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Finlay's picture
dynamic grip and grabbing training

for use of the pulling and and gripping how do you guys train outside of active grappling?

things that i have used am using:

hammers, small heavy one or sledge for single hand or whole body movement

kettlebells, ever since i started training with them my grip hase got alot stronger

sandbag, i like using it but i need some more ideas

old bicycle inner tube, one of my old chinese teacher told me to tie an inner tube round a tree and then practice diffierent pulling techniques, really works your fingers

Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture

One simple one is to hang an old gi over a chin-up bar and do chin-ups (head one side and then the other side) while holding onto the gi collar. The judo club I used to train at had a homemade hanging cloth with relatively thick hems on both sides (around 8 feet long with the bottom at head height). They would then grip both sides and a climb up using just the arms. Again, a very good one for gripping and pulling. Simple rope climbs also do the job. If you have space, tying a thick rope around a large tyre (or anything else that will provide a good resistance when dragged) and then pulling it towards you in a hand over hand fashion as quickly as possible can also work gripping and pulling. Squeezing squash balls can also be good and I used to keep such a ball in my car from some impromptu training when stuck in traffic. I also like the powerballs (http://www.powerballs.com/) for forearm training, which relates to gripping, and I have a couple in this office. If we want to keep things as basic as possible, holding the arms out in front of you and rapidly and forcefully extending the fingers / clenching the fist until the forearms burn out can also help.

For us martial arts types, gripping strength is obviously very important and it’s often overlooked in general fitness training. Quite a few of the non-martial artists that I have lifted weights with over the years use hand straps for certain lifts in order to minimise the chance of the grip giving way before the muscles being primarily worked. This is something I’ve never done (aside from a brief period where I was working around an injury) as it’s important that the grip is worked too for the martial arts.

I’d be very interested to hear how others have trained this aspect.

All the best,


Wastelander's picture

I do a couple of things:

Throw my judogi top over pull-up bars and do pull-ups on the sleeves as Iain said.


Strike a makiwara with palm heel strikes and grab it and pull it back toward myself.

Tie my belt to a heavy bag and use it to work my strikes with hiki-te.

Use a grip exerciser while sititng at my desk

MykeB's picture

Using a reverse grip, ie. palm down, when doing curles, doing standing high rows etc. 

Kettle bell swings and tosses.  You can do them with a standard dumbell, but be on your toes as the design makes it a little harder. 

Wrist rollers, a hold over from my time wrestling.  Vary the weight and reps.  

Making myself do "pinched" lifts when carrying things around the house.  Just turning those everyday needs for strength into a training opportunity.  Carrying lumber with a pinched instead of cupped, hand under, grip helps. 

Doing stick work with a heavy, hard would stick instead of lighter rattan.

WadoChaz's picture

I do alot of training in my gym with various Martial Artists lately and every now and again I piece together a "theme circuit", one of which was grip strength and endurance.

For this I laid out a workout consisting on 20 barbell Clean and Press then pick up a 5kg dumbell in each hand but holding it by gripping the end with your fingertips, hold Sanchin stance and move the length of the hall whilst gripping the weights by your side.

When they reach the other end they would raise the weights infront ala a front raise and then to the side ala a lateral dumbell raise, but still gripping the weights at the ends with their fingertips. Repeat 5 times.

Then pick up a barbell and 20 reverse curls (palm down) to work forearms.

Grab the Dumbells with your fingers and move back across the hall in a long Zenkutsu dachi stance.

Once at the end they would use an old fashioned wrist roller, a piece of old broomhandle with a rope fixed to the middle and tied to a weight plate, roll the handle in your hands to wrap the rope around it and pull the weight up.

Then 20 Pressups on their knuckles.

Rince and repeat till they cry.

Was great fun (well... for me! lol) and made it next to impossible to grip the steering wheel on the drive home!

karate10's picture

For gripping, believe it or not, I crush an old piece of news paper at work....Soon after, I need to wash off the ink off my palms.

miket's picture

Something I stumbled on while meandering around Youtube.

I thought this was an OK method for power development and solo training for when no partner is available.  And, as dumb as it might be, I suppose you could stuff the arms of an old jacket, belt it tightly to a hanging bag (or better, a grappling dummy) and probably find someway to practice uchikomi's and the like.

Personally, I also like resistance bands and the aforementioned kettle snatches; and, again, as dumb as it might be, there is always the old spring loaded gripping dumbells.

Since you said "dynamic", I assume you mean 'from movement' and not general strength, however, so I would use active snatches or resistance band / the old 'belt on the wall' uchikomi's of some kind.  Obviosously, the blet is the 'old' method, and the bands are the 'new'.


These are really good solo drills in my opinion.

You can also use the longer more expensive 'official' resistance bands harness like to develop shoots etc.   Somebody out there is even making an RB punching harness, endorsed by a couple of the big UFC names but I don't know anybody who has used it personally.  Seems like it would work to me.


Zach Zinn
Zach Zinn's picture

We did the innertube uchikomi in Judo class, I liked it so much I do it at home with resistance bands etc.

Not so much for grip training (though that's a nice side benefit), but more because it forces you to correct your posture for throws..if you stumble backwards or something when doing the fit in for seionageor something, you can immediately indentify and fix it this way.

For grip training (among other things) I work with club bells or chi ishi. Kris Wilder had at his dojo once this big, awkwardly filled sandbag you could toss around, it was probably about 15 pounds or so but really weird weight distribution so hard to catch, that was fun and in a  similar vein.

Also, years of doing massage will also help with a strong grip ;)

Kevin73's picture

 Sorry to necro the thread....

A couple of things that I use are

Captains of Crush handgrippers, you can get them in various sizes starting at 100 lbs (trainer) and up from there.  Most people can only close up to #2 (195 lbs).

Valeo makes a ball filled with sand that weighs 10 lbs. It is about the size of a large grapefruit, or a softball.  It really works the grib to throw it up and catch it.

Power Putty, it is made for mountain climbers and really exercises the grip for crushing things.  It also comes in various resistance levels.