How To Get A Strong Grip For Wrestling

Dustin Myers


     Every wrestler knows that grip strength is crucial to success in the sport.  When you grab your opponents wrist or ankle, you need to be able to hold on to it, pull it in and keep it close to your body.  So as you can imagine, there are many muscles involved in “wrestling grip strength” - not just your forearms.  Most of your upper body is involved directly or indirectly when putting the squeeze on an opponent.

     To develop a strong wrestling grip you must train your grip in various ways, with the most important being forearm/hand strength, pulling strength, and squeezing strength.  These categories are a generalization and all 3 of them overlap, but if you think of grip exercise selection in that manner it will help ensure that your are increasing strength in all 3 areas:


Forearm/Hand Strength:

DB Wrist Curls

Sit with one arm on your thigh and hold a dumbbell with your palm facing up.  Slowly lower the weight and let it roll down your fingers.

Weight Holds

Hold a set of heavy dumbbells at your side without slouching.  The dumbbell weight combined should be your bodyweight (100lb athlete should use 50lb DBs), with the goal being to eventually use greater than your bodyweight.  Advanced athletes should be able to hold their bodyweight for 2+ minutes.


Pulling Strength:

Towel Pull Ups

Take a towel or sweat shirt and roll it up before draping it over the pull up bar.  Grab as much material as possible and hold on tight as you do slow, controlled pull ups.  Try doing sets of 10, or for an advanced version try sets of 3 with a weighted vest.

Rope Climb

Start by sitting on the ground and climb the rope hand over hand.  Never let either arm get fully extended.  Beginner: wrap your legs around the rope to assist.  Intermediate: Do not use your legs.  Advanced:  Sit in an L-Sit the entire time with your legs straight out in front of you.


Squeezing Strength:

Heavy Med Ball Carry

Grab a heavy medicine ball in a body lock.  Keep your chest up and back straight as you walk for the prescribed distance.

Zercher Squat

Place a loaded bar on a low rack set to the approximate height of your elbows when you are at the bottom of a squat.  With a wide stance, cradle the bar in the crook of your elbows and place your crossed arms on your chest.  Keep the bar close to your chest as you stand up, hipping in at the top.


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