The 5 Best Exercises for Forearm & Hand Strength
Tired of having your grip, forearm and hand strength being the thing failing in your lifting or holding you back in your workouts?
Let’s fix that with my go-to exercises for grip…
#5: False Grip Pull-Ups & Rows
A false grip is a technique where the wrist is flexed throughout the pulling movement. It’s often used for strict ring muscle-up work on the rings, but more accessible variations still have lots of benefits. Exercises like Ring Rows with a false grip, and even other exercises like Sandbag Deadlifts without a lock or tire flips will mimic the same strength requirement.
#4: Freestanding Handstand Holds
While the wrist in a false grip is closed down (flexion), the wrist in a handstand is turned the opposite way (extension). This is one reason why Handstands are a great addition for overall wrist health and open hand forearm & grip strength. Static handstand holds have the most benefit because the balance is drawn from pressing the fingers into the ground. Even if you haven’t graduated to a freestanding handstand hold yet, variations using a rig and a band or against a wall are still great options.
#3: Pinch Grip Holds or Carries
Pinch grip is a way of saying that the thumb is working on the opposite side of the rest of the fingers. It’s important not to neglect pinch grip because it develops the strength of the thumb to create strong opposition in the hand itself (versus the forearm). There is specialty grip equipment out their for developing this particular kind of grip strength, but plates pinches of various thicknesses and sizes are a great, readily available option.
#2: Climbing Rope Work
The climbing rope is unique (versus a barbell or pull-up bar) because it is (a) much thicker and (b) the forearms are generally more parallel to the line of the rope. Both these factors put more tax on the grip.
Besides the effective traditional variations like legless rope climbs, hang from the rope and pull-ups are great additions to tax the grip and pulling musculature.
#1: Double Overhand Grip for Barbell Work
However, my favorite way to build grip strength for most athletes is simply limiting the amount of mixed grip deadlifting and barbell work with a hookgrip they do.
While these techniques are important performance enhancers for an athlete to be familiar with, over time they also can become a crutch.
A good place to start is by using a double overhand grip for any barbell work in your warm-ups that is under a certain percentage of your one rep max…say 70 percent.
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Implement these exercises and it will ensure a strong grip won’t be the thing holding you back as your strength continues to climb!
Related: Top 5 Exercises for Knee Health