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Functional Grip Training for Law Enforcement Personnel

This was originally a guest post I did for Murph at Total Performance Sports. The purpose is to show those who need a strong grip some innovative ways to build grip strength using simple training tools. For more information on Grip Training, check out The Grip Authority.

Grip Training for Law Enforcement, Corrections, & Security Personnel

Law Enforcement and Corrections Personnel (and other related professions) are confronted with many physical challenges while on the job.

They have cardiovascular demands that can arise suddenly and before they know it they have to pursue a perpetrator on foot. As if that isn’t tough enough, they have to do so while wearing heavy boots and protective gear. Specific preparation needs to take place on a routine basis in order for these members of law enforcement to have their edge when the heat is on.

Another type of physical demand that law enforcement personnel must think about is Grip strength. Handcuffing a person who is resisting arrest can be very challenging and being able to maintain wrist control in this situation can make the difference between an altercation that leads to a successful arrest and a scuffle that results only in an escaped assailant.

Still other important grip strength demands exist in the realm of law enforcement, including holding and aiming a pistol with steady confidence or trying to pull a firearm out of the grasp of criminal without making it go off in the struggle.

My goal with this article is to show law enforcement, security, and corrections personal a few ways they can train for grip strength that will make them more prepared for the situations above and more, so they can be successful in subduing the criminals they encounter and are able to return home to their families unscathed.

My aim is to also show ways to get the benefits of increased grip strength using only equipment that is commonly found in a commercial gym, since many do not have their own training facilities in their homes and headquarters.

Hand Cuffing Training – EZ Bar Partner Pulls

Trying to maintain a grip on the wrist of someone who is trying to break free can be very challenging. This exercise is designed to replicate the feeling of someone trying to pull their wrist out of your grasp.

Begin by having a partner grab one end of an EZ Curl Bar with both hands. Next, grab the other end with one hand and have your partner try to pull the bar out of your grasp.

You can make this even tougher by wrapping a towel around one sleeve of an EZ Curl Bar, then take a grip on the towel. The purpose of this is to mimic the feeling of gripping a wrist with a sleeve on it.

The partner should violently pull on the other end of the EZ Bar trying to yank it out of your hand. When performing this exercise make sure to squeeze your fingers hard into the sleeve, pinning it against your palm. Also, make sure to activate the thumb as it will be very important in maintaining a grip on the bar.

Perform this variation for several sets for as long as it takes for the partner to get it out of your hand.

Physical Altercation Preparation – Full Contact Twist, Gripified

The Full Contact Twist was originally designed as a method for training the core, but with the use of a thick towel, you will also get the benefit of building very strong hands and lower arms. Begin by positioning one end of a barbell in a corner of the gym, have a partner step on it or secure it in some other fashion. This is done to keep the barbell in one place. Next, loop a thick towel around the sleeve of the bar tightly.

With the towel looped around the sleeve, grip the ends of the towel and pull them apart. This will activate the upper back and shoulders while also hitting the lower arms and hands very hard. This upper body tension combined with the activity of the lower body results in a very intense full body exercise that works everything between the feet and the neck, mimicking the full body stress of an altercation with an inmate.

The full contact twist is done by rotating on the ball of the foot and moving the end of the barbell from a position in front of the body down to knee level, and then back upwards and over to the opposite knee.

Hand Toughening Training – Duffel Bag Pull-ups

In your profession, it will also benefit you to have Tough Hands. This will reduce your distraction during a struggle, enabling you to focus more on the assailant and less on the pain in your hands as you try to control them.

Throw an empty duffel bag over a chin-up bar. Mash the bag into a clump and use it as a gripping surface for performing pull-ups. The material will most likely pile up unevenly, but that is okay because when grasping for control of an incensed criminal, you will never get an even grip on his clothing with both hands, so just roll with it.

Pull-ups with this type of material will also most likely hurt, but doing this routinely will deaden the fingers to this type of training which means you will be ready if you ever have to wrestle someone to the ground when on duty.

Empty duffel bags can also be used for exercises such as lat pull-downs, cable rows and T-bar rows to toughen the hands and build hand strength.

Gun Handling – PVC Pipe Holds

One of the challenges of aiming a gun, especially for those who are new to using a pistol, is the leverage of the heavier firearms in the out stretched arm. Their surprising weight causes new personnel to shake and become incapable of maintaining an accurate site picture, let alone an accurate shot. The following exercises will help strengthen the lower arms and wrists to be better prepared to aim and hold a gun.

For this exercise, you will need a length of PVC Pipe 1.5 to 2.5 inches in diameter about 5 inches long, a large carabiner, and some JumpStretch or other elastic training bands.

