5 Time-Saving Grip Strength Exercises

Adding a towel to weightlifting exercises will promote grip strength and provide more overall strength gains.

Resistance training to improve grip strength can be critical to athletic success. Squeezing a hand-held gripper and doing Forearm Curls are helpful, but they can be time consuming and too isolated in nature to deliver optimal results.

One way to keep your grip training more metabolic and targeted to whole-body athletic strength gains is to add towels to various athlete-specific pulling exercises that work on strength and coordination. These types of grip strength exercises can save time, establish balance between grip and limb force, prevent injury and even help you break through plateaus.

Add a thick towel to these athlete-specific strength exercises for four weeks and feel the difference in your grip strength and athleticism.

Towel Guidelines

Use a towel that's 2 to 3 inches thick. Be ready to lift less weight than you're used to. One study found 1RM performance decrements of 28.3 percent and 55.0 percent, respectively, when 2- and 3-inch bars were used for the Deadlift, and 8.9 percent and 37.3 percent decrements, respectively, when the thicker bars were used for the Bent-Over Row. Thick towels will likely produce similar decreases in the short term, presumably due greater reliance on maximal grip strength that has not yet fully developed. Start with a 2-inch towel and work up to 3 inches over several weeks.


Use a four-second eccentric/lowering phase to maximize strength and stimulation of muscles in the hand. Pull up quickly in one second with a one-second pause at the top.

One-Arm TRX Row with Towel

This exercise is made much harder with a towel. Brace your core and don't twist. If grabbing the towel is hard, wrap it around your hand once, as seen in the video. If this is still hard, walk a few feet away from the squat cage to change your body angle.

Two-Arm, Bent-Over, Close-Grip, Barbell Row With Towel

The towel is a great addition here, because it allows for a greater range of pulling motion the farther down the towel you grab.

Trap Bar Deadlift With 2 Towels

This adds a balancing component as the trap bar will rock and twist the more your form deteriorates. Grab the towels close to the base to reduce unwanted movement.

Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift With Dumbbell Row Using Towel

This exercise is ideal for those with great balance and less overall strength. There's a lot going on here, so make sure you have mastered the others before moving to this one.

One-Arm Barbell Row With Towel

Switching to one arm from two automatically presents a core challenge to resist twisting of the torso. Brace your abs and engage your obliques to stay in a good position.

Read about more grip strength exercises:

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