Stop Grasping and Grabbing


Stop Grasping and Grabbing

You ever get to pull-up 57 and you fight for number 58 but you look like you’re about to pop a rib out of place or burst a blood vessel in your forehead?  Did you notice the dude (or dudette) next to you just did 3 reps while you convulsed for one?  You think, dang, they’re about as fit as me, how’d they make that look prettier than me?  Well, they may be as fit.  They’re just being strategic.  

If you’re doing any grip-demanding piece (i.e. farmer carry, pull-up, KB swing, clean), the less time gripping, the better for your grip!  Here’s a few tips to grabbing good and gripping without groveling:

  1. Break up the big numbers early.  If you have a lot of reps, it’s better to break it up into sensible chunks with small rests versus coming out of the gate with a monster set.  Example – if you have 100 KB Swings, it may be better to go 4 x 25 with 5 second rests versus doing a 40-rep opener only to watch you then go 20-15-10-6-4-4-2 with 5 second rests.  A big set may also cause you to elevate heart rate too high and cause you to extend rest periods.

  2. Get off the bar before you get ugly.  Back to the athlete who strains, struggles and wiggles to squeeze out that rep.  They just spent more time on the bar (resulting in a greater tax on grip strength). They also put out more energy to get that one rep (versus being in a better position to do the movement). This comes with experience.  Get off the (pull-up) bar before you have to struggle.  Be composed. Take a deep breath, shake out those forearms then go back and attack the reps.

  3. Externally rotate.  If you are carrying something of taking on any frontal load (i.e. deadlift, clean, a carry), externally rotate those shoulders. This will distribute the load more evenly and allow your upper body “hold” the load by preventing too much frontal carry.

Fitness Truth