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Nicholas Burgett 11-23-2006 09:44 AM

I've searched the archives looking for information on grip strength. There's a lot of information there, but I didn't really come across the answer to my question.

Yesterday during the "Got grip?" WOD, I could only do 1 towel pull-up before I had to resort to jumping negatives. The reason for failure was my hands. I simply couldn't hang onto the towel.

When I started CF about 9 months ago, I would do the pull-up-centric WOD's on an assist machine and in any volume, my forearms and grip would be the first link in the chain to give out. That hasn't been the case for quite some time now when doing normal horizontal bar or ring pull-ups. The limiting factor in that chain for me now is simply pulling strength.

Yesterday during the towel pull-ups, my pulling strength was certainly not the limiting factor (or at least it didn't feel that way). My hands were fried just from the negatives and my forearms were pretty crispy as well.

I'm looking for some suggestions on strengthening my "vertical" grip strength. In the archives I saw a lot of references to hand grippers, farmer's walks, etc. In my mind (and I certainly could be wrong), those exercises seem to be more related to horizontal grip strength. Is horizontal grip strength transferrable to vertical grip strength?

I plan on getting a rope to hang at home, but I'd like something that I can do during my warm-up that will help me build my "vertical" grip strength. Any thoughts, past experience, or suggestions are greatly appreciated. Thanks.

David Aguasca 11-23-2006 08:38 PM

it's a little more complicated than that...the guys to go to on grip training are the diesel crew guys (, work safe, maybe not family safe) and (work/family safe), who also sell grip training equipment.

grip strength is split into different hand positions. open hand strength, crushing grip strength, pinch strength, wrist strength, and extensor strength.

the "vertical" grip strength you're talking about would most likely be crushing strength. "think of shaking hands," say the IronMind guys. this will give you strong thumbs, which you also develop in pinch grip exercises.

"horizontal" grip strength (farmers walks, heavy deadlifts) would be open hand strength. your thumb is less involved (unless it's a thick handled lift), but your forearm flexors get the brunt of the load.

Gerhard Lavin 11-24-2006 07:36 AM Forum for grip strength, work safe, probably family safe.

Kris Freeman 11-24-2006 09:18 AM

Campus/climbing boards rock! Ader KB's also rock because the handle is extremely thick! Try incorporating thick olympic bb's if you gym has them. They are more than twice as thick than regular bars, DLing those will definitely tax your grip!

Nicholas Burgett 11-24-2006 04:01 PM

Thanks for the feedback guys. I took a look at the Ironmind site and ordered the Trainer and #1 grippers to begin working on my crushing strength.

Again, I appreciate the feedback. Here's to strengthening one of my many weakest links!

Wes Peart 11-26-2006 06:13 AM

Double overhand holds on an olympic bar will help a lot (just pick it up off a rack and hold), work up to around 400 and you'll have a pretty good grip (I shouldn't have to mention no straps or hook grip!). COC grippers will help a lot, because they transfer to almost all other aspects of grip. Just to give a comparison, I as doing 12 reps on a #3 and was pulling north of 500 with a double overhand grip. IMO the best exercise you can do is thick bar work. Make a thick handled barbell out of pipe (1.5'' pipe will make a 1.9'' OD bar) and weld or bolt on some collars. Use this bar for pulling movements like rows, deadlifts and cleans. It's good for curls and reverse curls as well- Here's a good example of thickbar in action (Work&family safe)

Nicholas Burgett 11-26-2006 09:08 AM

Thanks for the feedback Wes. That guy's got some sick grip strength (not to mention incredible overall strength).

I should get my CoC grippers tomorrow, so I'm looking forward to the improvement they will bring to my grip strength.

David Aguasca 11-26-2006 04:00 PM

hey, wes, is that your hand closing the #4 gripper? if so, that's pretty awesome!

Wes Peart 11-28-2006 09:20 AM

Thanks David, yes it is me, but it is in a 1.5'' choker. Without a choker or anything, I can get it to a 1/4''

(Message edited by wes on November 28, 2006)

Peter Borden 11-29-2006 07:36 AM

Here's an idea I ran with last week:

Find some PVC of a width to be sufficiently punishing. Drill a hole in one end, thread this with plastic tubing. Put a loop of small climbing cord through that (the cord in the photo is rated to 500lbs or so). Wrap this all in rubber splicing tape to improve grip. You can even use two different diameter PVCs and make the grips tapered:

(Or, you could just use towels...)

Now, you just need to use them. Try doing repeaters:

3 - 5 sets / 5 reps of 3-10" with weight
5 sec rest between reps, 2' between sets.
Actively engage your grip while hanging.

Hope this helps.

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