Palm a Basketball With This Grip-Strengthening Workout

Palming a basketball requires a lot of grip strength. Use these five exercises to build a stronger grip.

Athletes who plays basketball want to do three things: dunk the ball, spin the ball on their finger and palm the basketball.

Palming a ball requires grip strength. A strong grip will not only help you grip a basketball, it will also help your overall game. Grip strength will give you more control when you dribble and better "touch" when you shoot.

The following six grip-strengthening exercises will help you palm a basketball and improve your game in no time.

1. Barbell Reverse Grip Curls

Curls are a great biceps isolation move that can also increase your grip strength. Using a barbell instead of an EZ Bar forces you to use a fatter grip and really recruit your forearm muscles to keep the bar level. Using a reverse, or overhand, grip, you fight gravity more, making it harder to lift the bar.

How To Perform:

  • Grasp a bar with an overhand grip, hands about shoulder-width apart.
  • Keeping your back straight, elbows close to your body, and shoulders retracted, curl the bar by bending at your elbows.
  • Do not flare your elbow, lean too far back or use your momentum to curl the bar.
  • Sets/Reps: 3x10-12

2. Fingertip Push-Ups

Palming a basketball is not just about forearm strength. It's also about finger strength. Performing Push-Ups on your fingertips leads to an increase in finger strength and therefore grip strength.

How to Perform:

  • Get into a standard push-up position with your hands shoulder-width apart, and your core, glutes and lower back contracted.
  • Instead of placing the palms of your hands on the floor, hold yourself up with your fingertips spread out on the floor.
  • Sets/Reps: 3x15-20

3. Towel Grip Pull-Ups

Pull-Ups are one of the best upper-body exercises for athletes. How many you can do depends largely on your grip strength. A great way to add a grip variation to a normal Pull-Up is to wrap two towels around the bar and grasp those instead of the bar. The unusual neutral grip requires more muscle recruitment in the forearms and hand musculature.

How To Perform:

  • Wrap two towels over a pull-up bar about shoulder-width apart, with the two ends of the towel hanging evenly.
  • Grasp both ends of the towels with a neutral grip.
  • Perform a standard Pull-Up, pulling with your upper back and not just your biceps.
  • Sets/Reps: 3x10-12

4. Cable Reverse Grip Tricep Push-Downs

This exercise mimics Barbell Reverse Grip Curls, but targets the triceps and forearms. Once again, the reverse grip provides less leverage, making your forearms and hand musculature work harder to push the weight down. This will ultimately lead to a stronger grip, making it easier to palm a basketball. The triceps muscles are important for basketball players, since they play a crucial role in shooting and passing strength.

How To Perform:

  • Attach a straight curl bar to a cable and adjust the height so it is at the top of the tower.
  • Grasp the bar with an underhand grip.
  • Keeping your elbows close to your body and your back straight, push the bar down until your elbows are straight.
  • Slowly raise the bar until your elbows are at 90 degrees, and repeat the motion.
  • Sets/Reps: 3x10-12

5. Towel Grip Inverted Rows

These confer the same benefits as Towel Grip Pull-Ups, but focus more on the rhomboid muscles than the biceps. Performing this exercise with towels also increases grip strength, which will help you palm the basketball and have more control when dribbling.

How To Perform:

  • Adjust a Smith machine bar to waist height, or rack a barbell at waist height on a free-weight squat rack.
  • Wrap two towels over the bar about shoulder-width apart, with the two ends of each towel hanging evenly.
  • Lie down on the floor underneath the bar and grasp both ends of the towels.
  • Keeping your back and legs straight, and your glutes contracted, pull your chest up to the bar.
  • Focus on retracting your shoulders and using your rhomboids more than your biceps.
  • Sets/Reps: 3x15-20

6. Pinch Plate Farmer's Walk

Holding a heavy weight plate in each hand while you walk can be a grueling workout for your hand musculature and forearms. To make them even harder, try grasping a weight plate with just your fingers. This will increase the muscular endurance of your grip.

How To Perform:

  • Grasp a weight plate in each hand with a pinch grip. Don't use the handles!
  • Keeping good posture, walk 50 yards with the plates by your sides without stopping.
  • Sets/Distance: 3x50 yards

Continue your grip training with these workouts:

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