Nothing says MANLY like Clint Eastwood, a pile of eggs and bacon, or a killer grip! Every athlete and lifter wants a stronger grip. But here’s the real problem: Most people don’t know how to properly program grip training into their overall program. The most common mistake is ADDING extra work. More is not always better, especially when you’re talking about tapping into your precious time and recovery. Whether you’re a farmhand, a competitive athlete, or a weekend warrior this post will help you develop hands that can hold anything – and do anything!

It’s time to learn how to save time and avoid cutting into recovery by adding grip work into your existing training program.

I shouldn’t have to sell you on the benefits of grip training. You know a vice-like grip means you can hold and move heavier weights. You know that athletes with a crushing strength have better ball control and ball security – leading to fewer turnovers. Simply put, a better grip means a better YOU!

Here’s how we add grip work into sessions at House Of Strength: Add grip training to accessory and/or finisher movements. Towels, ropes, and grip tools like grenade handles, fat gripz, or grip 4orce can all be added to pre-planned movements to add an extra element of grip work without adding to total volume. (Every once in a while we will do direct grip at the end of a session. In those cases, we use Captain’s Of Crush grippers, Rolling Thunder, and a pinch box.)

This is crucial for athletes and weekend warriors alike, as it cuts down on time spent in the gym. Aside from the obvious benefit of less time in the gym , it also prevents unnecessary workload which would tap into recovery. This is extremely important for the lifter or athlete who engages in other activities – sport practice, skill work, conditioning, and more.


Forget using your gym towel to wipe away sweat. Try draping it over a pullup bar and doing your pullups holding onto the rope rather than the bar. Or you could run the towel through a kettlebell and do your swings holding the towel. Aside from grip work, this is GREAT way to make sure your using the hips and glutes to produce the swing rather than the shoulders.

Grenade Handles

A versatile tool from EliteFTS, these balls come in 3″ or 4″ sizes. Both sizes have a spot to attach a carabiner from cable or chain work. You can use these for ANY cable or chain move – biceps, triceps, shoulders, chest, rowing, anything your mind can imagine. I love hammer and reverse grip curls with these. Below, you’ll see how we use them to add grip work to our sled dragging.

Fat Gripz/Grip 4orce

Another tool with crazy versatility, these “toys” can be slapped onto any barbell or dumbbell to increase the diameter of the handle – forcing the hands and forearms to work harder and increasing neural drive to those muscles as well as the biceps and pulling muscles. Use these for curls, rows, presses – whatever. Below you’ll see Fat Gripz on a pullup bar. (Pullup lend themselves nicely to just about ALL of these grip tricks! You ARE doing pullups aren’t you??)


Get yourself a 2-3′ piece of rope and use it just like the towel mentioned above. Again, pullups, curls, KB swings, Farmer’s Walks and many other exercises can be performed holing the rope. One of my favorites is the rope hammer curl using a kettlebell shown below.

Farmer’s Walks

You don’t need special bars for these. Just grab some heavy dumbbells or barbells and start walking. Better yet, add towels, fat gripz, or grip force to increase the challenge even more! Remember to keep your head and chest up, your shoulders back and core tight.

A Note On Extension

Everything we have discussed to this point has been focused on “flexion” or closing the hand against resistance. It is VERY important to focus on extension, or opening the hand – especially since we spend most of our free time in flexion – hold tiny cell phones, typing on keyboards, writing with pens and pencils, holding eating utensils, and more.

Get yourself a sturdy rubber band and place it around the knuckles of all 5 fingers. Simply open your hand as wide as possible against the rubber band and repeat. Try to do 100 of these everyday. You’ll be surprised at how quickly your fingers, wrists, and forearms start to thank you!


** I do not recommend adding grip work to your main movement of the day. For example, on a deadlift day, perform your deadlifts without extra grip tools. Save the tools for your rows, pullups, and other accessory work performed later in that session. In most cases this will negatively impact your performance on that move – not what we’re looking for! Keep grip work to your accessory/supplemental moves. **