WRESTLING GRIP STRENGTH
I touched on grip strength in Wrestling with Your Destiny a bit. It is such an important aspect for a wrestler I decided it was about time it got its own post.
Wrestling grip strength is what you feel when you first lock up with an opponent. It may be in the clinch or it may just be hand fighting. Sometimes the “stronger” wrestler will feel much weaker than his opponent if that opponent has more grip strength. You want to be the one that has that advantage over your opponent.
So how do you build wrestling grip strength?
Simply by building up your forearms and hand strength. Now how do you do that is the real question. There are a list of exercises you can do to build forearm and hand strength. A simple google search will bring in more varieties than you can try in a lifetime. Some of my favorites, and ones that I used during my competitive career were full body hangs (where you hang from a pull up bar as long as you can before you arms give out; to work the back as well hang there with your chin above the bar), towel pull ups (wrap a towel around a pull up bar and grab both ends, then do your pull ups from there), weight plate pinches (pinch the smooth side of two plates between your thumb and four fingers on both sides, hold until the plates literally fall out of your hands, but watch your feet!), Rope roll ups (attach a weight to a string that’s on a stick or bar, then roll the weight forward and back until your forearms feel like they are going to explode), forearm curls (curl your wrist forward and back while the rest of your arm is straight), and strength grippers (I used Captain of Crush).
There are also some atypical ways to build your wrestling grip strength. Last night for the first time in years, I went indoor rock climbing or bouldering. Bouldering basically means rock climbing without a rope and harness (balleying). Let me tell you what an awesome forearm, finger, hand, and back workout bouldering is. My forearms are killing me 24 hours later and I was barely able to climb up 5 different routes. I strongly recommend trying to find a rock gym in your area to help build your forearm and grip strength. Let me give you a piece of advice, don’t get upset when you see a skinny kid climb a much harder route than you. Instead, use it as a learning experience because rock climbing, just like wrestling, takes a lot more than just brute strength and physical ability. Watch the best climbers map out their course before climbing, notice how they move their bodies effortless from grip to grip. Then try to emulate them as you would emulate your favorite wrestlers.
A word of caution. I would not attempt to do this prior to a match. For one, it leaves you very sore and rips the skin up on your hands, which bacteria can get into. This is something definitely best done in the off-season. That is where you will always make the biggest gains.
If want to be a better wrestler, it doesn’t hurt to think outside of the box once in a while. Rock climbing, whether bouldering or balleying will improve your forearms, hands, and fingers, which will in turn improve your wrestling grip strength, which then will make you a better wrestler.
Try all the ways I mentioned to improve your wrestling grip strength and see which one is right for you.