You can’t get pumped-up wrists the same way you get pecs and biceps, but there are plenty of compelling reasons to train your grip. Use this routine to get the paws of a grizzly bear.
THE GRIP WORKOUT
DIRECTIONS: Include one of the following exercises at the end of each workout.
Place two same-size weight plates (think 35s) together so the smooth sides face out, and grip them with your thumb on one side and your fingers on the other. Squeeze the plates together and lift them off the floor as though you were deadlifting. Hold them in front of your body at arm’s length for time. Perform 3–5 sets. To make it even tougher, run some chain through the holes in the center of the plates and rotate your wrists. The chains will add weight and will swing when you twist your wrists, adding another element of challenge.
Hold a 10-pound plate by hooking your thumb around the lip on the outside edge and spreading your fingers on the smooth side. Curl the plate as normal but keep your wrist straight—don’t let it buckle from the weight. Work up to two plates and then a 25-pounder. Perform 3–5 sets of 3–5 reps on each hand.
Tie a 24-inch strap or rope to a 2.5-pound weight plate. Tie the other end to the head of a sledgehammer (the longer the handle, the harder the exercise will be). Hold the hammer at the end of the handle with both hands at waist height. While keeping the hammer parallel to the ground, rotate the handle so the strap wraps around it and it begins hoisting the plate up in the air. Continue until the plate touches the handle, and then unroll it to the floor. That’s one set. Change the direction you roll every set along with the hand that’s in front. Do 2–3 sets with each hand in front.
This exercise works wrist flexion and extension while forcing you to overcome bad leverage, so it strengthens the wrist in multiple directions.
Jedd Johnson is a trainer in northeast- ern Pennsylvania who competes in grip- strength contests—he can two-hand pinch 268 pounds. He is co-founder of The Diesel Crew, a training information company. dieselcrew.com.