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The Relation Of Overall Strength With Grip Strength


GotAGrip

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I want your opinions on how limited one would be without doing "bodybuilding" movements along with your grip training. If someone was to just train their grip in huge amounts; Pinch Gripping, Grippers, Thick Pull-Up Bar hangs, how much would other strength factors play a role?

Now, OBVIOUSLY you would have better grip if you are stronger in the compound lifts, but I want to know by how much in your opinion. Bruce Lee had incredible grip, but wasn't a "heavy" lifter.

Just something I was thinking last night during my bout of insomnia lol.

p.s. I say insomnia, but it was probably because I had an elastic band in bed, training my extensors instead of relaxing.

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i think it is possible to be at the top of the grip food chain and not be 350 pound strongman... is it much more difficult? probably.. but people like tommy heslep, nathan holle, and joe kinney weren't incredibly big guys - yet all were #4 certed and regarded as some of the strongest gripsters in the world during their peak... so in short, you're only limited by your own perception of your limitations

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Bearcat 74

The stronger your body the stronger your grip. Those guys mentioned above aren't huge by size standards but they are strong as hell by strength standards.

I am not smart enough to give numbers or percentages (if not lifting I am x strong vs I am lifting so I am z strong) but I can tell you it does make a difference. Doing basic stuff, pushups, chins, etc will help increase your strength so it does not have to be a massive weightlifting undertaking.

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i am not saying i have the answer to this question. all i know is i am taking a page from the strongman competitors who had recent success. i am lifting heavy things as often as my body can stand and i am mixing grip work in. as my body gets stronger, so will my hands. i also think adding good weight over time will help strength, even in the hands.

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The stronger your body the stronger your grip. Those guys mentioned above aren't huge by size standards but they are strong as hell by strength standards.

I am not smart enough to give numbers or percentages (if not lifting I am x strong vs I am lifting so I am z strong) but I can tell you it does make a difference. Doing basic stuff, pushups, chins, etc will help increase your strength so it does not have to be a massive weightlifting undertaking.

I completely agree. Over the past year or so many people have asked me about this and I always tell them that if they want to maximize their grip strength and get the best out of their training, they need to focus on getting their entire body strong through basic weight lifting movements as well as train their grip specifically. Just training grip will increase a person's grip strength but only to a certain point. All the top guys in grip sport have a well rounded strength and lifting background.

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Justin Matney

i've always been more fascinated with regular guys or at least non strongman type guys being brutally strong gripwise. bruce lee, joe kinney, heslep, etc.

i was watching videos the other day of Cannon, and was blown away that he's closing considerably larger grippers than me--although i've lost a bit of weight recently, at my heaviest (which also happened to coincide with my strongest gripper close) he was less than half my body weight. to me that's far more impressive than the proverbial 6'6" 350+ pounder closing 3.5s and 4s.

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Mephistopholes

Just echoing here....

Grip strength and overall strength are connected. Simple as that.

The stronger you are overall, the stronger your grip will be (with training, of course).

But its not so much a matter of being "big and strong" I don't think, just about being strong.

Small guys can be very, very strong. Tony Terlazzo is excellent proof of this, in my opinion. (A fantastic 132lb Olympic weightlifter from the 1930's/1940s's. Look him up, he was awesome.)

So yes, train your body and grip with equal intensity. I think too many guys place too much emphasis on one over the other, either doing only "large muscle group" stuff and using straps and tacky to deal with the grip, or they only do grip stuff and don't train the rest of their body.

But, you don't have to be big.

What you have to be is determined.

And another thing to consider... What good is one without the other? What good is being able to bench 500lbs or deadlift 700lbs with straps if you can't hold on to anything? What good is having the strongest grip, being able to squeeze out 400lbs on a dynamometer if you can't lift another person to save your (or their!) life?

Train everything to be as strong as you can.

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climber511

As maybe a theoretical exercise this is fun to talk about but why would someone not work their entire body? Vibrant health does not come from grippers. Grip work should always be a "supplement" to an overall body routine that brings good health and the ability to lead a life filled with all kinds of activities. To answer your question though - NO - I do not believe you can get even close to your potential doing just grip work.

