Most athletes report an increase in their overall weight training lifts when they improve their grip strength. Personally as a climber and martial artist I’ve seen first hand the importance of grip training.
Listed below are 7 kettlebellgripstrength exercises starting with the easiest and finishing with the most technical. Keep your arms straight as you practice passing the kettle bell from one hand to the other around your body.
You can wrap tape, a cloth or cardboard around the handle to really challenge your grip strength. When you feel like you are going to drop the kettle bell set it down for a few seconds to allow recovery and then pick it up and continue.
Start a grip workout : Select a specific distance and see how many times you have to put the kettle bell down before reaching your destination, then change hands and walk back again. You will find that during high repetitions of swings your grip will work hard especially as your hands start to get slippy with sweat.
Start a grip workout : Work up to 60 seconds of swings on each arm before setting the kettle bell back down on the floor. The kettle bell clean is based on the dead lift movement pattern so you should be able to lift some nice heavy loads which is excellent for overloading the grip.
Again, the thicker the kettle bell handle and heavier the load the more challenging the exercise will be. Keep your elbow tucked in and see how long you can maintain the bottoms up position before you have to take the kettle bell back down to the floor again.
Beginners will really work hard in the top position as they improve their body alignment in order to keep the kettle bell upside down. Start a grip workout : Practice the bottoms up clean with various different weights, work up to 10 reps holding for as long as possible in the top position.
At the bottom part of the high pull the kettle bell swings in between your legs and will try to escape from your grip. During the top portion of the high pull your grip must stay strong to prevent the kettle bell handle from rotating through your hand.
Care should be exercised during this movement because at the top position the beginner can easily lose control of the kettle bell. Start a grip workout : Practice and progress to 60 seconds of high pulls on each arm
You can work both your grip endurance through longer high rep cycles or your grip strength through heavier shorter workouts. Perform as many snatches as possible in 10 minutes changing hands as many times as you wish but never putting the kettle bell down.
Strengthening your grip in a variety of ways with kettle bells can help you to: fix forearm and elbow issues, improve sports performance, and increase your overall lifting strength. As we get older our grip strength starts to deteriorate so working on your grip is something that all of us should address at some point.
Kettle bell training has a huge amount of benefits and improving your grip strength is only one of them. It doesn’t matter if you’re a serious lifter or just serious about carrying every single grocery bag (at once) into the house: you probably want spectacular grip strength.
Because having a powerful grip is one of the ultimate goals of functional fitness, whether you want to add serious poundage to your dead lift or just be better at carrying your boyfriend’s suitcases at the airport. And because kettle bells are good for just about everything — strength, cardio, looking like an all-around badass — you better believe they’re going to be great for building incredible grip strength, too.
Dumbbells, barbells, pull-up bars… pretty much anything you use your hands for during your workout is going to be good at building up your grip strength. But kettle bells are in a class all their own when it comes to developing an incredible foundation of hand, wrist, and forearm strength.
In others, it’s the off-center shape of the weight itself that will challenge your muscles to both hold and stabilize — a true test of your grip strength. And in still other exercises, kettle bells are unique tools for adding another simple (and painfully challenging) element to the mix — a towel — to really change everything you thought you knew about how powerful your grip is.
The unique shape of the bell, and the sometimes odd-looking exercises you can do with them, make them a great diversity-add to your programming — which probably features a lot of barbells and dumbbell work. Let’s get one thing clear: these kettle bell moves are not meant to be a single workout, done right in a row.
Just don’t go trying to pre-exist your grip with these moves before you step onto the dead lifting platform: your forearms will hate you and your friends will mock you. Set up as you would for a regular kettle bell clean, with your feet comfortably under your hips or shoulders (exactly where depends on your personal proportions).
With a regular kettle bell clean, you’d offset your grip so that the pad between your thumb and index finger would hug the corner of the handle. Instead, when you get to the top of the clean, keeping squeezing the handle so that the bell winds up upside down, with the bottom facing the ceiling.
Your elbow should stay tight against your rib cage, and you should be able to turn your face to the upside-down bell to say howdy. The mechanics are otherwise the same: make sure you’re using hip momentum rather than an arm tug to get the movement going, and keep a soft elbow the whole time.
Trust me, when you do these single-arm swings without alternating for a full 60 seconds at a time (each arm), your grip will feel it. Rinse and repeat this process two more times, and once your forearms feel better, your dead lifting power will thank you.
