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How Do You Program Your Grip Training?

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I was just curious how folks around here program their grip training and if they also program it around their barbell lifting, if they do other training aside from grip that is. I am curious as how others plan their training sessions, as I am one of those people who is always looking for better more efficient ways to improve strength. Also I think discussion of things like this are good for others to gain ideas or points of view in training.


Myself:
After my back injury and time off, I have reconsidered how I train, both on the Barbell lifts with Wendler's 531 and in grip. I want to avoid injury long term so I have decided to do more of a well rounded grip training "routine" if you want to call it that. Thickbar (most important to me), pinch (second most) and grippers for crush strength on a regular basis. I figure if I can get my MM0 cert and close my #3 after rolling out of bed, without even cleaning the "sleep" out of my eyes and lift my blob after a handful of training sessions trying to, I should put more effort into these things and other aspects to see where my ceiling really is.

I am switching to training weights 3x a week using Wendler's 531 for powerlifting (though I don't compete in PL), which is really 351 with the first two weeks switched around, not going for more reps on any of the final work sets in place of some singles using your training max. I'll be limiting myself to one single on the 3 and 531 day, no singles on the 5 reps day and never going for "more reps". Using a Safety squat bar for my squats for the next 3 or so months, to strengthen my upper back and allow less wear and tear on my shoulders. I will also be using my 2" axle for my deadlifts using a significantly lower that 90% of my 1rm to start. My 1rm on the axle is 340, nothing big by any means so I am looking to see how using the 531 programming does for increasing that lift.


This is how I have decided to structure my grip training, at least for the next 30 days to see how I respond in terms of recovery day by day. I will be using a Mon/Wed/Fri schedule for my training.

Monday - squats + thickbar
Week 1 - Rolling Thunder, high rep training, adding 10lbs to this day every month e.g. 150# x10-13 then 160# x10-13 the next month etc

Week 2 - Horne adjustable thickbar, heavy single attempts followed by some timed holds or high rep lifts for finger strength.

Week 3 - Bosco Bell lifting (loading to a bench for reps and/or timed holds) and attempts on my Inch replica (when I get it)

Week 4 - rest, recover no grip training

Wednesday - bench + grippers + some wrist work (plate curls/levering)
Week 1 - Vulcan gripper for reps 3x5 (setsXreps), MMS, warm up then work up to a level I can do 5 reps on, repeat 2x

Week 2 - Torsion spring grippers, 10x1 (setsXreps) using a MMS focusing on close speed, #2, #2.5 grippers will be used for this as well as some BBGM grippers when I decide to order them from Cannon.

Week 3 - Torsion spring grippers, 4-6x1 (setsXreps) using a MMS focusing on closing and over crushing harder grippers with speed (will be using two #3 grippers, a GHP 7 and my not yet able to close 165 BB Elite)

Week 4 - No grip

Friday - axle deadlifts + pinch
Week 1 - blob work, this is deloader work for both hands, lifts with left (never more than 3-4 lifts for now), attempts at a lift with right hand

Week 2 - plate pinching, IM hub lifts, pinch block lifts/rows, nothing maximal here, just training pinch not testing it

Week 3 - blob work, more deloader work for warming up, 3x max lift and timed holds lefty, continue working on lifting right handed with my hitchhiker thumb.

Week 4 - no grip


Obviously with something like this, I am not going to go balls to the wall every session, or ANY session the first month, aside from my week 3 blob work and my week 3 thickbar training. I have done a lot of thickbar stuff over the last while, so I don't think the volume from the Axle deadlifts will affect me too much (thickbar does not affect my pinch which is why pinch was programmed with axle deads) and I don't think the over all grip volume will be too much either, since I will be starting this off nice and slow. Obviously my main focus is the thickbar and eventually lifting my Inch, which is why I programmed it this way, week 1 will hit the thumb real good with the Rolling Thunder reps, week two will be more for my fingers with the adjustable thickbar (this should be in the post this week so after some tests I will know where I stand with it) with week 3 being a sort of "peak" after my thumb and fingers have been hit a different way to attack the Inch dumbbell replica.

I am one of those guys who thinks about their training, some people like to say "you're over thinking it!" or "don't think just lift", well, if one doesn't think and consider certain things, or try different methods, rep ranges or anything else in their training I don't see how they could ever think to progress. I have made loads more progress "thinking" than I ever have just by doing a random mish mash of un planned "workouts" when it comes to grip. I respond better to a Pattonesque battle plan than an unorganized kamikaze attack.

