4 Esoteric Methods For Increasing Your Grip Strength

If you will recall, a few weeks ago I published an article on how to train the grip. In that article I stated:

You will not have a heavy deadlift, overhead press, or bench press if you have weak hands. And for athletes, your punching, wrestling, grappling, throwing, and catching will be ineffectual without proper forearm training. In the words of Thomas Inch and many other pre-20th century strongmen, weak hands makes a weak man.

And I stand by that statement. I feel that training the hands and forearms is of such importance, that another article on training the grip is necessary. More specifically, this article will deal with other methods of training that are slightly more esoteric than the DIY techniques discussed in the last article, but can be done in conjunction with those techniques to truly create awe-inspiring forearm strength.


The Techniques

A muscle group that is often neglected by those wanting stronger hands and forearms are the hand extensors, the muscles that lift the fingers up as shown in the picture below:


These muscles can be trained in two ways: The first are the fingertip levers lay your hand flat on the floor, and put a weight plate  on top of your fingers. Then lift your fingers up, lifting the plate slightly up. Lower and repeat for repetitions. This can be done with all fingers, or one finger, or any combination of fingers depending on what your training goals are.

levering weight

A variation of this is to hold your hand in the air with fingers down, and then applying pressure to the fingers with your other hand, lift the fingers up. Do a few repetitions of this for each hand. Then do this for each thumb as well.


The next series of exercises that can be done will require a set of the Chinese iron balls. Perhaps you already own a pair of these for reducing stress or meditation. Or you can borrow a pair from your parents or a co-worker (it’s likely somebody in your life owns one). If you can’t get of these for free, you can go to a local Asian foods market and pick up a pair for somewhere in the ballpark of 10 dollars. And if all else fails, you can  buy a set from a martial arts supply company such as the ones in this link.

Now that you have a pair of them, take the two in your hand, with your palm up, and begin circling the balls around in your palm using your fingers.


That’s pretty easy, right? Anybody should be able to do this. “How is this supposed to make me stronger?” you might ask-and to that I would say-try turning your palm down and circling the balls in your palm.


As if you didn’t think I was cool enough, I play guitar too!

This is much more difficult-indeed, you will most likely not be able to do this on your first try. As an intermediate step, take the balls and turn your  hand 90 degrees, and circle the balls. If you still can’t do this, start with the palm up and slightly rotate your hand more and more until you can hold the hand at a 90 degree angle from the palm-up position.


From here, continue rotating the hand more and more until you can hold the palms down and circle the balls. Once you can circle the balls with the palms down, you will notice that all fingers are straining greatly in this exercise. Do this for both hands.


Observe the flexion in my thumb and fingers

When this becomes too easy (ie: When you can do at least 10 rotations of the balls with palms down), try doing it with three balls. If that becomes too easy, do four balls. And if you still need harder exercises, grip world record holder John Brookfield suggests buying 5 pound shotputs and starting the process all over again. Bear in mind that I can only do three balls with palms down—if you are capable of doing this exercise with the shotputs, you are likely a world record holder.

Now that we are on the subject of the hoary Orient, another forearm training technique they have invented is sand blasting. You have likely seen this done in martial arts films such as Enter the Dragon: standing above a bucket of sand, explosively thrust your fingers into the sand as deep as possible, until you can touch the bottom. In traditional kung fu schools, the buckets are filled with mung beans, sand, and finally Iron BBs. While this thrusting technique will condition your outstretched fingers to take impact and build up calluses on them, this will not specifically develop the grip.

To develop the grip with sand blasting, once your hand is in the sand, clench and unclench your fist—you will be surprised at how difficult this is, particularly if you bury your hand up to the wrist. If this is too difficult, bury your hand up to the big knuckle and gradually work up to the wrist. As the explosiveness is not really necessary for developing the grip, you can “worm” your hand into the sand rather than thrusting it in with one move.


And finally, a deceptively simple method of training the grip is bar twirling. Have you ever twirled a drum stick? Imagine doing that, but twirling a long piece of iron rebar. The aforementioned John Brookfield recommends a 4 foot long, 3/4 inch thick rebar. Just twirl the bar slowly and deliberately with all fingers.

If you cannot do the rebar, just a curtain rod and build up to the thick bar. Once the 3/4 inch thick bar becomes too easy, work up to a 1 inch thick bar, and so on and so forth.


It may seem that two articles on grip training is redundant, but having two articles just emphasizes its importance. Now that you have sufficiently trained your grip to a high degree, you can begin learning “Tricks” that will both show off your strength, and develop your hand strength further. But perhaps that will be for another day.

Read More: Two Do-It-Yourself Methods For Training Your Forearms

67 thoughts on “4 Esoteric Methods For Increasing Your Grip Strength”

  1. I remember your last article and have been doing some of those exercises. Curious, what do you think of fat gripz?

        1. Make sure you drink it with a straw. Don’t know where those kids have been.

    1. Mayan lunges! Need a virgin to sacrifice now….aaaaaaaaaaaand I’m skipping leg day.

        1. You’ll be paying for better quality.
          FAR better quality, in my experience.
          As an “unintended consequence”, with increased labor costs and accountability, perhaps the rampant overdevelopment will be curbed and that too will improve housing quality as those McMansions are being slapped together as fast as possible; haste makes waste.

        2. I’m not so sure. I think you will be paying for higher taxes. And after all, if people are not satisfied with the quality surely they wouldn’t buy the houses?

        3. There’s no choice, if you want to live here, you have to buy your shoddily made, hastily constructed McMansion.
          Around here, a 4 story townhouse in a development will cost you almost $600,000, and that’s if you’re an early adopter.
          Point being, even if the prices were to increase people would still pay. With prices that high, you know there’s waste and/or abuse going on, which could be curbed to afford real American workers and the superior worksmanship that they bring.

