Having a strong grip is something that most weight lifters don’t think about, but it is vital on many compound-lifting exercises.
Did you know that most of the powerlifters and bodybuilders from back in the day never relied on wrist straps or any kind of grip assistance? We live in a bodybuilding era of fancy equipment and people relying on technology over sheer strength and will.
Bodybuilders from back in the day had to develop full body functional strength, which includes tremendous grip strength. This is one of the many reasons that old school bodybuilders, despite the lack of knowledge, bodybuilding supplements available, and extensive research studies still had some of the best overall physiques of all time.
Look at some of the classic physiques, and you will see a few of the most aesthetic bodybuilders of all time.
Grip strength is a lot more important than you think and actually plays a key role in your overall muscle building and strength progress.
Your grip strength impacts your ability to perform several of the most important compound exercises such as the barbell row, t-bar row, deadlift, and seated row. If you have weak grip strength, you will not be able to progress and put the maximum amount of overload during these incredible compound muscle building exercises.
Limited Grip Strength = Limited Strength on Compound Lifts
This means that you will not build lean muscle mass at peak efficiency because you are not able to put the maximum amount of overload on your body’s largest and strongest muscle groups due to this glaring weakness. This has a huge downward spiral of negative effects.
One of the biggest problems this creates is that the easiest way to increase your anabolic hormones, such as testosterone, is to lift heavy weight and focus on a progressive overload weight-training regimen. Putting maximum overload on exercises such as the barbell row, deadlifts, and t-bar row during your back workouts is vital for developing an aesthetic physique.
Grip strength and forearm development become a major problem as you start to become an advanced lifter and your grip strength can’t keep up with the progress of other muscle groups. Many guys have to use wrist straps and other devices during heavy exercises such as the barbell row and deadlift because they can’t hold the weight.
Besides holding you back on these specific compound exercises, having weak grip strength will slow down your progress during chest workouts, shoulder workouts, and arm workouts.
Another negative to weakly developed forearms is that it will stunt your arm development. If you have muscular and vascular forearms, your biceps will automatically appear larger, and it will give off the illusion that your arms are bigger than they really are.
You can see that grip strength and forearm muscles are connected to strong arms if you hold your arms out in front of you and form a fist. You will see all the muscles on your arms tense up such as your anterior deltoids, biceps, and even chest.
So as you can see, grip strength is pretty important! Grip strength will enhance every aspect of your training regimen, from increased strength and overload on compound exercises to more aesthetically pleasing arms.
Here is a list of the best forearm exercises for increasing your grip strength. Make sure that you practice these exercises 2-3 times a week to quickly improve your grip strength and become a beast:
Best Forearm Workouts for Grip Strength
1. Gripmaster hand exercises
Using a grip master is one of the easiest and most effective ways to increase your grip strength and develop your forearms.
You can use different forms of tension with the grip master, and it even allows you to work a finger individually, which has numerous benefits when it comes to directly growing your muscles and strength in your forearms.
You will notice that when you use the grip master and work your fingers that are “weaker links” such as your pinky and ring fingers that it targets different portions of your forearms.
You have many different muscles in your forearms that will enhance your grip strength and allow you to have bigger and more impressive looking arms. The grip master will enhance all of these.
2. Captains of crush hand exerciser
This is one of the most advanced hand exercises you can find and ranges in weight from an absolute novice all the way up to an extreme powerlifter. You have an unlimited range of weights with the captains of crush hand exerciser as it ranges in weight from 60 lbs all the way up to 365 lbs!
You can vary the range of movement by extending your arms and hands straight outward or bending your elbows to hit different spots in your hand and forearms.
You will find that locking your arms and gripping with your hand straight outward will be a lot more challenging to your forearms than when you are bending at the elbow.
It is important to train with the crush hand exerciser from different angles so you can fully develop each section of your forearms and improve your grip.
3. Barbell holds
Barbell holds are another awesome forearm exercise and will help you with your grip strength on major compound exercises such as the barbell row and deadlift.
You will start off with a fully loaded barbell with a fairly heavy weight for you to grip. You want to grasp the bar with a double overhand grip and lift it off the rack. You are simply going to hold this position for as long as possible, focusing on your forearms and grip during the entire hold.
The goal is to maintain this hold for about 20 seconds. Rest for about 45 seconds and repeat this for 4 sets.
This exercise will prepare your grip strength for maximum strength lifts on the barbell row and the deadlift.
4. Oversized grips
Oversized grips are an awesome training tool that you can utilize and incorporate into most of your workouts that will slowly build up your forearms and grip strength.
The oversized grip simply goes over the bar and forces your forearms to work more by thickening the grip you have on the bar. This is most effective on exercises that use a pushing motion such as the barbell bench press, military press, and barbell incline bench press.
One of the best options for these thicker oversized grips is “Fat Gripz.” These will stay locked in place and are highly effective for improving your grip strength on all pushing exercises.
5. DumbBell farmers walk
Dumbbell farmers walks are one of the best exercises for boosting your grip strength and also building lean muscle mass. This is an old school bodybuilding exercise and requires that you simply grab a pair of heavy dumbbells and walk with them in a straight line.
You should aim to go for 20-30 seconds, and this will blast your forearms as you are forced to hold the weight while your entire arms, deltoids, and traps break down. These also indirectly work your quadriceps.
Farmer’s walks are one of the best exercises for building thick and muscular forearms and preparing your body for compound exercise movements such as the deadlift and barbell row.