Grip Strength

What some exercises that help improve grip strength over a sustained period of time? Ex: when gripping a gi in jiu jitsu. Thanks

The most important thing to keep in mind while rolling is that you have to relax. Most of us have seen beginners get totally smoked during their first few training sessions because they are completely tensed up during the entire training session.

As your skill level increases, you begin to learn when to relax and when to "turn it on". Scott Sonnon talks about this in regards to his Clubbell training and refers to it as the "tight-loose-tight" protocol.

There are lots of grip training programs available and one of the best books on this subject was written by John Brookfield.

You can check out his stuff at as well as Scott Sonnon's Clubbells at

Train hard,


If you have access to a cable setup just pass a dishtowel through the handle then take the two ends and grip them like you would a gi. Then you can just pull any way you want including while doing foot-work at any height from any position. If you don't have a cable pulley system just get an old bike innertube, pass it around a pole or tree, and then pass the towel through that. The further away from the tree/pole you start the greater the resistance.

PS. I'm sure you know this already, but start your gripping of the gi/towel by securing your grip starting with the pinky and squeeze hardest with the pinky (a grip trick I was reminded of by Scott Sonnon)
Have fun, Merry Christmas. Mark

Barbell farmers walk, steel sledge training, Kbs, cbs, single arm hanging bar holds, rolling thunder etc...

thank you
Coach Hale

throw a gi/towel over a pullup bar and do pullups gripping the hanging ends.

Charles Poliquin outlined a routine years back utilizing a sandbag. Don't remember it exactly but here's what I remember- Take a sandbag (any heavy non-ripping bag will do, a strong duffle bag with weights would probably do), now you basically squat down, grab the bag , lift it and set it on a table, high bench, whatever. Set it down just for a second, regrab it and set it on the floor. Now do it 100x's. Your hands/forearms will be smoked! Remember to literally grab the bag, don't hug it! I'll try to find the routine and post it. I did it 3 or 4 times a year or so back and I remember my forearms being completely numb,red and veiny. So much fun! Towel chins are great as well!

Heres the Poliquin Q&A that LoudenSwain is talking about --

Q. I compete in combat jiu-jitsu. I have a problem with endurance and poor gripping strength. Any training protocol that would help solve that? I live in a rural area and don't have access to fancy equipment like your athletes do.

A. First let me say that I am not a big believer in high-tech machines. All my athletes train on the most basic tools like barbells, dumbbells, chin-up bars, AND squat racks.

Here is a very low-tech approach to solving that problem. All you need is a sand bag and a platform that is three to four feet off the ground -- the back of pick-up truck or a picnic table will do fine. I suggest you do it after doing your regular leg strength workout as a 'finishing off' exercise. Here is a twelve workout progression.

Workouts 1-4

Stand in front of the platform with a sandbag at your feet. Bend over and pick up the sandbag and put it on the platform. Pause momentarily. Pick it up again and put it back on the ground. Repeat until 50 reps are completed. Make an effort to do it in minimal time. Record the time needed to complete the set every workout, and shoot for a personal best every workout. The first time you do it, you will be quite tempted to cough up a lung. No matter how painful it is, shoot for a record time. Of course, you will probably have to pause longer between reps as the set is nearing its end. Only stop the sets when 50 reps are completed.

Workouts 5-8

For this part of the cycle, back up four feet further away than the previous workout. Stand facing the platform with the sandbag on your right side, on the ground. Turn around, face the bag and bend over and pick it up. Lift the bag and place it on the left side of the chosen platform. Being further away will force you to have to lunge towards the platform.

Pause momentarily. Pick it up again and put it back on the ground on its original resting spot. This will bring a diagonal and rotary component to the drill. Repeat until 25 reps are completed for the right side. Then start over and do 25 reps with the bag being on the left side in the starting position. Again, make an effort to do it in minimal time. Record the time needed to complete the set, every workout, and shoot for a personal best each workout.

Workouts 9-12

Stand facing the platform on which a plastic glass filled with water is placed on the middle of it. Stand with the sandbag on your right side. Turn around face the bag and bend over and pick up the sandbag. Now you are going to lift the bag up and over the plastic glass of water, continuing the motion, deposit the bag on your left hand side (the left side of the platform). Pause momentarily and reverse the process. Do 25 reps going in each direction. Once again, make an effort to do it in minimal time. Record the time needed to complete the set every workout, and shoot for a personal best every workout.

After these twelve workouts you can be sure that your endurance will have reached appreciable new heights and you will be sporting a pair of forearms that would make Popeye envious. Another added benefit is that all the trunk muscles involved in throws and takedowns will receive an appreciable overload that will transfer directly to improved performance on your dojo mat.

Thanks Ryno! My bad on the rep count. Hopefully everyone tried it,ha ha. I imagine 100 reps would make for a very sore lower back. 50 seems a little more workable.

I actually did that workout when I was a sandbag/bwe freak and it didn't do much. Same with Steve Maxwell's "15 grueling minutes".

Great stuff guys... I have a few grip training exercsises up on my site..., feel free to add others. Iam trying to make the site a real resource of info.