Top 11 Exercises to Build Grip Strength for Judo & Bjj
Grip strength is a huge part of Judo. Whether you are trying to pass someone’s guard, obtain back control, or keep them from doing so to you, a deciding factor could very well be your ability to hold onto their GI for dear life, or keep wrist control until necessary. In Judo training especially, getting and keeping good grips is a key success factor in the majority of situations and throws. Keeping clear control of your opponent is a large part of Judo training, and a large part of that is obtaining the correct grips on their GI or lapel.
Grippers (Crush Grip)
Crushing grip is most commonly used with old school grippers. I’m sure all of you have seen or owned one of these grippers at one point in your life.While the local sports store usually carried simple, low resistance grippers, several companies have developed some heavy duty grippers that guarantee to challenge anyone’s crushing strength.
Our favorite is called Captains of Crush, from Ironmind. They have a variety of different grippers that range from 40lbs to 365lbs, meaning it takes 365lbs of force to close their toughest gripper. These are great between sets at the gym, off days, at the end of sessions, in the car, on the couch or while you surf the net.
Deadlifts are one of my favorite exercises to build strength throughout the posterior chain of muscles. Upper back, lower back, gluts and hamstrings all get worked during this lift, but grip strength, or the lack of it, commonly is the weak link. Lots of people use lifting straps for this reason.
Lifting straps take the grips out of the equation and allow most lifters to pull more weight. While that may be beneficial for power lifters, I will recommend not using them for Judo players. Holding heavy loads puts a unique stress on the hands and forearms that forces the body to adapt and get stronger.
Every pulling exercise starts with your grip, so basically every row, pull up or similar uses the hands to connect with the resistance. In order to maximize grip strength, we vary the handles that we use to challenge the hands, fingers and forearms.
Some of our favorites are Fat Gripz, Rolling Thunder, Gi Grips, Eagle Claws and steel pipes. By simply changing the handle, a simple pull up can become incredibly difficult. Mix it up, try new things and the good news is that these handles are relatively inexpensive. Perfect for any home gyms or fight gyms with little to no space.