My current plans may change if this proves to be too much for me, but if I take things slow and keep my focus on the thickbar, and take it easier on the second and third aspects which to me are important just not as important, I believe this will make me a lot stronger over all as my strength levels increase and my ability to handle volume.

Edited by Squat More

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Many people have "no plan" when it comes to their training. Any plan is better than no plan....

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This is a good topic and when I have some spare time I will share my thoughts on this topic

One thing I wanted to respond to was the fact that others have told you that you over think things.

I've been told that many times as well and I used to think that I may just be doing that but after some

MORE thinking I realized that it could just possibly be that the individuals accusing others of over thinking

could be under thinking things.

Thinking is never wrong! Thinking takes practice and the more you practice something the better you get.

I'd rather be called an over thinker than an under thinker! The funny thing is, one person that told me I was an over thinker told me to give it some thought (thinking) but he didn't inform me on how much thought to give. I didn't

want to over think his suggestion. LOL! This really happened! Apparently, due to his lack of thinking this individual didn't even realize what he suggested. Too funny!

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I agree Bill, years back I had no plan for anything, not just with grip but also for barbell training, looking back I wish I had a time machine so I could go slap myself then educate myself.

I am very curious how people program and schedule their grip training, especially around/with their barbell training and if they experiment with different methods or ideas to see how they respond on a individual level. I know you yourself are one of the guys who train general strength as well as grip, do you still train grip today? When I look at guys who have been credited with being elite or top of the food chain in grip I can't think of many who don't do the gym/barbell lifts too. Juha powerlifts, Jedd has been over all strength training for some good time now, Rich Williams and Chad Woodall aren't just two big guys with giant hands, they've had experience with barbells for a while I assume and don't think I would be going out on a limb saying that either.

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Generally speaking, I always prioritize my "regular" strength training and all my grip training and bending comes second. I also follow 3/5/1 typically going for rep PR's and not incorporating any singles. I do the BBB sets, varying weights and reps depending on the week and the exercise....5's for lower body and 10's for upper body.

When I first started training grip, I tried to do all my grip training on my "off" days, never incorporating grip training into my "regular" workouts. I've now completely reversed that approach and I do all my grip training during my normal workouts so I can take full advantage of my off days to just rest.

My current routine basically looks like this (although I still switch my grip stuff around depending on how I'm feeling or what specific goal I'm chasing):

Monday: 3/5/1 Deadlift, Grippers, Lower Body Assistance Work

Tuesday: REST

Wednesday: DO Bending, Swiss Bar Press, Thick Bar or Pinch, Upper Body Assistance Work

Thursday: REST

Friday: 3/5/1 Squat, Grippers, Lower Body Assistance Work

Saturday: 3/5/1 Close Grip Bench, DO Bending, Thick Bar or Pinch, Upper Body Assistance Work

Sunday: REST

All grippers, thick bar and pinch work is done in between sets of my main exercises. Bending is done first on Wednesdays only if I'm going for cert bends. Actually I've been bending first now anyway on Wednesdays because I have a nagging issue with my right shoulder that's caused me to switch to pressing with the swiss bar and focus on lighter weight for more reps.

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Biofeedback brother. I know you are suspicious, but you should talk to Nate Brous and see the results he has been having. Especially regarding fixing his (bad word filter)ed up back.

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Thanks Mike, but I am not too interested. I see the biofeedback thing the same way I do crossfit "wods", good in theory (and maybe practice for a few) but it lacks a solid plan of progression and lacks the mental edge of over coming a bad day or something "not testing well" to use biofeedback terminology. In training, sometimes you have a bad day, this is true for anything not just strength training and to me biofeedback doesn't allow for solid tracking of progression if you don't go to the gym, or your garage, or where ever with a goal for that day and attack it no matter how something tests or how you feel - this is even more important for those people who train for competition. What is one going to say at a comp (grip, strongman, or powerlifting) who uses biofeedback? "I could have won but farmers walks/grippers/squats just weren't testing well that day". Adam Glass competed in the mighty mitts and in the Medley failed to load the Inch onto the platform, yet he'd do this in training with ease from the videos I saw, maybe because it tested well that day? What about days something doesn't test well, so you scrap that plan - you sell yourself short by trying to make yourself stronger in the face of adversity. I am obviously not trying to take anything away from Adam but the ease he would load an Inch or switch hand to hand catches in his youtube videos I was surprised he had trouble in Mighty Mitts trying to load it when I saw his medley run.

