3 Different Exercises To Build Olympic Grip Strength With USA Judo Star Travis Stevens
Grip strength is everything when it comes to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and other grappling martial arts. How well you can grip your opponent depends on how well you can control their movement and posture. Grips are not only important when training in the gi, they are just as important in no gi as well. So no matter which you prefer it is very important to recognize grip strength as a vital tool in your game.
If you've ever had the opportunity to go with a top jiu jitsu fighter or judo player, their grips are insane. It's like once they get a hold of you, you ain't going ANYWHERE.
There are many different philosophies and methods to improving your grip strength. Today Travis Stevens is going to demonstrate three different exercises to build Olympic level grip strength. If you do not know, Travis Stevens is a Judo competitor who has won silver medals in the Olympic Games. Travis is also a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu under Renzo Gracie. Stevens has an extraordinary level of experience when it comes to fighting on the ground and has proven it against some of the highest level competitors in the world like Tim Springs and others.
Travis Stevens will be the first to tell you just how important grip strength is for Judo Fighters. Jimmy Pedro (World Champion, Olympic medalist 4x Olympian, US Judo Coach and Travis Stevens’ Head Coach) has developed a system of grip fighting that has helped with great success for team USA Judo in recent world and Olympic competitions. Today Travis will show us 3 different exercises for grips that can help both Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Judo players. These exercises give Travis the strength in his grip to execute on the gripping system that Jimmy developed. You will definitely want to add these exercises to your training routine, especially if you love playing half guard. Watch the video below of Travis Stevens demonstrating the 3 different exercises and then we will discuss the technique. Check it out now!
Find a training partner a give these exercises a try! The first exercise you will have your partner make a bicep curl so that his arm forms a triangle on his body. Take a gi grip on the opposite side of the bicep curl. Now take your free hand and try to force your finger tips inside the middle of the triangle by shoving your hand in deep as possible. Once you get it in, take it back out and try again. You want to get the feeling like you are digging in for the under hook. Make sure you work your fingers towards your training partner’s elbow as you force your way through the hole. Do not close your fingers like you are trying to punch. You want to be clawing your way in to the elbow. So remember, pull out and punch through. Do this for a few minutes trading on and off defending with your training partner.
The second exercise Travis Stevens demonstrates has your partner facing belly down on the floor. Your training partner will want to keep his arms in nice and tight. You have the same position as you did in the first exercise but there is a little bit more resistance now factoring in your training partner’s body weight. Again you want to and work your fingers inside the opening the best you can to pummel through with your arms. Once you get your arms through enough to establish wrist control, take your hands back out and start again. Remember, punch through and try to work your hand through the resistance. You should work this on and off with your training partner for a few minutes.
The third and final exercise Travis Stevens shows us is a bit more practical. Stevens starts this one off in a position similar to bottom half guard when his opponent is in the knee slice position. Travis wraps his forearm around the back of the knee. The goal here is to force your hand open and closed with all the weight crushing your forearm. Take note of the strain in Travis Stevens’ hand. That is not him closing it. That is the weight of his training partner’s leg. You want to get your grip comfortable in this position. Do not be alarmed if your arm starts burning. This is where your strength is going to start building. This will help you be comfortable grabbing for different opportunities in this position without getting tired. You should work this for a few minutes and then switch positions with your partner. Remember to do both arms.
As you can tell, these are some great exercises for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu players, especially that last one if you love to play half guard. Your grip strength will determine a lot when it comes to being a well rounded Brazilian Jiu Jitsu player, so do not forget to work on it! Having 3 simple exercises like the ones Travis Stevens has shared with us can go a long way in improving your game. Remember these exercises the next time you are running through warm ups in class. Search for a training partner who is about the same size as you and drill these on and off for at least 10 minutes. Thank you Travis Stevens for sharing these 3 amazing exercises to build Olympic grip strength!