifts and shoulder shrugs. So what you’re saying is do these exercises with no help on the first set and use wrist straps only as soon as grip fatigue compromises my lifts?

    4. Also, if I can do this workout whenever I have time, should I eat a preworkout meal before? Seems a bit trivial to eat a preworkout meal before a grip workout, but you never know.

    • Sweet! Good buys.

      1. Yah. You can use those at your desk.

      2. Both exercises will involve gripping something heavy, but if you can load up more on the barbell, great!

      3. Yes, do what you can. An alternating (one palm up, one palm down) grip will also help too. Grips as last resort.

      4. Nah, no need.

      • Got ’em in the mail yesterday. Think I may have been hasty with the gripper. I got the midline one, but it seems too easy. Might try to return it and order the next level up. But before I do, how do we know when we can graduate from one gripper to the next hardest? I was a little iffy when I tried it considering I have a cut on one of my fingers (my nondominant hand, if that matters), but it did seem a bit on the easy side. Any advice on how to gauge yourself?

        • Hey man, it’s really up to you. I like to do 10-12 reps consistently before moving up to a stronger one, but you could also do more volume for a while too. Once 10-12 starts to feel pretty easy, I’d get the next one up.

  • Briscan Andrei

    What’s your opinion about Reeves Deadlift for improving grip strength and about this exercise in general ?

    • Hey,

      I’m not a huge fan, as it severely limits how much total weight you can use, and I think there are other exercises that are better for directly improving grip strength. That said, there’s nothing wrong with trying it.

  • Chris Handy

    This might be a dumb question…but for the grip master, are you crushing with the finger tips or with the second bone in the fingers? Tips hurts more but feels more disciplined, but the other feels more naturally like crushing or gripping a barbell…so I wasn’t sure what to do!

    • With your whole grip as you would crush something in your hand. I think that’s what you mean by second bone in the fingers.

Sign in to Muscle For Life
or use your MFL Account