In general, try to walk for ten steps after your forearms or fingers start wanting you to stop — but of course, if you feel a fall happening, slip into a quick squat so you can let the bells rest on the ground rather than dropping them (or your toes will hate you). Because for this carry, you’re not going to be holding the kettle bell by the handle — you’re going to walk while pinching the bell itself between your fingers.
Don’t let your ego get in the way of this one, especially if you have shorter fingers: the amount of weight is less important than the muscle activation of the position itself. And you might want to halve your distance or time from regular farmer’s walks when you first start these lifts: these carries are sure to exhaust.
Try to walk about five steps past the point where your fingers and forearms start yelling, and repeat for 2-4 reps with 60 seconds of rest. At first, your fingers will be relieved by the lack of width involved in these carries; but your forearms will soon realize that they’ve been played.
Stay tall in your chest, get a good grip on the towels, and follow the same protocol as you would for a regular farmer’s walk. Except this time, your hands aren’t touching the bell handles : you’ll be focused, instead, on keeping a grip on those towels.
The instability of the connection will step up the challenge to your grip, so start at about 50-60% lighter than regular farmer’s carry weight. Try to keep walking about ten paces after your grip wants you to stop, and rinse and repeat 5 times, resting 90 seconds in between each rep.
However, the main differences are these: you will be using significantly less weight, because with suitcase carries, you’re only holding the bell in one hand. The carry itself is the same, with the calculated steps, breath, and making sure you’re not hiking your shoulders or torso to compensate for the unilateral weight shift — but remember that you’re holding something overhead.
So feel free to bend your elbow and bring the weight back down — with control — when your fingers and forearms start to demand it. And, as always, if you generally have shoulder impingement or pain, you probably want to avoid overhead exercises unless your doctor or physical therapist has specified otherwise.
Fear and nerves will come into play, because it takes a lot of grit to keep a bottoms-up bell stable, whether it’s under or over your body. Keep the movement slow and controlled, and again, worry more about stability and rep quality than weight.
The same rules apply as with shoulder pressing: much lighter weight than what your ego is telling you to do, and — whether you’re on the floor or on a bench — your palms should be facing each other the whole time. The reason you’ll want to use bigger bells is simply because heavier bells have thicker handles and broader bases — it’ll make it easier (and safer) for you to balance while using kettle bells as your push up stands.
Only try these out if you can do a flawless Turkish get-up with dumbbells and traditionally-held kettle bells — this is not a move to try if you’re unfamiliar with the complicated movement in general. But if you are, know that the same rules apply: keep your shoulder stacked, maintain continuous eye contact with the bell, and breathe through each separate part of the movement.
You can use heavier bells here than you would for active presses, and just holding them in that position will have your forearms asking when the heck they can come back down. Grip strength is every lifter’s best friend, so even though your fingers and forearms will seem to hate you, I promise they’ll thank you in the long run, especially when you start to notice that extra poundage on your lifts.
Grip strength is a quick way to evaluate how much full body strength one possesses. Most of the world’s knowledge of the kettle bell is limited to the swing and perhaps the Turkish get up.
Many of the people I work with have tremendous grip strength, and much of that is due to how I program our kettle bell exercises. Following are some must-do exercises for those of you who have a similar fondness for kettle bell training and want to ramp up hand strength.
Maximal effort, cramp your glutes, grip -it-and-rip-it type of swings. The simple weight of the bell moving with that much momentum forces you to grip down hard.
With a similar line of thinking, high volume, heavy single arm swings are a fast track to developing strong paws. Over-rotation, shrugging up on the bell, letting the lat relax, and reaching at the top are all things that can create some really unsafe postures.
Keep your traps down, stay square, and lock the lat down the whole ride, and watch how fast your hand strength comes along. Heavy bells (48-60 kg) in pairs for distance will help you significantly speed the strength gains for your hands.
Also, if you want to make things interesting, carries the handles in the tips of your fingers from the beginning. The fingers are where your forearm muscles are attached, so setting them up for failure is a great way to increase the value of this insidious exercise.
Any athlete who needs the forearm to roll over for any reason (throwing, swinging a bat or club) can greatly benefit from this beauty. Similar to forearm flips, lay down on your belly and pick a moderately weighted bell (20 or 24 kg).
Set both hands on the horns and tip the bell from lying flat on the ground to the classic bottoms up position. More importantly, your forearm strength helps keep problems like elbow tendonitis from getting momentum during pull ups and such.