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Grip Strengthener - Need Advice

Justin_7272Justin_7272 Member Posts: 293 Member Member Posts: 293 Member
My grip during deadlifts is failing around 7-8 RPE (i.e. 2-3 reps left in the tank). My dominant hand is good, but non-dominant fails in my pinky and ring fingers. Thumb-under grip mildly helps, and resting and switching mid-set to mixed grip allows set completion. I'd like to strengthen my grip to allow traditional grip throughout the lifts, so I need to strengthen my grip. Here's what I'm looking for.

1. Something that works. I'd like to keep price ~$100 or less, but can and will pay more if justified.
2. Something that is progressive/adjustable. I'd like something that will allow progressive grip strength increase over time.
3. The ability to track increase. Be it by an app with manual input or a strengthener with bluetooth connectivity (prefer a combination) so that I can measure and see results.

I work a desk job typing, so space-wise I have plenty of room and could use a corded/strapped device if need-be. I'm not concerned with aesthetics or how "dumb" something looks, either sitting there or while in use, I want it to work.

Any input is appreciated. Thanks in advance!
edited July 18

Replies

  • davew0000davew0000 Member Posts: 124 Member Member Posts: 124 Member
    I’ve had the same problem. I improved my grip strength by doing deadlifts and holding at the top. I used my top warm up weight and held at the top for around 30s.

    This is a very specific form of grip strength training for deadlifts. It’s worked and my grip strength no longer my limiting factor, for now at least.
  • ChieflrgChieflrg Member Posts: 9,015 Member Member Posts: 9,015 Member
    7-8 RPE at what part of your training?

    For advice it would be useful to know a bit more info on your training. A good example would be the following...

    Warm up sets double overhand until 405lbs. Then switch grip until around 550lb of triples my grip seems to go. I only use liquid chalk and lifting straps for accessories to the DL. I've never tried hook grip as of yet.

    ^^^ This example gives an good idea of what is going on.

    I'm not sure what you mean by "traditional grip" needs to improve.

    If you are looking to improve your deadlift grip then you need to train your deadlift grip appropriately within your programming. I wouldn't spend a cent on anything that claims to improve it as its basically marketing a gimmick.
  • Justin_7272Justin_7272 Member Posts: 293 Member Member Posts: 293 Member
    Chieflrg wrote: »
    7-8 RPE at what part of your training?

    For advice it would be useful to know a bit more info on your training. A good example would be the following...

    Warm up sets double overhand until 405lbs. Then switch grip until around 550lb of triples my grip seems to go. I only use liquid chalk and lifting straps for accessories to the DL. I've never tried hook grip as of yet.

    I'm not sure what you mean by "traditional grip" needs to improve.

    Traditional grip - double overhand (pronated grip).

    Failing at 7-8 RPE on 1st heavy set (10 RPE) of heavy day. I'm running All-Pros, so this is one day a week. Working Deadlifts are 1 x 9, 10, 11, or 12 depending on the week of the cycle (week 1 = 9, 2 = 10, etc.). Reps are 1 x 50% working weight at week's rep, 1 x @ 50%, then 2 x 100% working weight (10 RPE). Failure is at 7-9 RPE during working sets; at which I can rest and switch to mixed grip to finish.

    The All-Pros structure takes a second to wrap your brain around, but makes sense once you have a grasp on it; hopefully the above makes sense.
  • nossmfnossmf Member Posts: 1,595 Member Member Posts: 1,595 Member
    I work my grip strength with suitcase carries. (They're just like farmer's carries, but only hold a DB in one hand, the other is left open, adds a bit of core stability work to keep shoulders level.) Easy to track weight increases as well as time spent holding the weight. A good goal is to work up to half your deadlift weight per hand.

    Unfortunately, if you deadlift large amounts of weight, odds are you won't be able to find DB's that massive. (Biggest DB's in my gym are 120, which is less than half of my working weight of 315, which is dwarfed by guys like @Chieflrg ) In this case, you can load up a BB with half the deadlift weight, grasp it in the center and lift. You can either hold it oriented across your body (such as during a deadlift) or aligned along your body (like the handle of an enormous suitcase), but in both instances walking around with the weight is probably out of the question, so you'll just have to stand still.
  • davew0000davew0000 Member Posts: 124 Member Member Posts: 124 Member
    No doubt a daft question, but isn’t failure at RPE7-8 a contradiction in terms? I guess you’re saying that if your grip was stronger you could lift more. But we’re only as strong as our weakest link, right?
  • nossmfnossmf Member Posts: 1,595 Member Member Posts: 1,595 Member
    Failing at 7-8 RPE on 1st heavy set (10 RPE) of heavy day.

