Build Wrestling Strength With the Gable Lock Isometric Hold

STACK Expert Quentin Dunn demonstrates a hold named after wrestling great Dan Gable to give you a better grip on the mat.

Remember that feeling after the first match of the season, when your forearms and hands burned so badly you could hardly grip a doorknob? Chances are either you forgot to factor isometric grip strength into your training equation, or your program did not include specific localized endurance routines.

A well-designed strength and conditioning program for wrestlers accounts for the copious amount of gripping and clinching that takes place during a match. There are several types of grips, but the Gable lock grip, named after Dan Gable, is one of the most commonly used on the wrestling mat.

At Cincinnati Functional Fitness, we use the Horizontal Isometric Gable Lock Hold to develop superior grip strength. An isometric contraction simply means there is no movement at the joint for the duration of the contraction. Think about when a wrestler goes in on a single-leg takedown. How long does he get stuck in that position? Often he could be there for 5 to 30 seconds.

This is why we train isometrically, so when other wrestlers' grip, forearms and back muscles fatigue and shut down, our wrestlers will be fresh and ready to dominate the third period.

Gable Lock Isometric Hold

  • Put your arm in a sling attached to a fixed pole near a wall.
  • Lock your hands in the Gable lock position.
  • Climb your feet up the wall and pull the sling into your chest.
  • Keep your shoulders square.
  • Maintain your body in a straight line from head to toe.
  • Hold for 30 seconds each arm.
  • For more of a challenge, take one foot off the wall.
Watch the video in the player above for a demonstration, and check out our summer wrestling training guide.

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