A lot of my students and team mates ask about grip training for Judo, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Wrestling and Mixed Martial Arts. So here is one of my training routines. This one is my personal favorite. Give it a try, you won’t be dissapointed.

Dumbbell Hold
Dumbbells with large handles do a great job of challenging your grip. If you don’t have thick-grip dumbbells or barbells, you can purchase thick grip add ons. Other options include wrapping a small towel around the dumbbells or using extra-heavy dumbbells.

  • Assume a shoulder width stance, holding dumbbells at side
  • Hold dumbbells until grip failure
  • Repeat for reps

Sets/Reps: 5x failure

Dumbbell Pinches
Use Dumbbell Pinches to improve finger strength. You can use any hexagon-shaped dumbbell.

  • Assume a shoulder width stance with bench in front and dumbbells positioned vertically on bench
  • Grasp top of dumbbells with fingers surrounding dumbbells
  • Hold at sides until failure
  • For additional challenge, release one finger
  • Place dumbbells on bench; repeat for specified reps

Sets/Reps: 2-3x failure

Plate Pinches
For this exercise, you will need three five- or 10-pound plates, or two 25-pound plates per hand.

  • Stand shoulder width apart with bench in front and plates stacked on bench
  • Grasp plates, squeezing together with hands, and hold at sides until failure
  • Place plates on bench; repeat for specified reps

Sets/Reps: 2-3x failure

Free Hang Holds
This exercise uses your bodyweight as resistance and forces the muscles in your forearms and fingers to support your whole body. Use a pull-up bar, towels on a pull-up bar or TRX straps.

  • Grasp pull-up bar, towels or TRX straps with shoulder-width grip and palms facing away
  • Lower body until parallel to ground if using TRX straps
  • Hold position until failure; repeat for specified reps
  • For additional challenge, Add weight belt or hold with fingers on TRX

Sets/Reps: 2-3x failure

Farmer’s Walk
The Farmer’s Walk is a classic Strongman event that targets everything from the legs to the core to the forearms. Use dumbbells, kettle bells or Farmer’s Walk handles.

  • Hold heavy dumbbell or kettlebell in each hand
  • Keep arms straight next to sides
  • Walk in straight line for specified distance; maintain good posture
  • Keep core muscles tight

Sets/Reps: 5×20-30 yards

Rice Grabs
Rice Grabs improve grip strength for all athletes, but are particularly beneficial for judo and BJJ players because they mimic the motion of grabbing a gi. All you need for this exercise is uncooked rice and a container.

  • Reach fist or fists into bucket of rice and dig deep
  • Open and close hand, squeezing against rice
  • Perform for specified time

Sets/Reps: 5×60 seconds each hand