When we are training our fitness, 85% of the time we are holding onto something. If you have missed a max lift because you couldn’t hold onto the barbell or you could have finished Fran faster because you slipped off the bar, then it’s time to evaluate your hooks.

Grip and Rip!

The benefits to developed grip strength:

  1. Increase in overall strength: Grip a heavier load for max effort lifts
  2. Increase in overall endurance: Grip a lighter load for longer periods of time
  3. Decrease risk of injury: Protect joints and tissue

The 3 best ways to develop:

  1. Mobilize it: The musculature and tissue involved in your grip needs to be mobile and free of restrictions.
  2. Stabilize & Strengthen it: Stability of your wrists, elbows, and shoulder joints are the foundation for building and recruiting strength.
  3. Endure it: Once you are stable and strong, it’s time to develop your endurance.

Mobility -> Stability -> Strength -> Endurance

1. Mobilization

The musculature of your lower arm takes some abuse during wods and during the workday. Often times athletes will roll and stretch major muscle groups, and forget about the smaller groups like the forearms up to the shoulder/neck. Applying soft and deep tissue work starting in the traps, shoulders, upper arm, as well as the pec & lat insertions will have a direct correlation on the alignment and mechanics of your grip. Tendinitis in the elbow not only comes from overuse, but how poorly positioned or maintained the shoulder girdle is. Get into your tissue before and after workouts!

Desk people, your wrists are just like your hip flexors, short and immobile. It is extremely important to get them moving around during the day to keep them mobile.

2. Stabilization & Strength

When developing your grip, incorporate exercises that involve stabilizing the shoulder. A mobile and stable shoulder will allow for proper mechanics of your grip. Refer to the list below for ideas on stability and strength exercises. When incorporating these movements into your program, look at mechanics that are not often used in your WODs. For example, pinching and rotating movements, or using odd objects during strength work or wods for more variety in strengthening your grip.

3. Endurance

Training your grip for endurance should involve building up to holding on to weight for more than 1 minute. For example, hanging from the pull-up bar or rings for the maximum amount of time you can. Utilizing grip endurance in wods will allow you to gain more time performing a lift or similar movement to where you may have had to stop to rest your grip in the past. Refer to the list below on how to develop grip endurance.


Stabilization/Strength: (Use standard grip or hook grip)

  • Bottom up kettle floor press
  • Bottom up kettle shoulder press
  • Bottom up kettle waiter walk
  • Bottom up Turkish getup
  • Russian and American swings with hook grip
  • False grip ring rows and pull-ups
  • Legless rope climbs
  • Reverse grip pull-ups
  • Reverse grip deadlifts
  • Reverse single-unders and double-unders


  • Static Holds: using standard grip and or hook grip
  • Max bar hang: single and double arm hang
  • Dual Farmer Kettle Hold or barbell hold
  • Bottoms up kettle overhead hold (waiter carry): single arm and double
  • False grip ring hang
  • Plate pinch farmers carry

Odd object training:

  • Bucket farmers carry
  • Sledge hammer tire hits
  • Towel pull-ups
  • Sand bag deadlifts
  • Sandbag clean and press
  • Towel kettle holds
  • Fat bar training