Building a mighty grip isn’t easy, but it is essential to good gymnastics and calisthenics training. If you’re going to be hanging around doing inversions and single-arm training, you need to get a grip.

Today, we’re going to teach you how to build grip strength with bodyweight exercises (and awful puns)!


There’s some value to hanging around. Dead-hangs are a great way to build grip strength specific to bodyweight training if you’re a beginner.

This isn’t appropriate for everyone – especially if you have experience with resistance training – but it’s a good place to start for beginners.

Simply focus on 5-10 sets of timed hangs. Set yourself a minimum time per set but try to hold on for longer where possible.

Over time, you’ll get much stronger in this position and can start using it for bodyweight training.


Slow eccentrics (the lowering period) are great for grip. They lengthen the time under tension and help you get stronger joints and muscles.

This extends to the grip, where they add serious time-under-tension to the forearms and elbows. You’re going to really want to squeeze the pull up bar on the way down! We’ve covered this type of movement in our guide from beginner to 10 chin-ups and with good reason.

They’re a key tool to building strength with calisthenics training.


Are you a superhuman who just doesn’t struggle with hangs or slow-lowering movements anymore? Time to load up.

Adding weight makes every hanging, pull up bar exercise more difficult. Even holding on is seriously challenging compared to “just” bodyweight!

Chin ups, pull ups, and core work with weight are all going to drastically improve your grip strength.


If you’ve not got weight lying around or you’re trying to get in a quick workout, fatigue can be your friend.

There are two key methods of getting strong: using more weight or performing reps under fatigue. We just discussed the first, so it’s time to work hard while tired.

Rep goal training is one way of achieving better grip strength using just bodyweight. You perform a goal number of reps in as few sets as possible.

For example, if you’ve got a rep goal of 50 pull ups, you might achieve it in 5 sets: 15, 12, 10, 8, 5. Next session, you try and get fewer sets and more reps per set. You’re going to be working with serious fatigue, which is one of the ways you can make the most of bodyweight training.

Cluster sets are similar, but they work a specific amount of reps with short rests between sets. You might perform 3 chin ups every 20 seconds for 5 minutes.

These both provide serious training stimuli with just a pull up bar. You’ll definitely feel just how effective they are the next day.


This is key to good gymnastics training, but it is useful for grip strength in calisthenics and bodyweight workouts.

Keeping the thumb-out grip adds a whole new level of challenge to the way you train and makes everything far more challenging on your grip. This ranges from ring rows to pull ups to hanging leg raises. Disadvantage your grip and, suddenly, everything is grip training!

Practice these 5 simple principles in your own training. You’ll find that your grip strength is more than happy to improve if only you challenge it with these types of training. Drop us a comment to let us know if you’ve got your own grip training secrets or just let us know which of these 5 methods helped you the most!


Don’t stress – most people haven’t.

Being able to do a single pull up is a huge achievement and sets you apart as a practitioner of discipline and consistent training. Especially if you started out with a little extra weight. We’re going to talk you through how to get your first pull up and what you can do from there to maximise your performance and keeping getting stronger and fitter.