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I agree with you to some extent John. You do need to train the way you perform. But really this isn't about Adam, its about maximizing your potential and most importably, imo, feeling good inside your body. Personally I will push myself often even on days I am not feeling it, but with testing I have been able to find out what works for my body in terms of small modifications to stance or even ROM. For instance maybe full ROM bench won't test well, but lockouts will. Or today it will test very well with my hands in wide grip, other days in narrow. I guess I like to take it easy. Its why I gave up steelbending. Just too much stress on my aging body. I don't really want to work that hard haha. Good luck in your training. You are obviously having really good results!!!

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I only used Adam's inch load issue as an example, not trying to knock him at all but from memory he was one of the biggest proponents of biofeedback (didn't he invent the concept?) so I felt it a strong example.

As far as stance width etc, again I think that comes down to mobility and other issues you can have. If someone changes their squat stance width (example) every squat session it becomes, again, hard to track your progression and know where you really stand.

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The biofeedback discussion is an interesting one because Mike and Nate are obviously firm believers in it and who am I to question the gains someone else is experiencing with their own particular approach to training.

However, aside from an extremely small group of proponents all connected to "the movement", I cannot find anyone else who supports this particular approach to strength training.

When I want to learn something new, whatever it is, I always seek out and try to learn from the very best in a given field. Apply that to the strength training world and I can't find one successful powerlifter, olympic lifter, strongman competitor, shotputter, etc. that uses range of motion biofeedback.....not a single one.

Also, anyone who's been weight training for a long time becomes sensitive to their body's needs and by default already uses "biofeedback" by making adjustments on the fly during a training session to adjust body positioning, sets, reps, weight used, choice of assistance exercises, etc. Autoregulation is essential to any good program.

Special programs, special exercises, special supplements come and go all time promising themselves to be the secret to incredible gains...the next best thing, etc. I caution others to get sucked into the hype of such things.

No matter what program you follow (including biofeedback)....if the end result over a certain period of time is that you consistently went into the gym and picked up a ton of heavy stuff and got stronger, then you did something right....but it doesn't mean your particular program is some kind of magic bullet.

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Also, anyone who's been weight training for a long time becomes sensitive to their body's needs and by default already uses "biofeedback" by making adjustments on the fly during a training session to adjust body positioning, sets, reps, weight used, choice of assistance exercises, etc. Autoregulation is essential to any good program.

Exactly. Biofeedback isn't meant to replace your intuition, its only meant to inform it. Really talented athletes do this anyway. My main point is to be as in touch with your body is possible. No one knows you better than your own body.

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Jon, I did some really cool experiments back when Frankie Fairies first come out with Gym Movement

and initially I was very skeptical so I did some experimenting with the whole idea and came up with

some interesting conclusions and in all fairness some of my planned experiments I never did get around

to performing so I drew several conclusions far too quickly. What I mean is that I concluded that the GM

protocols were flawed because the theory couldn't be falsified and the progress people were making was

not uniform. Other words, some people progressed and some did not. My question was why? This is why

I did the experiments. I don't have near the time I need to write all this out but I can share some notes and

results with you if you'd like that may just have you re-thinking auto regulation/biofeedback/Gym Movement.

I will say this, it wasn't until recently that I made a discovery that changed everything for me concerning GM protocols and it was while I was reading a recommended book in my kinesiology class titled, Anatomy Trains,

by Thomas Myers. After studying this book and asking myself some questions I came up with the answers

to my own questions I initially had and I'm incorporating these protocols in my daily training and the results are

astounding indeed! I went from hard core skeptic to a believer. I will say that even though I follow the testing protocols I have tweaked them a bit based on my new understanding of this movement practice. For example,

in GM they have what they call elements of effort and one is instructed to be aware of these elements as they

train any movement that tested well. I think elements of effort is slightly off in its phrasing. It should more accurately be termed elements of excessive effort. The reason why is because with any movement there will be effort by definition but it's excessive effort that one should be aware of and not ignore.

There's simply way too much to explain here on a forum without writing a book but I believe you should

maybe reconsider the practice at least from a testing perspective for yourself. I believe you may (like I did)

have abandoned the idea too soon. BTW, these are just suggestions buddy.

Lastly, looking at the tracking of one's progress in a broader perspective you actually have the ultimate

track record of one's progress based on YOU and YOU only. Let me know in a PM if you're interested in more

info. Take care!

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I think this is generally something that is better to see in person. I was after Nate for a year to try it, but it wasn't till I was at his house and we could work together that it made sense.

Jon, don't know if this means anything to you, but through testing it largely led me to give up kettle bells.

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I think this is generally something that is better to see in person. I was after Nate for a year to try it, but it wasn't till I was at his house and we could work together that it made sense.

Jon, don't know if this means anything to you, but through testing it largely led me to give up kettle bells.