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hellswindstaff
As maybe a theoretical exercise this is fun to talk about but why would someone not work their entire body? Vibrant health does not come from grippers. Grip work should always be a "supplement" to an overall body routine that brings good health and the ability to lead a life filled with all kinds of activities. To answer your question though - NO - I do not believe you can get even close to your potential doing just grip work.

FALSE! Squeezing grippers WILL cure cancer, pay your mortgage, directly cause you to get a PHD, and make so many attractive women flock to you that they will blot out the sun.

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climber511
As maybe a theoretical exercise this is fun to talk about but why would someone not work their entire body? Vibrant health does not come from grippers. Grip work should always be a "supplement" to an overall body routine that brings good health and the ability to lead a life filled with all kinds of activities. To answer your question though - NO - I do not believe you can get even close to your potential doing just grip work.

FALSE! Squeezing grippers WILL cure cancer, pay your mortgage, directly cause you to get a PHD, and make so many attractive women flock to you that they will blot out the sun.

Don't we wish? :)

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As maybe a theoretical exercise this is fun to talk about but why would someone not work their entire body? Vibrant health does not come from grippers. Grip work should always be a "supplement" to an overall body routine that brings good health and the ability to lead a life filled with all kinds of activities. To answer your question though - NO - I do not believe you can get even close to your potential doing just grip work.

Yeah it was just for a debate, not because I wanted to put it into practice - I definitely couldn't stop training my entire body. Dennis Rogers and Bruce Lee are my inspiration and the reason I train with such intensity.

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Grip is a very high indicator of overall and explosive strength. We did informal tests on college and pro team members without knowing their "team" ranking and almost in every case a high level of grip strength was a direct correlation to how strong and how good an athlete the person was. If ever I would use a spot test for athletic strength would be a hand grip dyno test it is great to use as a pre and post season test to evaluate general readiness and present overall strength levels. After injuries or illness grip level is a direct indicator of when a person is well again or not ready to participate. R.Sorin

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Stephen Ruby

I'm sure there is a correlation but to say how much would be hard. You can take someone like Eric Spoto who has tried the GNC grip gaunlet and only did the medium version despite having about 20 inch forearms and over a 700lb bench press.raw -http://www.jackalsgym.com/news/files/grip%20gauntlet%20winners.pdf-

I mean like others have mentioned their have been guys who are smaller in size and while strong might not push the same numbers as bigger guys but could have a stronger grip. I think tendons in your hand take longer to build up in general though which is why most of the best grips athletes tend to be older-if younger might have worked hands from a young age/ naturally inclined to have strong hands-. I also think a big genetic factor is in play with the amount of tendons-strength of them naturally/cns output etc The hand is quite complex how how tendons repair themselves is quite confusing and I think some people might be able to repair themselves quicker then others naturally. I myself am on the tall side at about 6'6 yet my hands are only 8 inches long max and I have friends who are under 6 feet tall with the same hand size as me-some with thicker wrists then me also-. That just gives you an idea of how genetics can play a huge role despite your natural size.

Also keep in mind some of the bigger guys could not do bodyweight grip feats which I am very impressed with. What some climbers can do with their hands really just blows my mind and I can never replicate those feats due to my size.

Either way I agree with climber511 in that you should train your whole body and you will be better off not just in grip but in life in general. I've seen video of near 80 year old man deadlifting over 3x bodyweight and I plan to continue to train my body until I die.

Roy Mason @ 76 years old pulling either 220kg or 240kg at 145lbs -video I was referencing-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eeGZOmtXpBU&feature=player_embedded skip to 1:15

He holds the record in the 60+ @ 165 lbs with a 545 lbs deadlift

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i've always been more fascinated with regular guys or at least non strongman type guys being brutally strong gripwise. bruce lee, joe kinney, heslep, etc.

i was watching videos the other day of Cannon, and was blown away that he's closing considerably larger grippers than me--although i've lost a bit of weight recently, at my heaviest (which also happened to coincide with my strongest gripper close) he was less than half my body weight. to me that's far more impressive than the proverbial 6'6" 350+ pounder closing 3.5s and 4s.

I completely agree.

Personally I'm gonna see how far I can get without lifting heavy weights several times a week.

Then, when starting to reach plateaus, you just do what you gotta do I guess.

