Insanity

How to Build a Monster Grip

Athletes involved in grappling sports are a special breed. I'm talking about the wrestlers, judo players, jiu jitsu players, MMA fighters, etc. To compete at a high level these athletes need a special blend of strength, endurance, mobility, balance, and a just touch of insanity. Additionally, an impressive trait that almost all good grapplers tend to have is ridiculous grip strength. I competed in the Copa Nova Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Fall Championships over the weekend, and after my matches my forearms were on FIRE! A big part of the game is getting a good grip on your opponent while keeping their grips off of you, so it's important to have some hands that you can rely on.

However the benefits of a stronger grip isn't limited to the grapplers. Working on grip strength can improve shoulder health, increase performance in other sports, and make activities of daily living easier. And we all know big forearms are cool.

So how do you build the vice-like grip of a grappling champion?  The solution is simple, go wrestle somebody everyday.

I'm just kidding (for most of us). But here are some tips to really challenge your grip within your lifting program.

Towels

Using towels for many of your pulling exercises will make you grip harder than normal. If you relax your grip even for a moment it could slip out of your fingers. Towels can be used for pull-ups, chin-ups, cable/band rows, inverted rows, face pulls, and shrugs.

Bottoms Up KBs

I haven't tried any bottoms up kettlebell work until recently, and it was definitely more challenging than I thought. Even with what I thought was moderate weight it was difficult to control. The bottoms up position can be used for pressing variations but also for weighted carries. Try some weighted carries with a KB in a bottoms-up rack or overhead position. If you've never tried it before your forearms might be in for a surprise.

Heavy Farmer's Walks

Load up the implements and talk a stroll. With these don't worry about using a towel or finding another way to make it specifically harder for your grip. The weight alone should do the trick. Chalk up your hands if you need to, but don't use straps (duh).

Deadlifts

Picking up heavy things is one of the best ways to build up your grip. When using a barbell, try to go double overhand as long as you can when working up in weight.

Use these tips to feel better, open the tightest of pickle jars, and build a crushing handshake you can be proud of!

Thanks To All Our Athletes

The best part of being a strength coach is watching our young athletes come in and train hard.  It takes little to no motivating from us coaches to get them to come in and smash weight; they have an awesome desire to get better.  It’s the best part of our day to see them come train and grow.  With that said I wanted to do something cool for the athletes so I decided to put together a video.  However, I lack the software and technological talent to do such things so I enlisted the help of my friend Binh.  He did an awesome job and captured exactly what I was looking for, so thanks man I appreciate the help.  And to the athletes I hope you guys like the video.  Thanks for coming in and TRAINING HARD!

 

Complete and Utter Randomness

Just a few random thoughts that have been running around my mind and some training videos for everyone out there. Random Thoughts:

  • I’ve been struggling as of late when it comes to high school weight training either as a class or after school for sports.  It seems to be very few and far between that you have sport coaches/weight training teachers who know what they’re doing in the weight room (I’m not saying all of them).  Just talking to athletes about what they do in there blows my mind such as maxing every three weeks with terrible form, crumpling under the barbell during a squat or rounding their back and hitching a deadlift just to get the weight up.  Most of these kids can’t do a bodyweight squat correctly, why are they maxing with a barbell on their back?  I’m not trying to make people angry but it just seems ignorant when there is so much good/free information everywhere that would help these coaches and their athletes immensely.  I attribute this to one of two things, they are to prideful to admit they don’t know what they are doing or they just don’t care to find out that what they are doing is wrong and harmful.  Either way it’s unacceptable.
  • The previous thought kind of led into the idea of being average. I’ve heard people for as long as I can remember talk about how they are better than “average” or that they don’t want to be just “average”.  I always thought that thinking like that was arrogant, or that they felt they were superior.  I used to be of the mindset that in order to be above average you had to be something like an astronaut, sports superstar, movie star, bill gates, you know things along those lines.  I’m assuming I thought that way because from the time I was in elementary school to the end of high school that’s what I felt I was, just average.  Why? Because I was led to believe that’s what I was by OTHER people. It wasn’t until college when I started taking my physical education and exercise science classes that I started to realize that I wasn’t “average” and that I never want to be “average”.  I started becoming more confident in my intelligence and through weight training I became more physically confident, and most importantly I stopped listening to negative people.  This all lead to me understanding that it’s OK to NOT want to be average.  Nobody should want that.  Whatever it is that you are currently doing you shouldn’t be satisfied with being average at it.  Whether you are a student, strength coach, teacher, sport coach, attorney, grounds keeper, etc. you should STRIVE to be better so you can look back when it’s all said and done and be able to say you left your mark.  Anyways the reason why this all got sparked was because I’ve been hoping this is the message that I am instilling in the athletes I work with.  There is enough negativity in the world and I REFUSE to be a negative influence when it comes to working with these kids.
  • My last thought as of late is that I want to buy a truck. Really not for any other reason than to buy a Prowler to leave in the bed of the truck just so I can always have it on hand in case the mood strikes to push it.  Weird right?

Videos:

And without further delay, here are some videos to take your mind off the incoherent rant you just read….

Here are two of our female high school volleyball athletes.  I think they are just realizing that they are really strong.  SAPT is really proud of all their progress…

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The next video is of one of my training partners and GMU’s S&C graduate assistant John Delgado.  He’s currently doing Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 and he decided to get real squirrely with this 315 deadlift for what I believe is 13 reps…

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The last video is of me getting in some work for my upcoming powerlifting competition.  My training is going really well and my squats and pulls feel really fast and smooth (bench is still feeling a bit weird and wild).  I’m about 7 weeks out from the Richmond Open and I am getting all sorts of jacked up about it.

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