Friday, November 18, 2011

How to Strengthen Rosie and her Five Friends - Grip

By Jim Wendler
One of the biggest things that I struggled with during my deadlift training was my grip. This was never a big deal when I was lighter (under 250lbs), but as I became bigger my grip began to suffer.


The big embarrassment came when I pulled 585 and it fell out of my hands. I had everyone telling me to go see a doctor because of the numbness, but I knew what the real story was; I had not taken my grip training seriously enough.
Now I was in somewhat of a dilemma – I know I needed to train my grip but everything I’ve read was contradicting itself. I’ve heard that the best way to better your deadlift grip is to deadlift. While I believe this is true, the only problem with this is that when one becomes more advanced, the less you can perform deadlift workouts. The deadlift is extremely hard on your body and can take a long time to recover from. So what was going to suffer? My overall training or my grip?
Then I got the shot in the ass that I needed. (No, not that shot.) I met Jed and Smitty from the Diesel Crew at the 2003 Boston Seminar and they got me on track. First, they showed me what it is like to have fun and train again. Like many of you, training often became a job for me; something that I did only because of habit. It was the same routine over and over again and I would feel guilty if I didn’t do Reverse Hyperextensions or ab work at the end of a workout. I know that many of you are or were in the same boat. Then I met the Crew and things changed. They loved what they did and it showed. I had a renewed sense of training after seeing them.
The Diesel Crew (  is known for grip prowess as well as doing lifts that have long been forgotten. They’ve got dozens of strange videos on their website; most of them showcase some kind of lift that will make your head shake in amazement.
Anyway, with their guidance (along with some other people) here are some of the things that helped my grip tremendously. They are simple to do, but grip work takes time. While I noticed results in about 6 weeks, it took about 8 months of training my grip to get it where it needed to be. To give you a point of reference – when I began doing this, I couldn’t close the Captains of Crush Trainer with my left hand (this was my numb/weak hand). In about 6 months, I was able to close the #2 fairly easy. I think this was a substantial improvement. The biggest thing that you will notice is that I didn’t really focus on improving my crushing grip, but my finger strength. In doing so, my overall grip improved. Remember the saying, “You are only as strong as your weakest link”? Well, much of grip training focuses on the thumb and forefinger. These are already strong on most people. It’s the pinky, ring and middle finger that are usually weakest.

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