Great Exercise Variations for Grapplers

Short post today, but im going to answer a question I am often asked, which is “what exercises are best for Grapplers?”, this is a loaded question because while most people should really focus on Squats, Deadlifts, Pressing and Olympic lifts, the more advanced trainee may need to focus on specifics to bring up weak points or training that has some semblance of sports specificity. The other thing is variations can bring some new and interesting challenges to an athlete. I use a number of variations on a number of exercises I like for Grappler’s depending on the athletes and what we need to work on. So here are five to get grappling with. These are to be honest 5 of my favourites.

Reeves Deadlift

If you feel your grip is lagging you can always give these a run. The Mountain Dog himself is using the handles  on the plates to lift, but traditionally this lift is done with the finger tips on the outer most plates.

Steve Reeves could apparently deadlift 400lbs this way!

Reeves Row

Variation on the Reeves style lift that also challenges grip strength, with a narrower bar grip the plates in the same fashion as the deadlift.

One Arm Suitcase Deadlift

Terrific core strength and grip exercise, I usually use this as an accessory exercise towards the end of a training session. This along with farmers walks, waiter carries and anti-rotation exercises will build a strong midsection.

Floor Press

More recently I have abandoned the bench press to some extent, but I keep coming back to floor pressing. The movement eliminates muscle elasticity at the starting position, allowing you to focus on explosive acceleration. If you lack a rack with low pins you can use boxes or other plates to help set the bar.


Wide Stance Anti Rotation Chop

Resisting rotation is crucial for building strong core musculature, we resist rotation a lot while grappling especially while clinching. Initially this movement is fairly tricky for the uninitiated.

These are just Five, there are however plenty more, but the key is we are never really straying from rowing, deadlifting, pressing, squatting. Most of these terrific video’s come from the t-nation youtube channel which I suggest you check out!

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