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daniel reinard

Alot of good thoughts here that I agree with. To add, here is my thought process as it relates to size, strength, and grip progression.

-Slapping on slabs of muscle with at least the powerlifting lifts, like a powerlifter, is best to aid in grip progression. Of course must train grip as much as possible, eg no straps.

-Focusing strictly on strength and not size will also help the grip, but not as quickly as above.

-Just doing grip is fine but you will platuea probably sooner than wanted. And you probably won't find yourself beating the guys doing the above stuff. One could attain elite, but not #1.

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Mikael Siversson

Adding heavy basic exercises will no doubt add grip strength but, if you compete in grip, it will also add body weight and it may force you to move to a higher weight class. Until a few months ago I had not done any squats, deadlifts etc. since 2003 and I still managed to set a WR in the 1HP (83k class) last year. Having said that I do have an extensive background in weightlifting (IPF compeition 265k deadlift in the 90k class).

A more interesting question perhaps is how to get stronger within a weight class. Long term it is always going to be better for you to reach a given strength level at the lowest possible body weight. It will certainly extend the duration of your grip strength competition career.

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Mike Sharkey

The mentions of Bruce Lee interest me. My observation is there is some distinction between strength as we perceive it and power, the ability to exert force over time. I'm new(ish) to grip, but it seems closer to many techniques I've seen practiced in traditional kung fu that 'normal' strength training.

Personally, I think 'strength' is not an easily quantifiable idea. As a, er..., devotee of the science of bending, I can site many unusual examples, but David Wigren is one of my favorite. Last I checked he was still working on a 400# deadlift, but he's been able to bend the same horseshoes as Jason Bergmann, World's Strongest Man finalist. And lest anyone site 'technique', Big JB has put in a ton of time and thought refining technique. (Wiggy, if you're reading this and you finally are benching 500#, I apologize).

Back to Bruce. Probably didn't have a 500# bench press (though I heard he actually like weightlifting a lot), but I suspect he could have cracked a plate in half if he wanted to.

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The mentions of Bruce Lee interest me. My observation is there is some distinction between strength as we perceive it and power, the ability to exert force over time. I'm new(ish) to grip, but it seems closer to many techniques I've seen practiced in traditional kung fu that 'normal' strength training.

Personally, I think 'strength' is not an easily quantifiable idea. As a, er..., devotee of the science of bending, I can site many unusual examples, but David Wigren is one of my favorite. Last I checked he was still working on a 400# deadlift, but he's been able to bend the same horseshoes as Jason Bergmann, World's Strongest Man finalist. And lest anyone site 'technique', Big JB has put in a ton of time and thought refining technique. (Wiggy, if you're reading this and you finally are benching 500#, I apologize).

Back to Bruce. Probably didn't have a 500# bench press (though I heard he actually like weightlifting a lot), but I suspect he could have cracked a plate in half if he wanted to.

I wonder what Bruce Lee would've been like at steel bending actually, I know he used isometrics religiously. You've got me in the mood for reading his book again now lol.

I have been planning something which combines grip strength with ALL the compound lifts. As I suffer from an illness which knocks me on my ass if I lift too heavy then it would be beneficial. Basically, instead of two-handed heavy deadlifts, I can use my thick rolling bar for single-handed deadlifts... obviously as my grip strength increases, the deadlifts will steadily get heavier. I could also do some pistol squats while pinch gripping some blocks - once again, as my hand strength increases then so will the weight on my pistol squats. I can pistol squat a **** load of weight so it shouldn't hinder my pinching, but if it does I will have to do single hand pinches.

I have already been doing isometrics with a karate belt while wearing gloves - gripping the hell out of the thing while I try to pull my hands apart. It's quite surprising how weak my grip is while my hands are nearly closed because most of my lifting is with thick bars lol.

I need to list some movements, but also plate pinching while doing lateral and front raises work well - I think full body destruction with every grip aspect is a possibility.

Or maybe, I have missed my medication this morning. It's usually the latter.

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The guys you mentioned: Kinney, holle, heslep. Joe squatted everyday, Nathan was big into lifting... From what c. James has noted from training with him. And tommy held planes back..( with his grip, yeah) but I'm sure it takes power from everywhere.

