The Glaring Gap in Your Grip Strength

The Glaring Gap in Your Grip Strength

Why You Need Pinch Training In Your Life, By Gil “Squeezus” Goodman

You might be neglecting one of the most important components of a strong grip. Maybe you can do one-arm doorframe chin ups, you never drop a deadlift, or you can even close a Captains of Crush #1, #2, or  #3 gripper. chances are, though, there’s a glaring gap. What am I talking about?

Recovery? No (but let’s be honest, we can all do better here.)

I’m talking about PINCH Grip, the act of grasping something between the fingers and thumb.

It’s no wonder many folks overlook thumb strength. We don’t  really need our thumbs on barbells, kettlebells, or pull-up bars; most of your time climbing or ninja-ing is spent hanging from your fingertips, and you don’t really get a thumb workout from grippers.

But whenever you pick up pretty much anything, a cup, a 2x4, a football, a rope, a pencil...the list could go on forever, you use your thumb. This little, overlooked piece of anatomy is what separates primates from the rest of the animal kingdom. So why not make it strong?

So now that we have established that nobody needs half-strong hands, let’s talk about how to make those thumbs swole.

There are four main types of pinch training:

  • Narrow Pinch - Just like it sounds, pinching something narrow enough that most of your fingers and thumb surface be used to apply opposing forces. Think of holding a small cheeseburger.
    • Suggested training tools: a 2x6 with an eyebolt in it, pairs of weight plates sandwiched with the smooth sides out, or a dedicated pinch block like The Flask.
  • Wide Pinch - Pinching something wide enough that most of the force is on the last or last two pads of your fingers and thumb. Think of holding a football, or a really big cheeseburger.

Pinch Grip 

As someone who started my grip training with weak thumbs, but has worked up to numerous world class feats of pinching strength (lifting Blobzilla, pinching two 45’s, lifting a 45 plate by the hub + 40lbs, etc.), I have found that a good mix of pinching at different widths works best, but consistency is key. I recommend training pinch twice per week: wide one day, narrow on the other, throw in key pinch on either day, and finish your pinch work with a good dynamic pinch burnout.


Check out this simple training plan that will transform your meat hooks in to meat pincers.

Day 1:

Wide Pinch - 3-5 sets of 5-10 reps (moderate effort)

Key Pinch - 2 sets of 5 reps, hold each rep for 5 seconds

Dynamic Pinch Burnout - 3+ sets with minimal rest between


Day 2:

Narrow Pinch - 3-5 sets of 5-10 reps (moderate effort)

Key Pinch - 3 sets of 3 reps (moderate-to-heavy effort)

Dynamic Pinch Burnout - 3+ sets with minimal rest between


Now, slap on some VIKN Performance Chalk, get out there, and get to pinching.

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