Building a Hulk like grip for Crossfit
Do you feel like your grip is holding you back? A few weeks ago I was practicing my rope climbs and, I know I should be doing rope climbs more often but when you have SO many things to master in Crossfit it’s hard to fit everything in.
I was there hanging on the rope, sliding my feet up and I’m like “I’m owning this”, then after 3 climbs my grip was burning like a hot day in the Sahara.
I gave it 5 minutes and they were still baked, it was so annoying. I did a WOD just after which included chest to bars and I couldn’t hold long enough for 3 reps at a time.
I made it a priority to improve my grip for Crossfit, here are the things I tried. If you’re like me and don’t have the time to do isolation exercises then read on.
Lift Heavy to smash your grip for Crossfit
This sounds so obvious and you’re probably like “duh”, just hear me out. On Deadlift day load your bar up to what you would normally do, perform your reps, then at the end of the exercise hold the bar for as long as you can. When my grip was giving out I then dropped the bar to my fingers and held until I literally dropped it.
In general, any pulling exercises that involve weights will improve that grip, my favourite (out of any of the barbell movements) is the Hang Power Clean, I perform these starting from the waist, getting into that ‘power’ position (leaning forward technique) and then shrugging it up and shooting those elbows out with the bar ending up and across your collarbone. The idea is to load that bar up, the change in grip gives the forearms (including the grip) a great workout.
Another great one is Farmer Carries grip for Crossfit, these make use of the kettle bell. The idea is to pick up a weight that is challenging, you should feel that grip working instantly, if you’re in the middle of a WOD it can be an issue that everything else fatigues before your grip. So like the Deadlifts, pick up the kettle bell after the WOD and hold it for as long as you can to finish off.
Pull-ups to improve your grip for Crossfit
Quite an obvious one but worth mentioning, if you’re anything like me, your grip goes on these too. Holding onto that bar already starts to work that grip and after 10 reps, the grip starts to fatigue. One method that I got from Brazillian Jiu-jitsu is the Gi pull-up, but in the Crossfit world we can use a towel, simply wrap the towel over the bar and with both hands grip it, like you would with a rope. Then perform strict pull-ups, or hold on for as long as you can.
Another favourite is the bar hang, it can be quite difficult to do hangs after a pull-ups, but it’s a great finisher. If you do this separately I would use weights for extra resistance. I’ve seen guys take this to all sorts of levels, 1 hand, 1 hand with a kettle bell in the other, freaks.
Thick bars & equipment to improve your grip for Crossfit
If you have the opportunity to use a thick bar, use it in your workouts for a while, if you don’t have one at your box then there are grips that you can buy that fit onto normal pull-up bars. They essentially pad out the bar so that you have to work that bit harder, this also depends on the diameter that you use.
There are other bits of equipment that you can find to make this grip quest more interesting, I found these ones (which I haven’t used) but look very interesting. Without a doubt a very creative way to work out that grip at the same time as performing pull-ups. I’m interested to hear if anyone has used any of these.