    Ok, now I'm confused. Are you RPE 7-8, or RPE 10?
  • claireychn074claireychn074 Member, Premium Posts: 568 Member Member, Premium Posts: 568 Member
    Ultimately you may have to change your grip. There is a reason why you see a lot of mixed grip in competitions, and hookgrip (once you’re used to it) is also a lot stronger than regular overhand grip. All grips have their pros and cons - mixed grip can cause a swing out / bicep imbalances, and hookgrip feels like your thumbs are being torn off. The other option is to use straps as an interim measure. I hookgrip the pull up bar and deadhang to improve my grip and tolerance to the thumb discomfort, but really it’s the snatches and cleans which improve my grip strength for them.
  • Mellouk89Mellouk89 Member Posts: 322 Member Member Posts: 322 Member
    Start doing pull-ups or weighed pull-ups, your grip strength will naturally increase.

    Or you could buy a wrist roller, it's a useful and fun exercise to do.
  • ChieflrgChieflrg Member Posts: 9,015 Member Member Posts: 9,015 Member
    davew0000 wrote: »
    No doubt a daft question, but isn’t failure at RPE7-8 a contradiction in terms? I guess you’re saying that if your grip was stronger you could lift more. But we’re only as strong as our weakest link, right?

    Good point. RPE rating is based of all aspects at for task at hand. I just had this talk with two of my newer clients too and overlooked this....ooops!

    I think a valid question I overlooked is are you or do you have asperations to compete in powerlifting? If not, then I'm curious why worried about grip strength.
  • Justin_7272Justin_7272 Member Posts: 293 Member Member Posts: 293 Member
    nossmf wrote: »
    Ok, now I'm confused. Are you RPE 7-8, or RPE 10?

    Grip is failing with 2-3 reps left in the tank. Sorry for any confusion.
    davew0000 wrote: »
    No doubt a daft question, but isn’t failure at RPE7-8 a contradiction in terms? I guess you’re saying that if your grip was stronger you could lift more. But we’re only as strong as our weakest link, right?

    I see what you're saying. In this instance I'm discussing RPE being musculature/skeletal/joint breakdown. In other words, but-for grip breakdown the rest of my body could complete 2-3 more reps.
    Chieflrg wrote: »
    I think a valid question I overlooked is are you or do you have asperations to compete in powerlifting? If not, then I'm curious why worried about grip strength.

    No power lifting aspirations ATM. Grip strength is a concern because I don't want to drop the bar (lifting before 8AM in a 5th floor condo w/ concrete floors) and I want to complete the sets without racking the bar between reps, as it seems to be an incomplete/cheat set.

    Appreciate all the feedback!
    edited July 21
  • jseams1234jseams1234 Member Posts: 1,197 Member Member Posts: 1,197 Member
    No power lifting aspirations ATM. Grip strength is a concern because I don't want to drop the bar (lifting before 8AM in a 5th floor condo w/ concrete floors) and I want to complete the sets without racking the bar between reps, as it seems to be an incomplete/cheat set.

    Then why not use straps or Versa/Cobra type grips? I'm not a powerlifter and sometimes I have to use them to make sure my workouts are not getting limited by my grip strength. I'll still go as far as I can without so my grip strength will continue to advance but I find myself using straps almost every workout at some point.
    edited July 21
  • rheddmobilerheddmobile Member Posts: 6,545 Member Member Posts: 6,545 Member
    nossmf wrote: »
    I work my grip strength with suitcase carries. (They're just like farmer's carries, but only hold a DB in one hand, the other is left open, adds a bit of core stability work to keep shoulders level.) Easy to track weight increases as well as time spent holding the weight. A good goal is to work up to half your deadlift weight per hand.

    Unfortunately, if you deadlift large amounts of weight, odds are you won't be able to find DB's that massive. (Biggest DB's in my gym are 120, which is less than half of my working weight of 315, which is dwarfed by guys like @Chieflrg ) In this case, you can load up a BB with half the deadlift weight, grasp it in the center and lift. You can either hold it oriented across your body (such as during a deadlift) or aligned along your body (like the handle of an enormous suitcase), but in both instances walking around with the weight is probably out of the question, so you'll just have to stand still.

