The Importance of Grip Strength In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu: Tips & Exercises
Grip strength refers to the strength in your fingers and hands that allows you to firmly maintain and powerfully grip your opponent. As a grappling-based martial art, grip strength is essential to build and develop in BJJ to control, manipulate, and submit opponents.
However, BJJ students may struggle to execute techniques effectively without proper grip strength. Grip strength development is often overlooked during training. Still, a study by the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research discovered that grip strength better predicts success in BJJ and other grappling-focused competitions. Those with a stronger grip showed better performance on the mat.
Why is Grip Strength Important?
In BJJ, the ability to control your opponent's body is crucial. It requires a combination of physical and mental strength, balance, and coordination. One of the key physical attributes needed to control an opponent is grip strength.
Grip strength enables BJJ students to hold onto their opponent's limbs or clothing and maintain control over them, preventing them from escaping or launching a counterattack. Grip strength is essential during ground fighting, where you must maintain control over your opponent while being in close proximity. Executing techniques such as arm bars, chokes, and submissions becomes difficult without strong grips.
Tips to Improve Grip Strength in BJJ
Grip Training Tools
There are several grip training tools available that can help you improve your grip strength. Some of these tools include grip strengtheners, grip balls, and grip trainers. These tools provide resistance and build up the muscles in your forearms and hands.
Training With a Gi
When training in BJJ, practicing with a Gi (traditional martial arts uniform) is essential as it provides a grip for your opponent, training with a Gi will develop your grip strength as you will constantly be gripping and holding onto your opponent's Gi.
Deadlifts are an excellent exercise to improve grip strength. They work the muscles in your forearms and hands, which are essential for maintaining a solid grip. When performing deadlifts, try using a double-overhand grip rather than a mixed grip (one hand overhand and the other underhand). Using a double-overhand grip will challenge your grip strength more as it is more difficult to hold onto the bar.
Pull-ups are another great exercise to improve grip strength. They require you to grip the bar and pull your body weight up, which works the muscles in your hands and forearms. When performing pull-ups, try using a thicker bar or adding weight to challenge your grip strength further.
Farmer's walks involve picking up heavy weights and walking with them for a certain distance. This exercise works the muscles in your hands, forearms, and shoulders, essential for grip strength. When performing farmer's walks, try using heavy dumbbells or kettlebells to challenge your grip strength further.
By incorporating grip training tools, training with a Gi, and performing exercises such as deadlifts, pull-ups, and farmer's walks, you can improve your grip strength and enhance your overall performance on the mat.