Run the band through the PVC Handle and clip the carabiner onto the bands. This will keep the bands from popping back out through the pipe. Next, choke the bands toward the bottom of a squat cage or other sturdy structure.

Stand several feet away from the squat cage, grasping the PVC pipe as if it were the handle of a firearm. Raise the handle upwards, attempting to keep it perfectly vertical. Once it reaches shoulder height, keep it there, performing holds for time, shooting for a solid 30 second hold.

Both hands can also be used on the device, allowing for more band tension to be used.

This movement can be performed several times a day every day if it is set up in the right spot in the office or in a break room. Obviously those locations do not usually have squat cages in them, so accommodations will have to be made to formulate a work-around, such as a partner standing on the band, attaching it to a heavy bench, chair or desk, etc.

Grip Training does not require fancy equipment. As you can see, there are plenty of ways to perform grip training with equipment you already have at the gym or stuff you can get at a hardware store and make yourself with simple tools. The movements above will prove to be very beneficial for law enforcement personnel in toughening and strengthening the hands as well as training the hands to work in unison with the rest of the body to control an adversary.

Hand Strength is an extremely important part of the job for law enforcement personnel, and my expertise is as a Strength and Conditioning Coach, I am not experienced in Law Enforcement, Corrections, or Hand-to-Hand Combat. By analyzing movement patterns often encountered Law Enforcement and Corrections Personnel, and by conducting an informal needs analyses, I came up with these simple movements, but there are literally hundreds of ways to train the hands, fingers, wrists, and lower arms to be strong and powerful.

For more ideas on how to train the Hands, Wrists and Forearms, sign up for my Free Grip Strength Training Tips today, and as a free gift you will get my complimentary Grip Training Workouts PDF and Video.

Free Grip Training Tips, Workout PDF, and Video

This Free Grip Program includes 8 weeks of Grip Workouts at absolutely no cost to you, giving you 24 workouts in total with absolutely NO REPEATED DRILLS.

So if you need strong hands for your profession, your sport, or you pastime, sign up today and start Building a Stronger Grip.

By the way, for the policemen, guards, security personnel, and others whose jobs entail the risk of having to physically engage someone who could be violent, I certainly hope you never have to experience. Your safety is my number one concern, but for those who may need it, I hope this information is helpful.


I am a Strength and Conditioning Coach / Personal Trainer in Pennsylvania. For more information, or to ask a training question, I welcome emails and phone calls. Feel free to contact me at jedd(dot)diesel(at)gmail(dot)com or call 607-857-6997.

For information on Grip and Forearm Strength, there is no better resource than The site features monthly detailed Grip topics, Workouts, Coaching Calls, and Articles. Your membership is guaranteed to bring your hand strength up to the standard of your profession. Try it today for just $7 and see what has to offer!

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8 Responses to “Functional Grip Training for Law Enforcement Personnel”

  1. Frank DiMeo Says:

    I’ll be sharing this with our LEO guys, thanks!

  2. Ralph Says:


    Excellent article…I have been studying and training grip specifically due to the fact that I am a police officer myself. Some of the exercises you highlight I have never thought of doing, I will be incorporating these in the future, thanks…


  3. Ben Edwards Says:


    That was one of your all-time best training articles! Seriously, I was blown away by how effective and innovative the exercises are.

    As you know, I work in Corrections – and it is a “special” kind of strength needed to function at a high level and walk around with the type of confidence necessary to get through every day unscathed.

    I wrote and shared this article on the USAWA site 15 months ago:

    Not as innovative as your exercises, but it’s something extra to throw in the training toolbox.

    I originally shared it only with a select few coworkers who expressed real interest in getting a stronger grip with real carryover to the job duties.

    Hope you get a lot more positive feedback on this article because it’s stellar information.

    Have you thought about posting it or sharing on a major LEO forum? I don’t frequent any or I’d recommend one.

    Ben Edwards

  4. Jedd Johnson Says:

    Thanks brother. I appreciate the kind words. Thanks for taking the time to put down a comment bro.


  5. Jedd Johnson Says:

    Thanks Ralph. I hope they help you out. Thanks for stopping by and for leaving a comment.

    All the best,


  6. Jedd Johnson Says:

    Thank you Frank. Great having you at the site again.


  7. Newsletter article: Grip Training for Pistol Shooters and Marksmen Says:

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  8. Diesel Crew – Muscle Building, Athletic Development, Strength Training, Grip Strength » » How to Improve Grip Strength for Shooting Says:

    […] train the hands specifically for firing a pistol in an article I wrote a while back, called “Functional Grip Training for Law Enforcement.” This combines several of the disciplines we’ve already […]

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