        4. This is why I wouldn’t buy a house or land in the West. You are quite likely to wind up with shoddy workmanship. I actually did work in the industry while I was in college. You can buy a house and land for peanuts in the Third World. Choose your spot and now you have an escape hatch.

    1. The last thing you want is a woman with a strong grip fondling your balls.
      And actually I believe that this was the method for castrating young boys before entering them into the Castrati. Voices like angels I understand.

      1. I was given to understand that they were choked out and then were subject to the same treatment given to male pigs.
        Kinda like the duplicitous idiot Joni Ernst, famed wearer of breadbags and “castratrix” of hogs, claimed she was going to do in DC.
        …The right-wing base has a serious problem vetting politicians who run for office solely on their military history and Ernst is just another name on that long list.

  2. In the last ROK post about this important topic I recommended getting a big wad of kneaded rubber eraser and keeping it by your masturbation-station to build much needed strength in your forearms. It has other uses as well. You can drop it in a sock and bludgeon someone with it, leaving skull fractures that would baffle even the most seasoned forensic investigator. Can buy it by the case on Amazon.
    And let me take this opportunity to plug my latest blog post :
    How to Crack HR

        1. Real good I sure miss those spearhead days. Most fun I ever had on the net.
          Have you kept in touch with Price.

        2. Price seems to have dropped out of cyber-space, probably to concentrate on his kid. The effort to run the Spearhead was not worth the return. Not sure how to get that Spearhead magic back.

    1. Al Bundy employment game:

      “I’m naturally inquisitive, for instance, I’m wondering just how strong that chair is you’re sitting on”

  3. I do not understand why some people advocate grip training for forearm size. Let’s face it; girls don’t care how strong your grip is but they like nice forearms. The way to train your forearms is to do barbell wrist curls in both directions (extensors and flexors). You don’t train your biceps or chest with static holds and isometrics; why should the forearms be any different? Nowadays I take the forearm through its entire range of motion just like we were taught to do with every muscle group. I think that the grip shit started with pot bellied powerlifters smirking at bodybuilders and figuring that the disc herniating heavy deads would be enough for the forearms.

    1. Is the forearm still “en vogue”?
      In principle, women want a decently-muscled man. That said, which muscles are emphasized has changed over time. I suppose men have the same thing going as chunky women were en vogue once too 🙁
      Not that long ago, the calf muscles were all the rage as they indicated that a man was of the gentry as he fenced. Today, women ogling a calf muscle only seems to exist as a joke and it’s really all about the bicep.

    1. I got leered at by my boss the other day. We had a VIP come visit, and I gave him a man-shake. Guy reciprocates by giving me a limp one. Then says I have the weirdest handshake he’s seen. Boss acts as if it’s my fault that the guy is a poose.

        1. ewww wet soft hand limp noodle handshake is enough to make me puke.

        1. I’d say Hoover would’ve liked me, but I don’t think Hoover liked anyone.

        2. Was Hoover hiring manly men for the good of the agency, or was that just an unintended side effect of his gayness?

        3. He is buried alongside his Reggie Love-esque “bodyman”, his male equivalent to Hillary’s Huma Abedin (Clyde Tolson)…

        4. While I don’t believe Hoover was gay despite evidence to the contrary, he first and foremost wanted an elite police agency. He required suits and hats at all times. He preferred to hire accountants and attorneys, because he wanted people that could go after high value criminals. You’ll notice the FBI of today they make their arrests wearing jackets that say FBI, they are much more casual today. It’s not as professional and elite as it used to be.

        5. The days when the “G-man” was classy.
          I’d like to see a return to that, though the FBI is federal overreach and should’ve been ended after Hoover demonstrated that.
          This reminds me that Hoover made his FBI into the “civilian national security force” that 0bama infamously called for but has, after 8 years (thankfully) been unable to deliver.

      1. I wonder if the weaker mens handshake is a result from there being some kind of social need to shake women’s hands now.
        To this day, in business, I do my best to always avoid giving a woman a proper handshake.

  4. The trouble I have always had with specific grip strength exercises is that it is time consuming and dull. You really have to want to do it. I have tried and eventually just faded away.
    Another way is to take exercises that you do anyway and combining them with grip strength exercises. For example, try doing planks and press-ups on your finger-tips from time to time.
    But in fact, serious grip strength can come from your sport. The most ferocious grip I have ever experienced came from a Thai gentleman who had 40 odd years of Muay Thai experience. His grip was irresistibly and he could bend your head down effortlessly and knee you in the face.

    1. planks and pressups on fingers is a good one. Lately I have been, on the advice of someone I respect, working my ring finger and pinky hard around the bar on bench presses. It weakens my push a little, but does wonders for the grip.

      1. Indeed. Or a thick bar for deadlifts etc. Another method of increasing grip strength in combination with another exercise. Helps to save time, our most precious resource!

        1. Spot on, or wrap around grips (like Fat Gripz) to turn an ordinary bar into a thick bar…

        2. I am currently petitioning my gym to get a thick bar for deadlifts. I figure I will use it on my light days and it will be great for that.

    2. I don’t think gripping someone’s skull is really gripping and uses completely different muscles though forearms will help too.

        1. Unless you have Andre the Giant hands, it’s hard to really grip someone’s skull.

  5. Get a big, heavy hammer and 200 nails. Find some old wood and hammer then all in. 100 for each hand.

  6. Fat Gripz (or similar, Fat Gripz seem to me the best brand) added to your barbell or dumbbells. Improves grip strength dramatically at no extra cost while you are exercising everything else. Actually as small short-term cost as your lifts will go down when you start with them, but will soon get back up…

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