10 Exercises to Boost Grip Strength for Combat Athletes: Fighters, MMA, Wrestlers, BJJ, and More


In the world of combat sports, having a strong grip can be a game-changer. It can provide you with the advantage needed to control your opponents, execute powerful moves, and secure victories. However, grip training has often been overlooked in traditional fitness programs. Fortunately, we have compiled a list of 10 exercises that will revolutionize your grip strength and give you the upper hand in your combat endeavors.

We drew inspiration from individuals with naturally strong grips, such as farmers, plumbers, ironworkers, rock climbers, and others who rely heavily on their hands in their professions or sports. By incorporating their training secrets into our programs, we have developed a series of exercises that will help combat athletes like you enhance your grip strength and endurance.

So, if you're ready to transform your grip and elevate your performance, keep reading. The exercises we're about to explore will equip you with the hand strength you need to excel in your chosen combat sport.

  1. Pick up heavy things...aka Deadlift grip strength

Deadlifts are renowned for building overall strength in the posterior chain muscles. However, they also place significant demands on your grip strength. While some individuals may resort to lifting straps to compensate, we recommend avoiding them for combat athletes. Holding heavy loads without assistance forces your hands and forearms to adapt and become stronger, which is crucial for any combat sport.

  1. Climb

Rock climbers are renowned for their exceptional grip strength. Climbing challenges your grip in unique ways, testing finger strength and endurance. Incorporate rope climbing into your training routine as well. Climbing ropes engages similar muscles as rock climbing but in a different manner. If possible, use ropes of varying thickness to develop the strength necessary for controlling wrists, forearms, and ankles during combat situations.

  1. Pull 

Any pulling exercise, such as rows or pull-ups, heavily relies on your grip strength. To maximize your grip training, vary the handles you use to challenge your hands, fingers, and forearms. Explore tools like Fat Gripz, Rolling Thunder, Gi Grips, Eagle Claws, or even steel pipes to transform a simple pull-up into a demanding grip exercise. Embrace variety, experiment with new handles, and don't worry—these tools are cost-effective and suitable for home or fight gyms with limited space.

  1. Carry

Farmer carries, a staple in strongman competitions, offer a simple yet effective way to develop grip strength. This exercise involves picking up heavy weights in each hand and walking for distance. Farmer carries not only target hand strength but also challenge postural muscles, hips, core, and legs. You can experiment with different variations, such as two-hand farmer carries, suitcase carries, bottoms-up kettlebell carries, or heavy bag carries.

  1. Crush

Crushing grip exercises typically involve grippers. Captains of Crush grippers, for instance, come in various resistances and provide an excellent opportunity to challenge your crushing strength. Use these grippers between sets, during off-days, or at the end of your sessions to further develop hand strength. Grippers are portable, allowing you to train your grip anywhere—whether you're at the gym, at home, or even surfing the net.

  1. Pinch

Pinch grip exercises target thumb strength and serve as an excellent variation to include in your training routine. One simple exercise involves holding two weight plates together (smooth side out) and maintaining their position. Begin with 5lb or 10lb plates, gradually increasing the weight as you become comfortable with the exercise.

  1. Claw

Emulating the professional wrestling claw or palming a basketball can provide a unique grip challenge. By turning a dumbbell on its end and gripping the hex, you engage the claw grip. The larger the dumbbell and hex, the more difficult the exercise becomes. Experiment with different dumbbell sizes to continuously challenge your hand strength.

  1. Wrench

Mimicking the hand movements of individuals who use wrenches all day can be challenging. However, you can recreate this movement in the gym by placing a dumbbell in a bucket filled with rice. Claw grip the dumbbell and twist it back and forth, as if tightening a cap or lid. The resistance provided by the rice bucket effectively targets hand strength. Adjust the dumbbell size according to your grip capabilities.

  1. Hold and Drag

Similar to carries, hold and drag exercises utilize chains, tires, or sleds for resistance. Attach a variety of handles to the resistance object and drag it for distance or time. You can walk forward, sideways, or even backward to simulate different positions experienced during combat. Using one hand at a time will intensify the exercise, as it forces your core to work harder to maintain stability.

  1. ExtendExtend Finger Band Grip Training

Our hands spend much of their time gripping and flexing, which predominantly challenges the flexor muscles. To maintain hand health and balance, it's essential to train the opposing extensor muscles. Start with thick rubber bands, wrap them around the tips of your fingers, and then spread your fingers as wide as possible. Perform 20-30 reps to engage the extensors in your fingers, hand, and forearm. Ironmind also offers heavy-duty bands for those seeking a more intense workout.

Remember, grip strength is often overlooked but is a vital component of combat sports. By incorporating these exercises into your training routine, you will overcome opponents, dominate competitions, and leave a lasting impression on anyone who dares to challenge you.


Unlock Your Maximum Grip Strength with "Grappler's Grip" eBook!

Are you ready to take your grip strength to new heights and dominate your opponents on the mat or in the ring? Look no further than "Grappler's Grip," our comprehensive eBook that will revolutionize your grip training and unleash your maximum potential.

Inside "Grappler's Grip," you'll gain exclusive access to over 50 exercises meticulously designed to target your fingers, hands, and forearms. We understand that your hands are meant to perform a wide variety of movements, and to truly optimize your grip's potential, you need to hit them from different angles and challenge them in diverse ways. These exercises are not only challenging, but they will continue to make you stronger for years to come.

Whether you're a beginner, intermediate, or advanced athlete, "Grappler's Grip" has you covered. With tailored workouts for all ability levels, you'll not only enhance your grip strength but also develop overall strength and power throughout your entire body. No matter where you are in your training journey, you'll find programs that will challenge you and help you reach new heights of performance.

But that's not all— "Grappler's Grip" also equips you with the secrets to designing your own grip training programs. As a coach, trainer, or gym owner, this knowledge is essential for tailoring workouts to meet the unique needs of your athletes or clients.

We understand that training hard is essential, but so is proper recovery. In "Grappler's Grip," you'll discover little-known recovery techniques that will keep your body healthy and feeling good. By incorporating these techniques, you'll avoid injuries, optimize your performance, and continue pushing your limits.

To support your journey, we've also included a comprehensive list of the best gear that our team has tested over the last decade. Rest assured, every piece of equipment on this list has our seal of approval, ensuring your safety and effectiveness during your training sessions.

Don't miss this opportunity to unlock your maximum grip strength and elevate your combat performance. Order your copy of "Grappler's Grip" today and witness the transformation in your training.

Remember, a powerful grip sets you apart from the competition. Get your hands on "Grappler's Grip" today and dominate the game like never before!



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