As Seen On

Grip Strength: Open Hand and Crushing Together?


First off, I am sorry for the lack of new posts lately. I have been distracted lately with many things.

Some of them, are just plain life issues that catch you off guard from time to time. For instance, my long-time friend in life and business, my Explorer, decided to finally leave me and go a completely new direction, so I had to spend two days researching vehicles. I ended up buying a Nissan Rogue, and it has been awesome.

I’ve also had two amazing trips in the last 3 weeks. The first was my first Strongman Performance gig, where I worked as a carnival strongman as part of a 4-act circus show. It was a great time, I learned even more about the feats of strength I do and teach, and it was great watching all the youngsters enjoy themselves.

Lift, Hold, and Control Seminar Group: Dan Creter, Jan Dellinger, Sarah Shafer, Jedd Johnson, Rebecca Klopp, Paul Tompkins, Stephanie Lewis

This past weekend was the Lift, Hold, and Control seminar at Vision Fitness of PA, home of Garage Ink Powerlifting. My friend, Niko Hulslander, invited me down to his gym to speak and it was great spending some time with him and getting to know him more as well. The attendees had a great time and they learned a lot. It was my privilege to have in attendance a well-known member of the strength world, Jan Dellinger, author of The Dellinger Files. Jan worked at York Barbell for years and years and was once assistant editor of Muscular Development Magazine.

So, now that I have my feet under me, I want to share a video with you that I put up on YouTube a week or so ago.

Grip Training: How to Train Crush and Open Hand

I always welcome comments and questions on my YouTube videos, and I have been getting lots of good ones. Recently, one of my YouTube Subscribers asked a question along the lines of “What is the best way to work Crushing Strength and Open Hand Strength at the same time?

At first I responded by telling him that it couldn’t be done, simply by definition of the two types of grip strength. To understand what I mean, here are the definitions of these two types of grip strength.

Crushing Grip: Dynamic force produced by the hands and fingers, whereas the fingers move inward toward the palm, as in making a fist or closing a gripper.

Open Hand: Static force produced by the hand and fingers where no overlap of the fingertips and thumb can take place, as in lifting a Blob or thick handled dumbbell.

So, as you can see, by definition, these two categories of grip strength somewhat cancel one another out, especially when you consider the following:

1. Crushing is almost always dynamic in nature. Gripper closing involves movement. Even crushing down on a kettlebell handle in a Bottoms-up Press manner, while the movement is minimal, it is still taking place in order to control and adjust to the balance of the kettlebell.

2. Open Hand Training is almost always static in nature. With wide plate pinching, the thumb and fingers squeeze onto the outsides of the plates, but no movement takes place beyond this. The same is true when lifting the Inch Dumbbell or other thick-handled challenge bar.

However, as I thought more and more about this question, I realized that I was being too closed-minded. I was only considering very basic forms of Grip Strength Training, and I was leaving out many other forms that do have the potential to work both aspects of gripping ability. I was really pigeon-holing myself and looking at the question with tunnel vision.

Here is the video that I made in order to address this:

How to Combine Crushing and Open Hand Strength Training

This video will show you some examples of both Open Hand Training and Crushing Strength.

So, as you can see, it can be very, very easy to accomplish training the Crushing aspect and the Open Hand aspects at the same time with Bi-Polar Training, you just have to do each hand separately. Plus with the right equipment you can come very close to training the hands to crush without the benefit of a closed hand by using the Grip 4orce Handles.

There are other ways to accomplish this Hybrid form of Grip Training that have come to me since then. One such way is with Sandbags. When performing heavy sandbag lifts, as you clench the material on the body of the bag (using the handles they have would not count), the action of the fingers digging in would entail a degree of dynamic crushing (Crush Grip), while the hand stays open (Open Hand).

In most cases, Sandbag Lifting, especially when done with a large bag, will fit into another category of grip that is often not discussed, called Monkey Grip. Monkey Grip is when the orientation of the hand puts the fingers and thumb on the same side of the implement being used, instead of opposing one another in convention Pinch and Open Hand lifts.

We will go into more detail on Monkey Grip training later. For now, mull over what I talked about in today’s article and video, and as always, if you have a question, make sure to leave a comment. Also, if you can think of other ways to combine Crushing and Open Hand training, post them as well. Believe me, there are lots of them.

Want more detailed instruction to take you to your Grip Training Goals? The answers to your questions await you at my coaching site, With hundreds of entries over the course of nearly three years of operation, it is the world’s most complete Grip Strength instructional Site. Join today for just $7 and let’s start working together toward your grip training goals.

What have you got to lose? Join today.


Want to Take the Next Step in Gripper Destruction? Check out CRUSH: Total Gripper Domination below

Articles You Might Also Like:

Tags: , , , , ,


2 Responses to “Grip Strength: Open Hand and Crushing Together?”

  1. thomas Says:

    Hi Jedd, first off all. Great article.
    What do you think about training like climbers? These guys have awesome gripping power.
    I now started to use the metolius rock rings 3d and i think when you hang on these itยดs also a combination.
    What do you think about these divices? Have you already used or tought about using such tools?
    Looking forward to hear from you ๐Ÿ™‚
    All the best with your new car…drive save ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Jedd Johnson Says:

    I have tried Climbing holds but I am not sure I have used the exact equipment you mentioned. I would have to take a look at them.



Leave a Reply