I was wondering, how important is grip strength when it comes to doing pullups? What are the best ways to improve grip strength?
Change is good.
If your grip is weak enough to become your limiting factor, then you'll end up failing before your back is fully hit.
Wrap a thick towel around the bar and do some reps with that, it'll force you to use a stronger grip.
Also try static holds. Load a bar with very heavy weight, then just hold it for as long as possible.
Are you new to lifting?
If your grip is too weak to support you doing pullups, you have some serious work to do.
Do static holds, farmer's walk, hang from the pullup bar, pinch grip work, etc...
you might find this article of value if your lacking grip strength: *yes i wrote it*
The Grip of Death by Kc
A lot of people complain about a poor grip as a reason for lacking progress in strength or hypertrophy training. We use our grip every day in life, most people that work a manual labor job use their grip a great deal, such as iron workers or farmers.
The grip is just as important in training as every day life. There are many ways that some people train their grip. Some people buy grip closers to work their grip during the day so they donít have to put up with it during the training workout or some do direct grip work in their training day. Id like to show you what id suggest for a mighty grip of death.
There isnít a universal exercise that will make the grip problem go away for everyone. Many people experiment with different exercises and different holds to help them develop a greater grip strength. Id like to give you a brief list of exercise that work your grip that the average or even elite trainee can benefit from.
Farmer Walks: You can do these a variety of ways. You normally see these being done on TV in the World Strongman Competitions (WSM). First you will have two objects of the identical weight. (Barbells, Tri Bars (work rather well),Dumbbells ..etc..) then you well properly bend down and pick them up with a firm grip with each hand. The object should feel fairly heavy, then you precede to walk with them till your desire distance or till you can no longer hold the objects in your hand.
Dead Lift Holds: Yup, its exactly how it sounds! Iíve seen these done two different ways. Iíve seen lifters pick the bar up off the ground like a normal dead lift then hold it at top till they can no long hold the bar then precede to dumping it. Then you have those who set pins up on the power rack to hold the bar so they just un rack it for an inch or so where they can properly use more weight to overload the grip faster in which I find to be the most productive method.
Wheel Barrow Walks: Got a wheel barrow handy around the house? ( Donít think many gymís carry them as exercise equipment but it wouldnít surprise me at what some gyms do!) Load up the wheel barrow with some rocks, plates, dirt or your training partner (seriously). Once you have got the amount of weight youíd like in the wheel barrow you can do one of two things. You can grip the wheel barrow and stand upright with it and hold it or you can do it the fun way and walk with it. This does train the grip well, much like farmer walks. Not only does this serve as a great grip exercise but also a great conditioning exercise that has been really pioneered as of late by John Davies and his Renegade Training group.
Dumbbell Static Holds: This exercise is done with one dumbbell that is very heavy to the trainee. It would be best to use a adjustable dumbbell so you can change the degree of resistance. You will hold the dumbbell across your chest but not touching your chest with both hands. Once you have got the starting position guess what you do now? HOLD IT! You will then hold the dumbbell till you cannot possibly hold it any longer with both hands.
Loaded Hangs: This would probably apply to some of the smaller guys that train doing pull-ups and stuff of that nature. There are some bigger guys that do as well and they love this specific exercise. If you have a belt that allows you to suspend weight from it to add resistance to your pull-ups thatís can be a very good and beneficial exercise. Load the belt with a fairly good amount of weight then precede to hang on the bar. You will hang with actually bodyweight plus the loaded weight of the belt and weights attached to it which makes for a great grip exercise.
Other grip exercises:
Smooth Rock Carry
Wide Palm Brick Holds
Well now that you have a brief and small example of some of the better grip exercises I have come to find you will now probably ask these questions:
Where in my routine should I do grip work?
A: Id suggest doing the grip work at the end of the week on your very last training day. If you work your grip properly you will definitely feel it the next day in your forearms and all over your arm.
How much should I be doing?
A: I would suggest that you only train your grip one day during the week. As far as sets and reps go, this really depends on the exercise. Farmer Walks id do about three walks with it to the point where my grip fails each time. The ONLY time each exercise should be trained to failure in any strength training program should be when training your grip.
The athlete can also use thick bars as a method of training the grip. The thicker bar actually makes it harder to grip. Some gymís may have thick barís for farmers or thicker barbells others may not. Some strength and conditioning coaches have found that they can wrap a towel around a bar and it works well. You must make sure the towel will not slide down. Even the extra padding of the towel would actually make the lifter grip the bar harder to keep hang of it, which would further result in grip training.
In conclusion a strong grip can be used anywhere from a power lifter, bodybuilder, performance athlete, WSM competitor or Olympic Weightlifter. Donít allow your grip to be the thing that is holding you back from bettering yourself and performance with heavy weights. Donít be fooled with special wrist and bar straps which actually weaken your grip and some people actually benefit less from using them. Stick to the iron and develop The Grip of Death!
Nice article, a good read
The only limits are the one's you place on yourself...