My Pinch Grip Training

by Scott Schmidt

Greetings, Fellow Strongmen!

Scott Schmidt shows his AMAZING Pinch Grip - with a 2 Hand Pinch Grip of 180 pounds and a 1 Hand Pinch Grip of 115 pounds.

After a recent performance at the Historic Ambridge Bar Bell Club Challenge, I was asked to submit an article describing my training techniques for the Pinch Grip Lift.

It is my pleasure to share these methods with anyone who is looking to improve their grip oriented lifting events. I will offer the recommended exercises I have used to improve my gripping strength. I have not “specialized” only in working on my grip. I do my grip exercises in between the heavy lift workouts of squats, pulls, overhead supports etc. I focus on grip movements in order to insure I do not have a weak link while doing the pulling in the Olympic Style quick lifts.

That said, among the best grip training exercises are the results you gain from doing the snatch grip dead lift. Since it is an awkward position, it forces your grip to respond. You know your limit easily when the bar doesn’t finish to the top of the thighs. You also are activating other groups of pulling muscles while doing the snatch grip dead lift. This is a bonus because to pick up modest weight for hand strength only will not enable you to progress as fast. And, since the “grip only” muscles can be used up quickly, i.e. hands, fingers, and forearms, by doing an exercise which involves other muscles, you are not as likely to over train your “grip only” muscles.

In addition to doing 3 sets of 3 reps in the snatch grip dead lift 80% of max single, which of course can produce strength gains in many areas, here are some other exercises I do to improve my results when targeting a record in a “grip only” lift:

Lift Sets Reps % of Max
2 Inch Vertical Bar Deadlift 3 3 75
2 Hand Pinch Grip 4 2 80
1 Hand Pinch Grip 6 1 90
Bent Over Row 5 5 60

In summary, these 5 exercises have been very useful to me in order to achieve grip lift record results. Another movement you can do to help you set targets for improvement is to lift something awkward with one hand at a time. For instance, I get Spring Water delivered to my front door in 5 gallon jugs. I then have to take them to my gym area. To test myself, I have used the full bottles to see how long I can hold them from the neck. Or, how long I can walk with one in each hand. Just an idea to have fun improving your grip and break up the “iron only” exercises.

Hope this article helps you get rid of any “bottle cap twist-off” issues.

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