Now now...lets not exaggerate...it was like 7 months of nagging. lol.

Seriously though, there definitely was an "ah-ha" moment for me during that training session with Mike.

I was practically struck dumb (ok...dumber heh) by what my body was telling me...and soon after that I knew I'd never train conventionally again.

When you start testing and encounter noticable, repeatable range of motion results...it's basically impossible to dismiss.

I quit workouts now, not out of exhaustion, but because of other responsibilities.

I've been training with biofeedback for just 3 months now and have had pretty noticable results. :)

More importantly, I've been virtually pain free of a severe back issue since I've stuck with the protocol. (basically since the last time I threw my back out)

Nearly all training with "consistent action" will yield gains. I believe that GMP simply allows you to maximize those gains.

Wojo, I like to think of myself as a test case. I too would love to see where I'll be in a year...but I'm pretty optimistic.

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Great thread. Its interesting how the same 5/3/1 program is being utilized in two different ways, i.e. no rep maxes with singles and no singles with rep maxes. Do either one of you mix grip into the assistance exercises like axle rows?

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I have considered mixing in axle bent over rows as assistance but I already do enough thickbar work in training with a thickbar specific grip day on my squat days and using axle deadlifts as my main deadlift movement on my deadlift day (looking to see if this raises axle numbers), along with lighter weight higher rep thick bar dumbbell rows worked into my assistance. In the past I used a 531 template where my last workset was AMRAP leaving two in the tank and then the opposite upper or lower body day for 5x10 using 60% of my training max (Big but boring) - so on my main squat day, I did 5x10 romanian deadlifts, on bench day I did 5x10 overhead press and so on. My reason for doing some singles over more reps is just that because with more reps, I find my form breaks down. I am better suited to hit a few heavier singles after my main work sets than I am going for more reps on something like squat or deadlift. Honestly, anything over 5 reps in the deadlift kills me and has caused me to throw out my back a few times in the past.

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Great thread. Its interesting how the same 5/3/1 program is being utilized in two different ways, i.e. no rep maxes with singles and no singles with rep maxes. Do either one of you mix grip into the assistance exercises like axle rows?

I don't incorporate grip into my assistance work simply because I want to maximize the work being performed by my back, etc. and not have my grip be the limiting factor. I've been performing my grip work in between my sets of main work like grippers in between sets of squats and thick bar attempts in between sets of bench, etc. It keeps me moving and keeps the workout interesting.

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I thought I would ask since some time has passed.

Since the three of you have had some significant progress, how has your training changed or not changed? Was the progress linear or sporadic? Have your barbell lifts progressed as equally well?

I think this is a really interesting topic and with the colder months approaching fast(today's high temp was 24 F) I have to change where I was training and probably my program as well.

Thank you, Gentlemen.

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Very interesting thread guys.. good read for sure!

-Wojo, mine & yer training are very similar. I have a powerlifting background & its hard to give up the big 3"!

I do my compound movements 1st in every workout then work in my particular grip work for the day.

I firmly believe that if you strengthen your prime movers & full body power your grip strength will follow & become that much stronger!

Works for me anyways... cheers!

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I think I'm too old to think about thinking about thinking about training :)

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I thought I would ask since some time has passed.

Since the three of you have had some significant progress, how has your training changed or not changed? Was the progress linear or sporadic? Have your barbell lifts progressed as equally well?

I think this is a really interesting topic and with the colder months approaching fast(today's high temp was 24 F) I have to change where I was training and probably my program as well.

Thank you, Gentlemen.

Since the King Kong grip contest, I've realized that if I want to be more competitive I'm going to have to take my training up a notch....so I have and I've seen immediate improvement. Here's my updated program:

Monday: 3/5/1 Deadlift, Lower Body Assistance Work - 3/5/1 2HP, crush assistance, wrist flexion/extension

Tuesday: REST

Wednesday: 3/5/1 Press, Upper Body Assistance Work - 3/5/1 2.5" FBBC Crusher, pinch assistance, supination/pronation, radial/ulnar deviation

Thursday: REST

Friday: 3/5/1 Squat, Lower Body Assistance Work - Grippers, thick bar assistance, wrist flexion/extension

Saturday: 3/5/1 Close Grip Bench, Upper Body Assistance Work - supination/pronation, radial/ulnar deviation

Sunday: REST

Basically, I'm hitting every aspect of grip twice per week in an organized manner that makes sense for me.

My barbell lifts have continued to move north as well.