    If your gym has a trap bar, farmer’s carries with a trap bar are a good solution. Wandering around with a trap bar isn’t as awkward as with a barbell.
  • ChieflrgChieflrg Member Posts: 9,015 Member Member Posts: 9,015 Member
    nossmf wrote: »
    Ok, now I'm confused. Are you RPE 7-8, or RPE 10?

    Grip is failing with 2-3 reps left in the tank. Sorry for any confusion.
    davew0000 wrote: »
    No doubt a daft question, but isn’t failure at RPE7-8 a contradiction in terms? I guess you’re saying that if your grip was stronger you could lift more. But we’re only as strong as our weakest link, right?

    I see what you're saying. In this instance I'm discussing RPE being musculature/skeletal/joint breakdown. In other words, but-for grip breakdown the rest of my body could complete 2-3 more reps.
    Chieflrg wrote: »
    I think a valid question I overlooked is are you or do you have asperations to compete in powerlifting? If not, then I'm curious why worried about grip strength.

    No power lifting aspirations ATM. Grip strength is a concern because I don't want to drop the bar (lifting before 8AM in a 5th floor condo w/ concrete floors) and I want to complete the sets without racking the bar between reps, as it seems to be an incomplete/cheat set.

    Appreciate all the feedback!

    Then just use lifting straps 👍.
  • ChieflrgChieflrg Member Posts: 9,015 Member Member Posts: 9,015 Member
    nossmf wrote: »
    I work my grip strength with suitcase carries. (They're just like farmer's carries, but only hold a DB in one hand, the other is left open, adds a bit of core stability work to keep shoulders level.) Easy to track weight increases as well as time spent holding the weight. A good goal is to work up to half your deadlift weight per hand.

    Unfortunately, if you deadlift large amounts of weight, odds are you won't be able to find DB's that massive. (Biggest DB's in my gym are 120, which is less than half of my working weight of 315, which is dwarfed by guys like @Chieflrg ) In this case, you can load up a BB with half the deadlift weight, grasp it in the center and lift. You can either hold it oriented across your body (such as during a deadlift) or aligned along your body (like the handle of an enormous suitcase), but in both instances walking around with the weight is probably out of the question, so you'll just have to stand still.

    If your gym has a trap bar, farmer’s carries with a trap bar are a good solution. Wandering around with a trap bar isn’t as awkward as with a barbell.

    Farmer's carries do not improve grip strength of the deadlift. Two entirely different lifts/applications. This is a notion that unfortunately is regurgitated as useful on the poison side of the fitness industry.. Also if his/her goal is to improve deadlift the fatigue from the intensity in farmers carries that is needed to be performed is not a good idea for driving progress in the deadlift.

    Think of it this way. If my deadlift grip fails around 650lbs...Im not going to be able to farmer walk 650lbs considering the specificity of my training. If I were to farmer walk let's say 475lbs that won't carry over towards my weakness at 650lbs. Also I would be using ALOT of energy towards farmers walks instead of my goal of improving deadlifts training. So we have a load management and programming the correct dose of stimulus as well.
  • nossmfnossmf Member Posts: 1,595 Member Member Posts: 1,595 Member
    Chieflrg wrote: »
    This is a notion that unfortunately is regurgitated as useful on the poison side of the fitness industry.

    While I think calling my advice "poison" is a bit dramatic, I do recognize your point of practicing the way you perform, or as the military calls it, "train the way you fight." I think farmer carries can be useful up to a point, but clearly not for power lifters or simply people considerably stronger than I ever will be.

    Personally, grip isn't my limiting factor, as I never exceed 5 reps pulling deadlifts before my form breaks down and injury risk skyrockets. Consequently I limit myself to sets of 3 at working weight. Am I costing myself potential gains? Sure, but it works for me as my goal is general strength and fitness, no longer shooting for PR's or competition.
  • rheddmobilerheddmobile Member Posts: 6,545 Member Member Posts: 6,545 Member
    Chieflrg wrote: »
    nossmf wrote: »
    I work my grip strength with suitcase carries. (They're just like farmer's carries, but only hold a DB in one hand, the other is left open, adds a bit of core stability work to keep shoulders level.) Easy to track weight increases as well as time spent holding the weight. A good goal is to work up to half your deadlift weight per hand.

    Unfortunately, if you deadlift large amounts of weight, odds are you won't be able to find DB's that massive. (Biggest DB's in my gym are 120, which is less than half of my working weight of 315, which is dwarfed by guys like @Chieflrg ) In this case, you can load up a BB with half the deadlift weight, grasp it in the center and lift. You can either hold it oriented across your body (such as during a deadlift) or aligned along your body (like the handle of an enormous suitcase), but in both instances walking around with the weight is probably out of the question, so you'll just have to stand still.

