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Grip Training for BJJ – Your Secret Weapon

There are a large number of ways you can add grip training for bjj into your training. BJJ (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) is a full contact sport that requires a great amount of skill and technique. BJJ is a sport that focuses on grappling with particular emphasis on ground-fighting.

A popular way to train BJJ would be ‘rolling’ more commonly known as sparring allowing the participants to apply choke holds and joint locks.

Not only do these movements require great skill but they also require a lot of strength. Particularly grip strength, at the end of the day if your grip fails, your technique fails. Having a strong grip allows you to more effectively execute movements and secure strong choke holds / joint locks.

Grip training for BJJ can easily be done around your current training routine. Just adding a few grip specific exercises a couple of times a week and using recovery accessories will greatly aid grip development.

Below we have added some benefits of grip training for BJJ.

  • Improved muscular endurance in the forearms and hands
  • Improved overall Grip Strength (Our favourite). 
  • Stronger biceps and back
  • Better flexibility and Injury prevention
  • More developed arm musculature. 

One of the most important tools in your armoury for BJJ is a strong grip. We took the time to speak to a few guys who regularly trained and competed in BJJ asking about how they go about grip training, if at all. One thing that they all had in common was when having your first grapple with an opponent, them having an extremely strong grip would be intimidating. 

Although you will develop a pretty good grip over time whilst training BJJ there are a few other ways you can work on your grip training for BJJ specifically. 

Warming Up 

One thing we always stress here at Gods Of Grip is the importance of warming up. Warming up properly is ultimately going to help you prevent injuries, recover quicker and progress faster.

There are a number of ways you can effectively warm up for BJJ. 

wrist flexor stretch

Accessories For Recovery / Strength Building

Finger Exerciser

This versatile accessory can be used for both warming up or developing finger strength. Having strong fingers is essential for BJJ. Just using these for a couple of minutes a day will give you great results. Especially before / after a rolling session. They are probably the number 1 accessory people will use when grip training for BJJ.

How To Use It

Although they can look a little confusing at first, the finger exercisers are really simple to use. Just hook the hoops over your fingers. Using the bottom middle on your thumb. 

You want them to be on the tips of your fingers, high enough so you get a full range of motion, but low enough so they don’t fall off.

Once you have attempted it a few times you will find the sweet spot no problem.

finger exerciser grip exercise

When To Use It

As mentioned above, the finger exercisers are perfect for warming up before you begin your training. They are also ideal for recovery, it is best to use the lower resistance bands before / after training. But on your non rolling days you can switch them out for the tougher resistance bands to try and build up your strength.

finger exerciser grip exercise

Thick Bar Training

A great way to develop your finger / forearm endurance is to train using a thick bar. Keeping a more open hand whilst using a thick bar emulates holding onto your opponent. Training regularly using the below methods will increase your endurance, power and ability to close out choke holds / joint locks.

You can train thick bar in a number of ways. Using a regular Axle for deadlifts, rows, curls or static holds to replace a regular barbell is a great way to add it into your training.

rolling thunder deadlift

Another effective way is to use a pair of fat gripz. They are a great, versatile accessory that you can use on a regular bar or kettlebell. Just use them a couple of times a week in place or your regular bar and you’ll soon start to notice a difference.

Hangs / Pull Up’s

One of our favorite exercises / accessory movements, hangs and pull up’s. When it comes to developing raw grip and back strength there simply is no exercise better. 

Hangs will not only help develop grip strength but they will help improve mobility and aid recovery from shoulder pain / back issues. 

The same principal applies to hangs as it would training thick bar. If you find training on a regular pull up bar too easy then you can either add some weight via a weight vest or stick some fat gripz on the bar.

Hanging from a bar will also really aid your grip endurance. 

Kettlebell Exercises

There are a huge number of exercises and movements you can do with kettlebells. You are probably already familiar with them as they enable you to build explosive power and aid mobility. 

To help specifically for BJJ there are a few exercises we will focus on that can easily be added into your grip training routine. 

They will enable you to build up strong muscle fibers to give you the edge over your opponents.

Kettlebell Wrist Curls

For this exercise the key is to keep the weight light and the reps high. There are a couple of ways you can perform this exercise so it just depends what feels comfortable for you. 

Select a light kettlebell, pick it up by the handle, to start keeping it by your side knuckles facing outwards. You want to simply curl the weight up using your wrist. This will give a great stretch in the forearm and wrist.  

  • Keep the weight low
  • Keep the reps high
  • Focus on the movement
  • Embrace the burn

Using kettlebells when grip training for bjj is really simple and easy to add into your training routine.

Heavy Kettlebell Wrist Curls

These are where the explosive power is built! An exercise that requires a bench and a kettlebell, a pretty heavy one too! 

Grab your kettlebell and put it on the bench. You want to lean down / go onto your knees. Then turn the kettlebell on its side and roll it over and back. It may sound and look easy but this is really tough. After a couple of reps you will start struggling. 

This will greatly help build up your strength and is one of the best methods when grip training for bjj.

  • Keep the weight heavy
  • Keep your body tight to prevent injuries
  • Keep the reps low
  • Unlock your power

Grip Ring PLUS

The Grip Ring plus is one of our favorite grip accessories. Larger and tougher than the original O-Zone Grip Ring, they really are an amazing accessory that has a number of benefits.

Now available in 6 different resistances they are your perfect training aid, 30lb upto 80lb. 

The lower levels 30lb – 50lb  are ideal for warming up before a training session and the 60lb + are ideal for building strength.

How To Use It

Sitting in the palm of your hand, the grip ring PLUS fits comfortably due to the ‘flower’ style ridges. You can simply just crush it. Use all of your hand strength, or just a few fingers. Just whatever feels best. We would advise keeping a higher rep range on the lower resistance rings for warming up and a lower rep range on the tougher resistance ones to help build strength.

When To Use It

As said above the best way you can use these grip rings is keeping the resistance lower for warming up before training / recovering after a session. Then using the higher resistance one’s for building strength. You will be surprised by the tension of the higher level rings as they are tough!

Healthy Hands

BJJ and all styles of martial arts are a great way of keeping fit and healthy. One thing to keep in mind is, your hands are one of your most important weapons. 

wrist extensor stretch

Keeping them healthy and strong is a huge key to success in this sport. Focusing on specific grip training for bjj will really help develop your skills.

Along with using some training methods above with the accessories it is a good idea to perform stretches on a regular basis to aid recovery. 

Prayer-Wrist-Stretch-2

For more information on recovery and rehabilitation checkout one of our recent guides which is now available for free download!

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