Hail to the Dinosaurs!
Yesterday we talked about Bradley J. Steiner's
list of "the Essential Exercises."
It was a pretty good list, but there are plenty
of other good exercises. So I'll go over some
other possible movements today and later in
In other words, we'll make this "The Week of
Today, let's cover forearm and grip exercises.
I often end a training program by saying:
"gut, grip and neck work." Readers often
ask what they should do to train their
grip. Here's the answer.
Forearms and grip
1.Thick bar deadlifts with a double overhand
grip and timed holds with the thick bar (also
using a double overhand grip)
a. Okay, that's two exercises -- but they're
good ones. And you can always combine
them by finishing any set of thick bar
deadlifts with a timed hold.
b. Do these at the end of your workout, as
a grip exercise. If you do deadlifts to build
all-around body strength, then train them
earlier, with a regular bar.
c. See Strength, Muscle and Power and
Dinosaur Training for more about thick bar
training. They're the books that put it on
2. Thick bar pull-ups
a. Yes, you can do timed holds on a thick
handled pull-up bar.
b. See Dinosaur Bodyweight Training for
some killer pull-up variations and grip
3. The one-arm deadlift
a. Use a regular bar or a thick bar.
b. Use a dumbbell if you prefer.
c. See Strength, Muscle and Power for a
complete chapter on this terrific exercise
and how to use it.
4. The Farmer's Walk
a. This is one of the best all-around
exercises. It builds strength, muscle
mass, conditioning, and a MONSTER
b. As in a "Frankenstein Meets the
Wolfman Meets King Kong Meets
5. Hand-grippers (Captains of Crush, etc.)
a. These are one of the best grip movements
you can do.
b. Get your grippers from John Wood at
Functional Hand Strength:
6. Rope climbing
a. This is one of the best upper body
exercises there is -- and it's a terrific
b. If you don't have room for a climbing
rope, use two short ropes for pull-ups, as
detailed in Dinosaur Bodyweight Training.
c. Grab your ropes here:
7. Hammer curls (esp w/ thick handled dumbbells)
a. These work even better with thick handled
8. The vertical bar lift
a. This is a very good, and greatly under-
9. Lever bar lifting
a. A classic old-time exercise.
b. Fun to do with sledge hammers.
10. Pinch grip lifting
a. Use plates, blobs, blocks with an attached
chain for extra weight -- they're all good.
11. Finger-tip pushups (with or without extra
a. A favorite of many old-time boxers
12. Two finger deadlifts
a. Use a regular bar for this.
b. You can use a reverse grip or a double
c. Go light at first to build up the tendons
So there you have it -- 12 great grip exercises.
Obviously, you're not going to use them all at
the same time or in the same training program.
The best thing to do is to pick two or three
different exercises, and train ONE of them at
the end of each workout. Rotate the exercises
from workout to workout.
For example, let's say you train 3x per week on
For your grip work, do this:
M - Thick bar deadlifts
W - Pinch grip lifting
F - The vertical bar lift
After 6 to 8 weeks, pick three new movements and
train them for awhile. Over time, you'll get plenty of
variety, without ever overdoing things.
And who knows - after a few years of serious, Dino-
style grip training, you may be able to make it into
the Gorilla Grip Hall of Fame!
Yours in strength,
P.S. You can find Dinosaur Training, Strength, Muscle
and Power, Dinosaur Dumbbell Training and Dinosaur
Bodyweight Training right here at Dino Headquarters.
They all have more great tips for building a Gorilla
P.S. 2. Thought for the Day: "A strong grip is the
mark of a strong man." -- Brooks Kubik