Grip goes unnoticed a lot of the time yet is in my opinion one of the coolest aspects of strength and if specifically trained for, not only augments your regular training but also allows you to do some awesome stuff.
Y THO?!: Grip training is cool to me because, unlike a lot of other gym work, it's a lot easier to show off and for normies to gawk at. You can squat 5 plates, but most folk who don't even lift won't understand the significance between that and squatting 2 plates. It's just heavy. However, if you can explode an apple in your bare hands. and your handshake is similar to shaking hands with an earthquake. That's fucking cool.
Regardless of which style you're training, you'll need to warm up. Hands and wrists are extremely overlooked with regards to recovery and aftercare, especially considering the abuse they get. If you've ever broken fingers, you'll know what I'm on about. It's doubly so if you lift. So, let's fire off some basic warm up drills before grip training, which can also be swapped in as active recovery work for hands.
Sweet, we've got some warm ups and recovery shit covered, what's next? Training of course. Training wise we can approach it like any other training, splitting it into hypertrophy and strength phases, and accounting for our new extra sets in our total weekly volume amount.
Make sure you're working both flexors and extensors of the forearm, as well as the actual muscles of the hand. So, you may choose to only hit forearms directly, since your grip will be getting a decent amount of time under tension, from the higher reps your doing on things like DLs and rows. Saving the actual concentric grip work for the strength phase also means you aren't going to compromise any training in hypertrophy for the sake of your grip. It may also be worth trying to push for using no straps in this phase as much as you can.
Exercise wise, wrist curls done with a bar or dumbbells, as well as the classic roller (the one where you have weights on a rope at the end of a stick, and you have to work the shaft to lift the weights.) Those are probably your best bet, and I'd personally recommend starting at about 6-8 working sets a week, playing it safe to start. Then progressing up to 14+ sets a week. As previously mentioned, your hands take a beating, so you'll need to watch their recovery carefully.
This will be where we add in some actual hand grip work. A large amount of your hands and fingers is connective tissue, meaning adaption as well as recovery, can take a lot longer than regular muscular tissue. However, it also means adaptive decay takes a lot longer. Training wise, ideally you want some form of hand gripper. There are plenty out there, however I've only had experience with captains of crush.
If you don't have one, and don't want to invest, you can do similar crush movements just by holding a dumbbell or kettlebell just in your fingertips, then curling it up into your palm. With the hand grippers, you just use your free hand to set it into the meat of your hand, then squeeze till it's purple.
As with most strength training, we aren't pushing volume, so probably work between 8 and 12 work sets a week, keeping proximity to failure reasonably high. Working rep ranges of 3-6, making sure with the grippers that you're closing them till they touch.
Other cool exercises:
Plate Pinches- This is where you put two or more plates together, smooth side out, and try to pick them up with one or two hands, depending on the weight.
Hub Grips- This is where you try and pick up a cast iron plate by the little inner raised hub. You'll only be able to grip it with your fingertips, in a style resembling the 'strong hand' guy from Scary Movie 2.
Nail bends- Now we're getting somewhere! Ideally the longer the nail the better leverage, but they tend to get girthier the longer you go. So, probably start with around a 70mm steel nail. You can get them any tradey pals you may have, or a bag of them from Wickes is about 6 schmekles. To set up the bend, roll the nail in a dish clothe, or thing towel. Then you want to hold it up in front of you, in a similar position to the top of a chin up. Knuckles facing away from you, hands at about chin level, you're then going to make sure you're gripping that thing real tight, then pull your elbows and away from each other. The end goal being that you are going from your pinkies touching each other, to all of you fingers touching each other, like you've fist bumped yourself, with the nail laid to waste before your mighty meat holsters.
Note, nails are sharp, please be careful if trying this, or if you aren't please film it so the rest of us can benefit from your idiocy.
I hope you found some of these tips helpful! If you did or didn't and want to tell me how much you love triangles. Please leave a comment down below. Also direct any failed nail bending attempt to @atsapproved on all social media.