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More on Grip Training for Football

Dear Friend,

As any good football coach knows, Championship teams are built in the off season. That would be right now!

Around the country, smart teams are making preparations right now to make a run for next year’s title. While we have many football coaches on this list so here is a question that coaches of all sports will benefit from:

“John, I have a question for you, someone may have already asked, but I'll ask again. As a football coach with equipment limited to bars, plates and power racks, what are some grip exercises that could be used to make players hands stronger for football?

Anyone who has ever played knows that not every tackle is with perfect form and car crash like violent. There are times when you grab and hang on for dear life and wait for the calvery, or you are the last man standing and it's you bring him down or give up 6pts. Just looking for a few quick and effective exercises to help on the field. Thanks, Heath

The answer to this question alone may be the difference between glory and “maybe next year” in the hands of the right coach. Grip training and hand development is very important for football but keep in mind, it should be viewed as only part of a much larger program.

This means training the opposing muscle groups of the upper and lower body, trunk and low back as well as neck development for obvious reasons. Some grip training exercises are particularly important for not only lower arm development, but also training smaller muscle groups which are very beneficial in the “big picture” as they function very heavily in the skill so f football.

I would say that the reverse curl is particularly valuable and highly underrated in this regard.

Grip exercises can be done with the most basic of equipment. Here is a list of grip exercises that can be performed with nothing more that a barbell, weight plates and a power rack.

We feel we would be doing you a disservice if we didn’t tell you about quality products that could make a big difference in your life, whether it be for feats of strength, athletic success, or just having stronger, healthier hands.

- Wrist curls: standing or seated
- Reverse wrist curls: standing or seated
- Reverse Curls
- One arm deadlifts with an Olympic Bar, suitcase style or “front” style
- One arm deadlifts with the rotating end (for thick bar work)
- Regular barbell exercises (such as curls, shrugs, rows etc) with a towel wrapped around the bar
- Towel Pull-ups
- Plate pinch deadlift or holds
- Plate curls or wrist curls
- Holds in a Power rack
- Weighted pull-ups or timed hangs
- Hammer curl with an Olympic bar
- Overhand deadlifts
- Fingertip Pushups
- Olympic Plate Rim Hold/shrug/deadlift etc
- Functional Isometrics


This list is by no means exhaustive but you can take a few exercises from it to add to your program. I left out dumbbell exercises and a few other basic pieces of equipment such as a wrist roller or rope climbing, which we’ll get to in the future.

I believe that every weight room should have a set of hand grippers on the wall. Close a tough gripper? Get your name on the wall. There is nothing better for motivating kids than recognition through achievement.

Kids will have fun doing trying to reach that goal and won‘t even notice that their training. Of course, make sure that they don’t go overboard with as that is easy for some folks to do, (myself included) especially when it comes to hand grippers.

As I have mentioned earlier, passing out grippers during film sessions is also a way to keep them interested (and awake!) as well as take double advantage of that period of time…

Train hard,

John Wood signature
John Wood

P.S. Need grippers? Get em’ here.



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