5 simple ways to improve your grip strength for patrol
Grip strength is a crucial physical skill for officer safety
Grip strength is a crucial physical skill for on-duty strength. Having a strong grip will make an officer more effective in subject control, defensive tactics, and weapon retention. A strong grip is also a beneficial skill in the gym. World-renowned strength coach Pavel Tsatsouline refers to grip strength as an amplifier of overall strength.
Being able to crush grip a bar will help provide tension throughout the upper body and allow an officer to transfer strength better in the major lifts. Don’t take my word for it, test it out. Try bench pressing with a weight you can comfortably do five reps with. Do two sets. For the first set, just hold the bar in a stable position without gripping it too hard and do five reps. For the second set, crush grip the bar as hard as you can and repeat five reps. Which set did you feel stronger on?
Like most physical skills, grip strength is something that can be improved through proper training. Here are five simple ways to increase your grip strength.
1. Direct Grip Strength Training
The most effective way to develop grip strength is through direct grip strength training with grippers. Standard grip strength trainers found in most sporting goods stores wear out quickly and are ineffective. Pick up some professional grip strength trainers. My favorite option is the Captains of Crush Hand Grippers from Iron Mind. These are professional hand grip trainers and they come in 11 different strength levels. If you are new to grip strength training, choose the “trainer” model. Use them in Pavel Tsatsouline’s “Grease the Groove” method.
Find out the maximum number of times you can close the trainers in one set. For example, let’s say it’s 10 reps. Throughout the day you will “grease the groove” by doing a set of three to five reps whenever you have downtime and are 100 percent fresh. You will rest at least 15 minutes between sets and accumulate sets whenever you have downtime. This is an effective way to accumulate volume without fatiguing your grip. This method is great for police work, as you can get in sets during downtime on duty when you are running radar or doing anything stationary.
A friend of mine developed an effective way to use grip trainers to simulate subject control. He hangs a pair of grippers from the ceiling to simulate reaching out and grabbing a suspect.
2. Heavy One-arm Kettlebell Swings
One-arm kettlebell swings are a fantastic way to increase grip strength. Once you are comfortable with two-handed swings, transition to one-handed swings and do sets of 10 with the heaviest weight you can manage. This is a great way to tax your grip strength while getting in some metabolic conditioning and strengthening your hamstrings and glutes. Heavy one-arm swings are a great accessory lift on both squat and deadlift days.
3. Loaded Carries
Picking up something heavy and carrying it as far as you can is a great way to build grip strength. Farmers walks (equal weight held in each hand) and suitcase carries (weight held in one hand only) can both be done with dumbbells, barbells, or kettlebells. Loaded carries make fantastic finishers for any strength training workout.
4. Bottoms Up Carries
Bottoms up carries are a kettlebell specific loaded carry that is extremely taxing on the grip. Hold a kettlebell with the bell side up and walk as far as you can. You have to white-knuckle grip the handle to keep the bell upside down. If you can master the bottoms-up carry at shoulder level, you can press the bell bottoms up overhead and carry in that position to improve shoulder stability as well as grip strength.
5. Hang from a Bar
If your grip strength is lacking and the options above are difficult, simply hang from a pull-up bar for as long as you can. Use a stopwatch to track your time and try to increase the time you can hang from the bar.
Training grip strength will have noticeable benefits both on duty and in the gym. Train with tenacity and watch as subjects become easier to control and your deadlift numbers go up.