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This is almost exactly how I'm training right now, except I replaced conventional deadlifts with DO axle deadlifts. I know my conventional strength is going to go down some from not doing heavy deadlifts, but I'll take the trade off to have my axle numbers go up, plus I feel the axle is making my gripper closes go up.

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I only did that training template for a short period before I went back to focusing primarily on thickbar and pinch - after a chat with David Horne he put some things into perspective, I could either focus on one or two things and get really good at them or try to do everything and fail miserably. Any advice David has ever given me in the past has worked wonders for me so I decided then, as I am now to take his advice and utilize it. He is willing enough to offer it when I have asked and I think it is disrespectful and a total waste of his and my time for me not to use it. I mean... why ask for advice from someone on something then ignore it just because it doesn't fit with what you WANTED to hear?

I am now using Brandon Lilly's Cube Method with a coach who is a friend of mine via video reviews who is in Portugal. The workouts are harder than I have ever done on 531 due to the sheer volume of assistance movements and rep ranges so right now to be blunt it is kicking my fat out of shape you know what - which is good. I am currently trying to figure out the best way to fit in grip with this new style of training and how my body responds to the training days. The first week, recovery was tough but I am in week 3 and today after deadlifting yesterday, I don't feel nearly as terrible as I did in week 1.

I had been doing grip work on deadlift and bench days, and until I become more conditioned to the volume, I plan to train grip on non barbell training days to see how I do. I want to focus on 2hp with the Euro (until I get my Inch replica then that is my main focus) and doing this on deadlift days hasn't been optimal with the fatigue in my posterior chain, my current 2HP PR is 91.95 kilos or 202.71lbs and that day I felt my grip had a lot more in the tank but my hamstrings, glutes, hips and lower back didn't. I don't like this - I want my grip to fail in training not the rest of me - so I am going to change things up with an experimental Europinch program I wrote up for myself, training 2hp on non lifting days. In short, it will be Europinch training 3x a week, two lighter volume days (one lower volume than the other), one of which will mainly focus on holds, and a slightly heavier day never working above 85% of my max - with one straight up heavy day every 3 weeks or so where I work up to my previous max and try to best it by 2.5% and 3.5%. I also have another 2x a week 2hp euro program I wrote up that my cousin who is very new to grip training is giving a go - I have also shared this with John Manna, Stephen Ruby, and Juha Piironen of Finland (not sure if Juha is a member here or not).

The 3x a week program takes from training advice shared with me by David Horne, Aaron Corcorran, and Kody Burns with my own touch of stupid added to the mix. Holds and volume comes from David, and I am using those principles in the program, the percentages and reps comes from Aaron (with not working above 85%) and the idea of specific assistance type work for weaknesses along with having3-4 weeks in between really heavy attempts comes from Kody. The idea of training 3x a week came from both David and Kody, being two very strong Europinchers and getting said advice in different conversations, I am led to believe that frequency is very important.

Both "programs" are here for anyone interested, just save the spreadsheet to punch your own numbers in if you are interested.

Euro 2x a week
Euro 3x a week

Note: I have not run these programs yet, so I cannot say they WILL yeild strength gains like my rolling thunder program.

Personally, I think grippers are seriously over rated when it comes to all around grip strength and there are better ways to spend my time training grip, so often I see guys who require so much specialization that they have a hard time being successful at most other things. I say that as my own personal opinion not trying to ruffle feathers or offend anyone - if I do then I apologize but it is just how I see things. The reasons are: I am still at the same strength in grippers I have been for a while I.E. can still MMS either of my #3 grippers and my GHP 7 after some warmups on something like a #2 or #2.5 with my right hand and recently (the last time I took my grippers off from the wall) closed the #3 with a MMS "off hand" with my left for the first time in forever. That same day I lifted the blob for my first gripboards records list "cert" (remembered to weigh it on video) - all the while suffering from double pneumonia and not being able to train the barbell lifts for 5 weeks. Being able to MMS my #3 lefty came from almost no gripper training but from lifting my blob, one hand pinch, and thickbar (bosco bell) training. Now am I saying that it works for everyone? No, but my gripper strength has never gone down even after weeks and sometimes months of not touching a TSG or my Vulcan.

All in all, thickbar and pinch (wide i.e. plates/blob and euro) have improved my left hand gripper strength and kept my right hand gripper strength at a decent level with hardly any gripper training - I can't say that in the days I used to focus on gripper they ever made me any stronger at anything else besides grippers.

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Good points SM & well said bud!

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Thank you very much, Gentlemen. Your insights are very helpful.

Mr. Umpherville, i look forward to trying your rolling thunder program as soon as I acquire one. Has anyone else completed the program with success?

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