I believe stimulating the whole body is your best bet- be strong all over.

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Bob Lipinski

Very strong guys are often able to work up to fantastic grip feats with little or no direct training. The smaller grip freaks are an exception for the most part.

Most of the top competitive grip guys are above the 300-400-500 bench-squat-deadlift range, or were at one time.

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Be interesting to see where I can get now. Dropped 60lbs for my new training and just started picking up grip again. Do basically no traditional lifting these days at all.

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I agree with everyone, the body will limit or not allow you to reach maximum potential in your stronger areas until the weaker areas catch up. So I think overall strength is directly related to grip strength.

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I agree with everyone, the body will limit or not allow you to reach maximum potential in your stronger areas until the weaker areas catch up. So I think overall strength is directly related to grip strength.

It definitely makes sense to view it that way. It's just that sometimes it doesn't add up... When I was young, I could squat and deadlift huge numbers but because I never worked my overhead press, my shoulders were feeble! I also had big muscular legs and small shoulders, so it does kinda show that you can get strong on individual muscle groups, so it should work with grip in theory?

Nowdays, I hit my shoulder press hard because it makes me feel like crying, and these days, I love a bit of pain.

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Rick Walker

I have a completely opposite opinion on this because I have actually had a chance to "test" it out. I have not been able to workout beyond walking and yoga since 08/31/12. Not a single lift. However, strangely enough, my grip strength has increased.

Whenever I am down in the garage I grab grippers and squeeze them and I am able to close my old #3 all the time, my GHP7 98% of the time, and my brand new #3 rarely. When I was able to lift, I couldnt get my new #3 to within a 1/4 inch...

Back in 2003 when I was at my absolute strongest grip wise (certed on the #3, the MM1, lifted the blob, pinched 3-25s), my overall strength was so-so. When I was at my strongest lifting wise in 2007 (hit a 725 squat, 385 bench, and 675 deadlift at 07' IPA Worlds) I couldn't close my old #3.

Now that I am an old broken down man, my grip strength seems to increase with little to no work. I have been asked by a lot of people lately if I am going to get back into grip now since I cant really do much else. I would think my heart doc would approve of grip, maybe not axle deadlifts, but grippers, block weights, wrist and thumb work, shouldnt be a problem. The answer is: I dont know. I am enjoying just training the boy right now, and when this weather turns, my focus will turn to his baseball season and fishing, so I am not sure if I have it in me to get down there and focus on grip. Maybe. I would say there is a 30% chance it could happen. If it does, it will be interesting to see what comes of it not being able to lift weights as well. Can I make steady grip improvements? I would say yes, even without the added hormone boost of 100 rep squats! :getlost:

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I have a completely opposite opinion on this because I have actually had a chance to "test" it out. I have not been able to workout beyond walking and yoga since 08/31/12. Not a single lift. However, strangely enough, my grip strength has increased.

Whenever I am down in the garage I grab grippers and squeeze them and I am able to close my old #3 all the time, my GHP7 98% of the time, and my brand new #3 rarely. When I was able to lift, I couldnt get my new #3 to within a 1/4 inch...

Back in 2003 when I was at my absolute strongest grip wise (certed on the #3, the MM1, lifted the blob, pinched 3-25s), my overall strength was so-so. When I was at my strongest lifting wise in 2007 (hit a 725 squat, 385 bench, and 675 deadlift at 07' IPA Worlds) I couldn't close my old #3.

Now that I am an old broken down man, my grip strength seems to increase with little to no work. I have been asked by a lot of people lately if I am going to get back into grip now since I cant really do much else. I would think my heart doc would approve of grip, maybe not axle deadlifts, but grippers, block weights, wrist and thumb work, shouldnt be a problem. The answer is: I dont know. I am enjoying just training the boy right now, and when this weather turns, my focus will turn to his baseball season and fishing, so I am not sure if I have it in me to get down there and focus on grip. Maybe. I would say there is a 30% chance it could happen. If it does, it will be interesting to see what comes of it not being able to lift weights as well. Can I make steady grip improvements? I would say yes, even without the added hormone boost of 100 rep squats! :getlost:

are you now able to do grip feats you just were not able to do in the past? or are you able to do things more consistently or easily than it was in the past?

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