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Get (G)Ripped - Advanced Grip Strengthening! (Part 2/3)

Updated: May 20, 2023

October 17th, 2020

Welcome to part 2 of our get a grip blog series. Today’s blog will focus on advanced gym and pole based gripping exercises. Before continuing any further please read blog one which can be found here.

The previous blog focused primarily on exercises that would strengthen the wrist and forearm alone. However, a huge emphasis should be placed also on strengthening the whole upper limb. The stronger your shoulder and elbows, the less work the wrist has to do. Same goes for any tricks that have a leg gripping point. The stronger the leg grip, the lighter the grip load.

Today’s advanced gripping exercises include exercises to strengthen the whole upper body. So let’s get into them!

1. Dead hangs – STRAIGHT & CUP GRIP strengthening. This exercise can be done in a variety of grip positions depending on your bar setup. Focus should be on engaging the muscles of the shoulder blade by actively engaging the shoulders away from the ears. Not shown: A straight grip version can be done by hanging a towel over the bar and holding on.

2. Farmer’s carry – CUP & STRAIGHT GRIP strengthening. This exercise can be done with either one or two hands carrying the weight at the same time. Correction position is to resist the downward pull of the weight but actively maintaining a slight upward shrug of the shoulder whilst walking.

3. Farmer’s carry with towel – STRAIGHT GRIP strengthening. As above however this is set up with a towel to mimic the demands of a straight grip.

4. Sled pulls +/- towel – STRAIGHT GRIP strengthening. Well I didn’t have a sled but I was able to improvise. No towel is needed with an actual sled but you can use one to assist if you also need to improvise.

5. Barbell Levers – STRAIGHT & CUP GRIP strengthening. This exercise is particularly helpful at eccentrically strengthening the muscles of ulnar and radial deviation. These muscles are quite heavily loaded in positions such as Jamilla and Shoulder Mounts. I would suggest an 8kg-12kg barbell for this exercise as the olympic size bars are too heavy to start.

6. Barbell finger rolls – STRAIGHT & CUP GRIP strengthening. This exercise can also be done with dumbbells are is a great one to strengthen up the long and short finger flexors.

7. Barbell flicks – STRAIGHT &CUP GRIP strengthening. Start with a light broomstick and lots of reps to build endurance. You can progress to a barbell when comfortable. The purpose of this exercise is to strengthen the wrist extensors

8. Barbell stability – STRAIGHT & CUP GRIP strengthening. Well this exercise just trains everything from overhead strength to proprioceptive engagement to cup grip strength. Check out the different variations in the video with the dowel rod and the barbell.

NOTE: Next to each video I have explained which grip the exercise will primarily strengthen. However you will see with the ‘cup grip exercises’ the weight was not held in a cup grip for most of the exercises - i.e the thumb was not in the correct cup grip position next to the fingers but in a power grip instead. If you wanted to progress these exercises or make them more specific to a cup grip you can place the thumb on the same side of the weight as the rest of the fingers. Otherwise I would just recommend a standard power style grip for anyone starting out.

Another alternative to training grip strength is to add fat gripz to any weighted exercise you do. This is a cushioned pad that you place around the weight that increases the size of your grip which makes it harder to hold onto. Doing this helps to strengthen the small intrinsic muscles of the hand.

Stay tuned for part 3 of our get a grip series which will focus on a range of different grip strengthening and conditioning style exercises you can do with the pole!

Wrist injured or wanting tailored guidance and rehabilitation for your grip strength?

Online telehealth appointments can be booked with the Pole Physio via our ‘Book Online’ page that can be found here. Assessment and tailored rehabilitation are provided in accordance with best practice and evidence-based treatment to help you unleash your 'poletential'.

Until next time, train safe.

The Pole Physio


Disclaimer: This information is not tailored to you as an individual and do not constitute as medical advice. If you have medical or injury concerns, then please individually consult with a medical professional.


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