Increase Your Grip Game
It is very likely that you have never had a problem with your grip not being strong enough… That is, until you started training Jiu Jitsu. Is it ever strong enough? I feel like, as with everything in Jiu Jitsu, it is one of those things that requires constant attention and development. A big part of grip endurance is not so much having a strong grip, but knowing when to use it and when it is not necessary to advance your position or control the opponent.
We simply can not argue the fact that a strong grip certainly comes in handy frequently in live training and competition. But how do we work to develop and strengthen our grip?
For starters, a good strength training program is always a good foundation for building your grip strength and endurance because as you get stronger, your grip will be forced to develop to handle the increased weights you are pulling and pushing in your strength training exercises. If you aren’t sure where to start with strength training you should start with the following programs by Gordon Ryan.
If you are already doing a strength training program, but feel like you are getting injured a lot in training, it may be a good idea to check out the programs above as well. The reality of strength training is that not all exercises are created equally. In Jiu Jitsu we need functional strength which does not necessarily equal powerlifting strength. While one could argue strength is strength, and be right to an extent, certain exercises tighten muscles and tendons in a way that can put us at more risk during training.
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In addition to a solid strength and conditioning program, like those listed above, it may also be a good idea to add in some grip specific training exercises. That could be as simple as using hand grippers a few times a day and alternating between the heavier one with low reps and the lighter one with high reps to build both strength and endurance, or it could also be doing some partner drills using grips on the gi sleeves such as partner pull ups where you lay on the mat and your partner stands over you, you get a grip on their gi sleeves and like doing a row, pull yourself off the mat keeping your body as straight as possible during the process. You can do this for multiple sets, alternating grips to make sure you are not only working the grips from a technique standpoint, but also from a strength and endurance standpoint.
In addition to building sheer strength in the grip, it is equally important to build the ability to obtain grips and learn to quickly follow your opponent’s inevitable grip break with another grip. In Ilias Illiadis’ video titled “BJJ Drills” he demonstrates what a good grip fighting session might look like. In these types of sessions, it is much less about perfect smooth reps and more about replicating reality and preparing for the pace, and force of competition. What you will notice is he notes that he is fighting for grips for the first minute straight while his training partner’s job is to break each grip, nothing more. Once the minute is complete they switch roles and repeat this process as many times as they would like.
It’s no secret having a great grip gives you an advantage on the mats whether it be in training, or in competition a strong grip will be a staple in your Jiu Jitsu game. While it is said strength does not matter, when two opponents of similar technique meet, strength will be the difference. Don’t forget to check out the strength and conditioning programs listed above for a fully comprehensive guide to getting stronger with exercises designed to make you stronger not just on the bench in the gym, but on the mats training, in competition, and should you need it, in the streets.
Get ready for GAINS with Gordon Ryan! Getting Swole As A Grappler has all of the behind the scenes tips that helped Gordon get so JACKED!