I know Adam Glass.
No, that isn’t a coincidence.
Glass has strong gravity.
While he battles the force of gravity daily,
We fight his gravity.
It pulls us into doing what he is doing.
And what he does is pick things off of the ground
and predictably sets them back down.
I do that, too (but at MUCH lighter weights).
But my primary interest in grip is not
in grabbing inanimate objects,
it is grabbing animate objects:
people trained in Martial Arts specifically,
(For those who don’t know, that’s BJJ without the pajamas)
Grip is of prime importance in grappling.
Defensively, if you have won the grip fight,
you basically cannot be taken down or submitted.
Offensively, winning the grip fight puts you in the lead
in the race that is Submission Grappling.
Let’s first take a look at how grip plays into Submission Grappling.
While some grips you can push with,
I’m going to focus exclusively on those you pull with.
There are two primary grips you use in SubGrap.
One is thumbless or the monkey grip.
We use the monkey grip with:
and I’m sure a few other places, as well.
The other grip is with the thumb.
This grip primarily helps us to grab the:
Fingers (that’s what Adam does)
My thumbless grip was already pretty strong
before I specifically trained grip
(think that has something to do with how often it is used?)
but my thumb based grip was weak…
and what was I to do?
Where to start?
How about at the basics?
What are the basics?
Movement of the hand and wrist
flexes, extends, abducts and adducts
flexes, extends, ulnar and radially deviates
I knew that I was missing some of those movements
and that I lacked strength in those movements…
and who do I know who has strength in those movements?
Through articles and phone time,
Adam educated me on the world of grip.
For the uninitiated, grip sport
is broken down into four different types
Crush – closing the hand or making a fist most often against the resistance of a gripper
Pinch – gripping with special emphasis on stressing the thumb
Leveraging – Primarily trains the wrist..as in sledgehammer leveraging
From the beginning, I knew I wasn’t going to do standard grip exercises.
Standard Grip Exercises train more than just the hand and wrist,
they often pull the weight up to a certain height and then set it down under control.
I didn’t want to overtrain that motion,
so I focused more on the hand and wrist
and trimmed the fat of the superfluous motions
doing partial deadlifts instead of full deadlifts.
While that would help my sport grip, I was looking for something a bit more specific.
In grappling people pull out of your grip in multiple directions, so I wanted to be sure to train my grip in angles off of the floor, not just straight up and down. That’s HOW I trained. Let’s talk about WHAT I trained.
The first thing I added to my training was the 2” Grapple Grip to specifically train where I was weakest – thumb based support style gripping with an emphasis on transitioning in and out of ulnar deviation
I had some Captain of Crush Grippers from back in the day and bought an Adjustable Gripper, as well, for crush strength.
Next I added clip on grip implements such as Fat Grips, GripForce, and Tyler Grips. My preference was the Gripforce because it fit better on bigger sized dumbbell handles.
Next I added one hand and two hand Dumbbell Head Pinching. I believe this to be either the most or 2nd to the most important aspect to grip for grappling. Beyond unilateral and bilateral gripping, I also did Dumbbell Head pinching on the fingers side, thumb side, as well as pinching two DB heads together. For good measure, I added in ulnar and radial deviation with my lifts
How did I program this?
As a grappler, what “should” you do?
For most people, 2 – 2.5” handles for regular DB deadlifting
and DB pinch deadlifting is
and effective minimalist approach.
For the more thorough trainers,
I recommend adding in crush grip training with adjustable gripper,
and multiple fat bar simulators.
There is an old Eastern European saying
Strong grip, strong hips,
I think a strong grip and strong hips
also makes for a strong grappler.
While Frankie Faires is best known to readers of this blog as the pioneer of the Gym Movement Protocol, his true love is mixed martial arts and submission grappling. Visit his site today to get valuable articles to improve your wrestling, submissions, and escapes in all areas of combat sport.