2 Key Kettlebell Exercises to Increase Your Grip Strength

Jeff Martone

Jeff Martone is a recognized Kettlebell expert. He was first... read more

More than likely, a person with a strong grip is a strong person.

Chances are you have a weaker grip if you haven’t trained to develop your strength. The two training methods listed below are simple, safe and effective. Practice them on a regular basis and I promise you that your grip will be enhanced.

Kettlebell Bottoms-up Clean

Total grip strength is dependent on the strength of the forearm muscles and the tendon and ligament power in the hands and fingers. The Kettlebell Bottoms-up Clean is a great exercise for increasing strength and muscular endurance in your grip, wrist and upper body. In addition, the Bottoms-up Clean will effectively increase your anaerobic capacity and strengthen your entire posterior chain. Proper breathing is important for increasing power and safety. Be sure to inhale through your nose every time you fold at the hips and actively exhale through your teeth as your hips and legs reach full extension.

Practicing Bottoms-up Cleans will effectively strengthen your fingers, wrists and forearms.

How to Do

  1. Place the Kettlebell on the ground, between your feet and slightly in front of your toes.
  2. Assume a good deadlifting position: feet hip and shoulder width apart, chest open, fold at the hip, butt back, weight towards heels, neck remains neutral. Place one hand on the corner of the Kettlebell handle nearest your thumb. The non-working hand stays out to the side, away from your body.
  3. While maintaining an open chest and straight back, slightly extend your legs and pull (hike) the Kettlebell up and back behind your legs. Once the Kettlebell reaches the end of its arc, explosively extend your knees and hips. Your goal is to create enough power from your hips to project the Kettlebell to chest level.
  4. As the Kettlebell reaches waist height, contract the muscles of your armpit as you would in order to keep a clipboard from falling out from under your arm. Also, allow your elbow to bend until your forearm is perpendicular to the floor.
  5. It is critical to instantly and simultaneously tighten your entire body, especially your grip, glutes and armpit of the working arm at the moment the Kettlebell reaches the “bottom-up” position.
  6. Hold for 1 to 3 seconds, and then slightly push it away, allowing gravity to take the Kettlebell back down. Be sure to fold at the hips, quickly moving your butt rearward, and keep an open chest.

Repeat for five to ten reps, switch hands and then repeat for 3 to 5 sets.

Shooter’s Push-up

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The Shooter’s Push-up develops crushing strength and isometric tension.

How to Do

  1. Place the Kettlebell on a non- slick surface (preferably a rubberized floor) with both hands on the sides of the kettle- bell. The Kettlebell handle should be oriented north to south.
  2. Perform a push-up. This is a partial push-up due to the handle touching your sternum. Do this as a warm-up and to get the feel of the exercise.
  3. Once you have mastered the movements, it’s time to increase the intensity.
  4. Place the Kettlebell upside down with its handle oriented north/south.
  5. Start on your knees.
  6. Place your hands on the sides of the Kettlebell and perform a push- up. This creates an unstable environment which forces you to recruit more muscles. In addition to pressing in hard on the sides of the Kettlebell, be sure to press the Kettlebell hard into the floor to keep it from tipping over.

Once you can do a few reps from your knees, it’s time to go to your toes. It is helpful to keep your feet spread apart to maintain balance.

It is easier to perform this exercise with bigger Kettlebells. As your strength increases, try using smaller Kettlebells. The smaller the Kettlebell, the harder the exercise is to perform. Hence, it develops more crushing power.

This is a high-tension strength exercise, so keep your reps low (3 to 5) and don’t go to muscle failure.

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