Improve Ball Security With Grip Training

STACK Expert Mike Rojas provides three of the best grip exercises to help you hold onto the football and avoid fumbling.

Ball Security Drills

Holding onto the ball is a key part of being a dominant football player. You might be the fastest and most talented athlete on the field, but you will quickly land on the bench if you have butterfingers.

Let me paint a scenario for you. Your offense in driving down the field in the fourth quarter against your rival. It's third and four on your opponent's 22-yard line. The quarterback hands you the ball to get the first down. Then the unthinkable happens. You hear the worst "F" word in the game—Fumble! Your team gives up the ball. The coaches are barking up a storm.

What could have prevented this scenario?

One of the best ways to be a better ball carrier is to strengthen your grip. We're not talking about a few Forearm Curls at the end of your workout. This is serious grip training, which strengthens all the muscles from your shoulders to your fingertips.

To always have a firm grasp on the ball, perform these three exercises every two or three days, making them a priority in your workouts, not an afterthought like most grip training exercises.

Rice Squeeze

This exercise is prescribed by physical therapists to help rehab hand injuries. It's the fastest way to increase finger and hand strength. Plus, when you spread your hands in the rice, you work hand extensor muscles that are rarely, if ever, strengthened with traditional exercises.

  • Bury hand in dry rice up to wrist
  • Spread fingers wide
  • Squeeze hand as tightly as possible
  • Continue opening and closing hand for specified reps
  • Perform set with opposite hand

Set/Rep: 3x25 each hand

Plate Pinch

Plate Pinches are simple and super effective. All you need are a few plates. They will leave your hands and forearms on fire, and even engage your shoulders and core.

  • Find a clear space to drop weights if necessary
  • Assume athletic stance between two plates on ground
  • Squat down, grasp plates and stand up
  • Hold plates with arms straight for as long as possible (at least one minute)

Sets/Duration: 2-3x1 minute minimum

Isometric Football Holds

The last exercise is an advanced method that we've come up with to help running backs and receivers by combining grip training with movements they experience in football. Wrapping a resistance band around the elbow and the arm forces you to strengthen the muscles that help you squeeze the ball against your body when a defender is trying to strip it from your hand. Perform this exercise only once a week.

  • Assume athletic stance with resistance band wrapped around forearm and attached to pole at right
  • Hold football in right hand as if carrying
  • Pump arm forward and backward as if running; keep arm close to body
  • Repeat for specified reps
  • Perform set with band wrapped around ball and wrapped around upper arm
  • Perform set with opposite arm

Sets/Reps: 1x10-20 each position

Cut down on fumbles with more grip strengthening exercises.

Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock