Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Recovery Techniques for Grip Training - Frank Sasso (2021)


This is an excerpt from "Grip Strength: No-Nonsense Methods to Forge Elite Grip and Hand Strength for Weightlifting, Martial Arts and Rock Climbing" 

In Chapter Four I stressed the importance of a proper warmup before delving into your grip strength exercises, on your rest days (and when you feel particularly fatigued) there are a few recovery techniques I recommend incorporating. 

I see recovery techniques as tools in a toolbox. You carry around your toolbox with you and take out the appropriate tool as needed -- I view recovery techniques for grip strength (or for any muscle group for that matter) the same way. 

You don't need to drop what you're doing at 6 p.m. every Tuesday and pull out one of your tools -- simply use them as you see fit. Feeling sore? Struggling to progress? 

Reach into your recovery technique toolkit and use the appropriate tool. 

The Ice Bucket

Essentially an ice bath for your hands! Grab a bucket (5-gallon capacity will do the trick, you should be able to pick one up for a few dollars) and fill it with cold water and ice.

Submerge your hands and forearms in the bucket for 10 minutes. I generally spend the 10 minutes opening and closing my hand, spreading my fingers and generally moving and stretching my fingers and wrists while submerged in the ice-cold water.

One word of advice -- do not do this BEFORE your workout -- only perform the ice bucket recovery technique after your grip training workouts and/or on rest days. 

Contrast Bucketing

The grip-oriented alternative to a contrast shower! For this recovery technique you will require two buckets (once again, around 5 gallons in capacity will do the trick).

Fill one bucket with hot water, although ensure it's not so hot that you'll burn yourself by submerging your hand and forearm into it. 

Fill the other bucket with cold water and ice.

Spend between 10 and 20 minutes alternating between the two buckets.

As a general rule I always recommend spending twice as ling in the hot bucket. 

Here's the contrast bucketing regime I performed earlier this week: 

 - I minute ice cold bucket
 - 2 minutes hot bucket
 - 1 minute ice cold bucket
 - 2 minutes hot bucket
 - 1 minute ice cold bucket
 - 2 minutes hot bucket
 - 1 minute ice bucket

As mentioned with the ice bucket recovery, I do not recommend performing contrast bucketing before your grip strength workout -- save it for after your workout on rest days. 


Spending a few dollars on a deep tissue massage from time to time works wonders for bodybuilders, powerlifters and the like -- the same can be said for those who place a large emphasis on their grip training. 

Every few weeks I spend $20 -- to get a professional shoulder, forearm and hand massage. Hell, if you are not a fan of receiving a massage or spending money to get one you could give yourself a firm forearm and hand massage. 

Pick up some tiger balm and use your thumb to really dig into the palm of the hand you're massaging. Spend 10 or so minutes per hand and forearm. 

Infrared Sauna

The infrared sauna is a fantastic recovery method not just for your grip strength, but for your overall health and well-being. I particularly find that whenever my tendons and ligaments seem to be a little sore or overworked, I jump in an infrared sauna for 20-30 minutes and come up feeling superb.

Your gym may have an infrared sauna available for use or you may wish to purchase one. I picked up a small one-person infrared sauna that I assembled under my patio for a few hundred dollars -- that's a small price to put on an overall improvement in physical and mental health.

Deload Week

I'll be the first to admit it, a deload week isn't a great deal of fun, however it is without a doubt a necessary tool in our recovery toolbox.

A deload week is the reduction in weight/workload for one week of your training regime. When performing a deload week I recommend reducing the weight being crushed/pinched/lifted by 50%.

Normally you perform your farmer's carry with 100 pounds? This week it'll be with 50 pounds.

For time based exercises such as the dead hand I recommend reducing the time per rep or set by 50% too. Instead of aiming to hang for 2 minutes per dad hang you'll halve that to 1 minute per dead hang for your deload week of training. 

A deload week isn't challenging or mentally stimulating and you may feel like you're merely going through the motions BUT you need to take a step back and view this as the long game that it actually is. Elite grip strength takes years to achieve -- an occasional deload week here and there helps our central nervous system to recover and ensures we don't burn out physically. 

There's no single be all-end all recovery technique when it comes to strength training. Keep the recovery techniques above in your toolbox and use them as you see fit.    

Enjoy Your Lifting!   

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blog Archive