The pinch grip is usually the second most trained of the gripping movements (the first being the crushing grip). But did you know there are several varieties of pinching and different applications for each?
The most common is the normal pinch with the four fingers opposite on the object from the thumb. There are a variety of ways you can train the pinch and many objects to use. The easiest is to simply pinch a plate or two and hold them. With this, most people can start training this exercise, without requiring specialized equipment.
You can also use block weights, which are the heads of dumbbells cut off. An impressive feat is what’s known as lifting ‘The Blob’. A weight cut off from a 100 lb. York dumbbell. The hard part about blockweights is that they get wider as the get bigger. Above is a 35 lb. blockweight.
Another involves the four fingers on the opposite side of the thumb-pad and base of the hand. In this, the thumb is held out of the way. This is the position to use for tearing phonebooks . Then there are a few others also used for tearing decks of cards. You have the support position for an overhand tear. It’s like the normal pinch except your fingers will wrap around the deck for support. You can also pinch between the thumb and the outside of the index finger.
It is a good idea to train the different pinching positions and also to vary the widths.
Being able to pinch and hold two 45 lb. plates with the smooth sides facing out with one hand is a world class grip feat. The pinch grip is used in many grip contests. In the video below you can watch Kody Burns set a World Record of 274.85lbs in this lift. Those are some strong thumbs!
Another way to showcase this hand strength is through rafter pullups as Adam T. Glass demonstrates below. You can find out more about these on the Pullups and Chinnups Feats of Strength Page.