Build UFC Grip Strength Like Dan Hardy

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A powerful grip will allow anyone to lift heavier weights, and for UFC welterweight contender Dan Hardy it’s an essential part of grappling. His strength coach Ollie Richardson explains how Hardy improves his grip strength.
“The farmer’s walk is the only real bit of strength endurance I do in my sessions with Dan. It trains his grip and upper body, which are key in jiu jitsu. The walking shouldn’t be too tiring – it’s really just to cause oscillation through the handles. Take 90 seconds between sets, and build up the weight you use.”
Another good ‘finisher’ for your sessions is the rope climb. “This is a great way to increase pulling strength as well as grip,’ says Richardson. ‘Dan will do three climbs, because it takes three or four pulls to get to the top, so he’s in the right rep range for max strength. If he can do more than that, we’ll stick a weighted vest on him.”

Farmer's walk

Sets 4 Distance 40 metres

Walk as fast as you can. If you haven’t got room to walk in a straight line for 40m, do laps. If you don’t have the kit, wrap towels around the handles of dumbbells. To start off, try 25kg in each hand

Rope climb

Sets 3 Reps 3 (5m rope)

Try to climb the rope without using your legs, and do three or four big pulls rather than lots of little ones. If you haven’t got a rope, throw a towel over a pull-up bar and grip the ends. Aim for eight to ten pull-ups per set.

Nick Hutchings worked for Men’s Fitness UK, which predated, and then shared a website with, Coach. Nick worked as digital editor from 2008 to 2011, head of content until 2014, and finally editor-in-chief until 2015.