    If your gym has a trap bar, farmer’s carries with a trap bar are a good solution. Wandering around with a trap bar isn’t as awkward as with a barbell.

    Farmer's carries do not improve grip strength of the deadlift. Two entirely different lifts/applications. This is a notion that unfortunately is regurgitated as useful on the poison side of the fitness industry.. Also if his/her goal is to improve deadlift the fatigue from the intensity in farmers carries that is needed to be performed is not a good idea for driving progress in the deadlift.

    Think of it this way. If my deadlift grip fails around 650lbs...Im not going to be able to farmer walk 650lbs considering the specificity of my training. If I were to farmer walk let's say 475lbs that won't carry over towards my weakness at 650lbs. Also I would be using ALOT of energy towards farmers walks instead of my goal of improving deadlifts training. So we have a load management and programming the correct dose of stimulus as well.

    In my case I’m using farmer’s carries to improve farmer’s carries - as an actual farmer, grip strength etc are more valuable to me than a heavy deadlift. But interesting info re: the carryover into deadlift, or lack of.
  • SilkysausageSilkysausage Member Posts: 551 Member Member Posts: 551 Member
    Get a pen, use the other end to press into the fleshy part of the lower thumb near your palm. Bang in the middle press it until the discomfort subsides, do it to both hands.

    You can carry on up the arms to the elbow, finding areas on the extensor and flexor muscles along the way.

    These muscular trigger points through repetitive actions will reduce your grip. Hurts like a mother but works very very well but please don't go hell for leather, they don't need much pressure.
  • billkansasbillkansas Member Posts: 265 Member Member Posts: 265 Member
    I think deadlifting once a week for the past few years has been the best thing for my grip strength. Oddly, I can't remember the last time I failed a deadlift PR due to an over/under grip fail.
  • ritzvinritzvin Member, Premium Posts: 2,806 Member Member, Premium Posts: 2,806 Member
    As someone above stated, I use double overhand grip for all the warmup sets that I can - figuring that will help improve my grip strength over time, before switching to mixed grip, and then to versa grips. From what I can tell, it seems to be pretty common for double overhand grip to be more limiting than leg strength (so probably not something to be concerned about, especially if mixed grip does the job and you don't need any additional aids). (Side note to anyone else out there with child-sized hands: VersaGrips are amazing).
  • ChieflrgChieflrg Member Posts: 9,015 Member Member Posts: 9,015 Member
    Chieflrg wrote: »
    nossmf wrote: »
    I work my grip strength with suitcase carries. (They're just like farmer's carries, but only hold a DB in one hand, the other is left open, adds a bit of core stability work to keep shoulders level.) Easy to track weight increases as well as time spent holding the weight. A good goal is to work up to half your deadlift weight per hand.

    Unfortunately, if you deadlift large amounts of weight, odds are you won't be able to find DB's that massive. (Biggest DB's in my gym are 120, which is less than half of my working weight of 315, which is dwarfed by guys like @Chieflrg ) In this case, you can load up a BB with half the deadlift weight, grasp it in the center and lift. You can either hold it oriented across your body (such as during a deadlift) or aligned along your body (like the handle of an enormous suitcase), but in both instances walking around with the weight is probably out of the question, so you'll just have to stand still.

    If your gym has a trap bar, farmer’s carries with a trap bar are a good solution. Wandering around with a trap bar isn’t as awkward as with a barbell.

    Farmer's carries do not improve grip strength of the deadlift. Two entirely different lifts/applications. This is a notion that unfortunately is regurgitated as useful on the poison side of the fitness industry.. Also if his/her goal is to improve deadlift the fatigue from the intensity in farmers carries that is needed to be performed is not a good idea for driving progress in the deadlift.

    Think of it this way. If my deadlift grip fails around 650lbs...Im not going to be able to farmer walk 650lbs considering the specificity of my training. If I were to farmer walk let's say 475lbs that won't carry over towards my weakness at 650lbs. Also I would be using ALOT of energy towards farmers walks instead of my goal of improving deadlifts training. So we have a load management and programming the correct dose of stimulus as well.

    In my case I’m using farmer’s carries to improve farmer’s carries - as an actual farmer, grip strength etc are more valuable to me than a heavy deadlift. But interesting info re: the carryover into deadlift, or lack of.

    Yep. I would concur wirh your reasoning.
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