What is a Pinch Grip?

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  • Written By: Micki Elizabeth
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 27 January 2020
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A pinch grip requires an individual to grasp an object with the thumb on one side and the rest of the fingers on the other side. Generally, this is considered a weak grip. It does, however, take a considerable amount of thumb strength; therefore, many athletes develop their pinch grip to help improve overall grip strength. One can practice several different exercise moves to develop this type of grip such as deadlifts, curls and push-ups.

One way to start to develop grip strength is to grasp a weighted plate, which is often added to weightlifting machines and can be found in many gyms. A single plate may be a good place to start. One needs only to pick up the plate with the thumb on the side opposite the fingers, without the plate touching the palms, and lift. The weight lifted can increase gradually.

To add a challenge to this exercise, one can use the pinch grip to hold two weight plates together. Using two plates typically requires much more strength than lifting a single weight. This is not only because of the added weight; a strong grip is necessary so that one plate does not slip and fall. A deadlift is a common exercise to mimic when using weight plates in this manner.


Many athletes perform curls using a pinch grip to improve wrist and forearm strength. Weight plates can be used for this exercise as well, but a simple flat board of any type may also work. The flat object of choice is held in front of the abdomen with the elbows tucked snugly above the hips. Only a small movement of the wrists in toward the body is necessary to gain the benefits of this exercise.

These exercises may be sufficient in improving overall grip strength. Some advanced bodybuilders, however, make it their goal to do pinch grip pull-ups. This is a challenging move that not many people can do. To reach this level, more advanced grip exercises may be necessary.

Once an individual has mastered deadlifts and curls, he can move on to the pinch grip push-up. This type of push-up requires two sturdy blocks to hold onto during the exercise. One can purchase blocks specifically for this workout or make his own set of blocks using sanded lumber.

The blocks are first placed under the shoulders. Using the pinch grip, the athlete grasps the inside of the block with the thumb, with the fingers on the outside of each block. He is now ready to perform a push-up, lowering the body as far as possible and returning to a plank position.

These advanced pinch grip exercises could be dangerous for those with a weak grip. It may be a good idea to build up to these moves slowly. Over time, wrist and arm strength could progress in addition to grip skill.


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