No Limp Wristing a Bar

You remember that game “Mercy” that you use to play as a kid? Heck I see some guys at bars that still plat that after a few drinks lol

For those that don’t remember, this is where you interlock fingers and forcefully try to hyperextend the others wrist until the person cries “Mercy!”  Ya, it’s one of those moments in my past and I look back on and go “why…?”

Over the course I’ve been training I’ve seen a number of guys doing the same damn thing but not with another person instead of a dumbbell or barbell, and I can promise you that eventually that bar will win.


If you can’t grip it, you can’t lift it

I know a number of my clients are tired of hearing me say that but think about it. Your hands are the FIRST things to touch the bar in 99% of the case and if your grip is loose or wrong then the mechanics of the lift will not be efficient and the exercise will be a LOT harder.

How to grip a barbell - Fitness Revolution RowlettLet’s keep this simple and we will use the bench press as an example though what I’m going to write about will carry over into about every other exercise.

  • Step 1: You want the bar positioned in the PALM of the hand NOT the fingers.
  • Step 2: Turn your wrist where they are rotated IN, this will place the bar on the palm
  • Step 3: SQUEEZE the hell out of it! I can’t tell you how many times I’m training a person in their upper body lifts and they are  nearing their max but by yelling “Squeeze the bar!” they will all of a sudden get about two extra reps.



Thumb-less Grip?

Sometimes you’ll hear trainers or other self proclaimed gym buffs talk about a thumb-less grip for lifting but I have always had a hard time understanding the logic behind this. Especially if you are lifting ANYTHING over your head you just greatly increased the risk of the bar slipping out of your hands and on you!


If you haven’t seen this video yet be prepared to cringe…




Some quick Fixes:

Fat Gripz for a stronger grip - Fitness Revolution Rowlett

Get a pair of Fat Gripz. This alone as added substantial grip strength and the carry over into my other lifts was noticeable in one month; I even observed a client adding over 50lbs to their deadlift in several weeks because they could grip the bar harder.





Fix your Bench Press Grip - Fitness Revolution Rowlett - Travis MerrittWrap a rubber band around both your wrist. You trying to resist the band from pulling your hands in you will automatically turn your wrist in and out allowing for the barbell to sit in a proper position. Heck I noticed a 15lb jump in my bench press in one set when I had this band wrapped on my wrist just because the bar was sitting properly in my hands






I know that I may make fun of the limp wrist action in the gym but honestly this is the one place that you want to be tight. I see this time and time again where a person gets done doing a set with some heavy weight and they come accross shaking their wrist afterwards talking about how bad its hurts because they did NOT have a tight grip and ended up hyper-extending their wrist.  We are here to work the muscles not play mercy with the bar because as we talked about earlier… it will win every damn time.




In Health and Awesomeness,




Travis Merritt, BS, CPT, CES, RBT is the owner of Fitness Revolution in Rowlett, TX.

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