Arm Exercises

Increase Your Grip & Forearm Strength

Not impressing anyone with your weak handshake and soft paws? Here's how to look like Popeye.


How to Schedule the Workouts

With my clients, I’ve had terrific results training grip strength every other day - which, with a conventional four day split, would entail doing this sort of work on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. If you’re currently working with a bodypart split, you can use this “every other day” approach any way you see fit. With one exception (fat bar holds, which we’ll address later on), grip training - which usually takes place as an end-of-workout finisher - shouldn’t have an adverse effect on anything else you’re doing, provided you approach your programming with a little bit of common sense, i.e., don’t train your grip thirty seconds before taking a one-rep max in your deadlift.

Training grip every other day is ideal for a variety of reasons. Your forearms aren’t a major muscle group, relatively speaking, and you’ll be able to work them hard every 48 hours or so. We’ll also be rotating exercises quite a bit, so the way you’ll be hitting your forearms will change from workout to workout - keeping things fresh and enabling you to go all-out on these sets.

The CNS Callus Trick

Here’s a little tip I use to figure out whether I’m ready to train grip on any given day. I have no idea what “research says” regarding this method, but it’s highly effective. It’s been working for me and my clients for well over 20 years, so I’m going to keep rolling with it until someone shows me something better. I’m not holding my breath until then.

When you’ve developed some calluses on your hands, what usually happens after a heavy “pulling” day where you’ve deadlifted or done something that severely stresses your grip? Your calluses hurt. Sometimes they even turn red. They’re raw, they sting, and it makes holding barbells, dumbbells and cable attachments very uncomfortable.

The solution is simple. Don’t train your grip when your calluses hurt, because your central nervous system hasn’t recovered enough for you to get the optimal benefit out of a grip workout at this point. When you can push on your calluses and they don’t hurt, you’re ready to train grip again. Try it this way, and I guarantee you’ll make progress.

For access to exclusive fitness advice, interviews, and more, subscribe on YouTube!