Grip Training on a Limited Budget - Softball Implement

Get an incredible grip without spending a fortune.

Softball with Tape
Softball with Tape.
There is some outstanding equipment out there to help you build your hand strength to inhuman levels. However, sometimes price tags can intimidate athletes who are just discovering the importance of specialized Grip training.
To benefit those who are just starting out, I am going to periodically post on STTB examples of some of the home-made devices we've come up with over the years at Diesel Crew.

The first device I'd like to introduce is excellent for training open-hand strength. All you need is a ball (preferably a baseball or softball - I use a softball because it is bigger; and the larger the ball, the tougher the lifts will be), duct tape or electrical tape, a threaded eye bolt, and a carabiner or an S-hook.

First, take the ball and wrap the tape around it (as in the picture above). Be careful when you apply the tape. If you take your time, you can make the tape very smooth and it will feel almost like lifting a steel object. If you haphazardly wrap the tape around the ball, there will be a texture on the ball that will make lifts easier.

S-Hook and Bolt
S-Hook and Bolt.

Bolt inside Ball
Bolt inside Ball.
Next, screw the eye bolt into the ball. A baseball or softball is perfect because they are not made out of a hard or dense material. You may need to start the hole with a screwdriver, especially if the bolt is flat at the end. Mine is pointed and it worked itself into the ball pretty easily. Once you have the eye-bolt screwed in, you can attach the S-hook or carabiner. Then, the set-up can easily be attached to a loading pin or other source of resistance.

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NB : For a complete list of everything we use and recommend, swing by the reviews area. And of course the Straight to the Bar Store. It's all in there.

To learn how to put it to work, swing by the Guides area.

Lifting the Implement
Lifting the Implement.
Here, I am performing a simple deadlift using the implement I described, connected to a loading pin. This implement is extremely versatile and you can attach it to a cable set-up to replace the conventional handle used to perform pull downs, rows, and other lifts with cable stack machines.
Gripping the Ball
Gripping the Ball.
Here is a close-up of the Grip I suggest when training with this implement. Keep your hand on the top of the implement, centering your palm on the top of the ball. If your fingers slide down near the bolt, it makes the lift, pull, or row much easier and defeats the purpose of the lift.
You can get a lot of mileage out of this home-made implement. It was originally put together in 2003 and has never worn out. This is something you can stick into your bag and carry with you to the gym for Grip training.

No chalk allowed at your gym? No problem, because chalk on slick tape like this doesn't help you at all anyway.

Any questions on Grip training? Feel free to check out the site:, and our blogs: &

Napalm Jedd Johnson

Jedd 'Napalm' Johnson

Jedd 'Napalm' Johnson is a name synonymous with grip strength, and he has been training, sharing and competing with these skills for many, many years.

To acquire some serious grip strength yourself, head over to The Grip Authority and check out his superb ebooks and DVDs.

One of our favourites - Fixing Elbow Pain - takes a very thorough look at banishing elbow injuries completely. If you've ever experienced something like Tennis Elbow or Golfer's Elbow, you'll understand just how incredible that is. Fantastic.

Jedd blogs over at The Diesel Crew, and can also be found on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Swing by.

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