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Get A Grip! by Chris Ordway

Everyday we use our hands to interact with the world. At the gym, almost every workout requires some form of grip, whether it be a barbell, kettlebell, or even jump rope. So let me ask you this, when you grab onto those things, how do you do it? When you wrap your hand around the object, do you have your thumb next to your fingers, or do you wrap your thumb around the opposite side to have a full grip on it? So then why don’t you do it on the pull up bar?

The pull up bar seems to be this mythical exception where we all forget how to hold onto a simple bar. Gripping the bar properly may be uncomfortable at first, but so was learning the hook grip and we still teach it as the strongest way to hold onto the barbell.

So how should we hold onto the bar and how do we get better at it? Whenever you jump or step up to the bar, think “knuckles on top, thumb wrapped around”. When you do this, the bar sits in the “meat” of your hands and not your fingers, allowing the stronger forearm muscles to hold you up.

As for practice? Start simple, 3 sets of 30 seconds hanging with a minute rest between sets. From there, your limit is your own creativity, practice your grip with kip swings, jumping pull ups, strict pull ups, knee raises, etc. Gymnastics are hard to get good at quickly, so be patient, stay consistent, and before you know it, gripping the bar correctly will be second nature before you know it.


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