Grip Exercises That Don’t Require a Weight Plate

A strong grip is essential for many things and can even protect you from injury. You’ll need a strong grip to perform everyday tasks such as shaking someone’s hand, opening jars, turning on faucets, opening doors, and also improving grip strength and muscle strength.

A strong grip will keep your wrists in proper form with the rest of your body and allow you to lift heavier weights than if they were weak. Stronger hands due to proper grip training also mean stronger arms which means better workouts and lifting heavy weights than usual.

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Improve Grip Strength Even Without Two Weight Plates

Grip strength exercises are beneficial because they improve hand strength, which can help with tasks such as opening jars or turning a key. They can also help tone the forearm muscles.

These exercises build up the forearm and grip strength without bulky weights or weight plates. Many of these exercises can be done using just the weight of your body, but others will require household items like towels or ropes.

The following exercises will challenge the muscles in your hands and forearms in new ways and allow you to develop more strength in your fingers with time.

  • Pull-ups
  • Lying on the floor, pick up objects and hold them for a time
  • Reverse curls with a towel or rope
  • Elevated fingertip push-ups
  • Parallel bar dips
  • Rock climbing
  • Bottoms-up kettlebell carries
  • Pulling a weighted sled
  • Side-to-side pull-aparts with a towel or rope
  • Towel bicep curls
  • Tearing off sheets of paper with your fingers
  • Finger jabs (like a karate chop)
  • Wrist roller (wrap a towel or rope around the pole, hold both ends and move your hands up and down the pole)


Muscles worked: Finger muscles, forearms, biceps, back.

Tips: You can do pull-ups on a pull-up bar or rings. If you struggle with the full movement, you can use bands to assist your pull-up by looping them through the top of the ring and attaching them to a door.

Lying on the Floor, Pick Up Objects and Hold Them for a Time

Muscles worked: Finger muscles, forearms, biceps.

Tips: Pick up items such as shoes or water bottles off the floor and hold them in your hand for a time. If you’re advanced, you can try to pick up something heavy, like a weighted ball.

Reverse Curls with a Towel or Rope

Muscles worked: Wrist flexors (front of the forearm), finger muscles, forearms, biceps.

Tips: Hold the ends of a towel or rope in your hands and curl both your wrists forward as if you’re doing a reverse curl with a dumbbell.

Elevated Fingertip Push-Ups

Muscles worked: Finger muscles, forearms, triceps.

Tips: Put your hands on an elevated surface (such as a table or counter; you could also use the seat of a chair), then do push-ups with just your fingertips.

Parallel Bar Dips

Muscles worked: Finger muscles, forearms, triceps, pectoral muscles (chest).

Tips: Using parallel bars or assisted dip machine, lower down in the same motion as a regular dip until your elbows are at 90 degrees angle. Then press back up to full arm extension.

Rock Climbing

Muscles worked: Finger muscles, forearms, biceps, core (abs and lower back), calves.

Tips: It doesn’t get any better than rock climbing for a workout for grip strength that will have you out of breath in no time. Start with shorter routes or problems that focus on the back of your hands.

Bottoms-Up Kettlebell Carries

Muscles worked: Finger muscles, forearms, biceps.

Tips: Grab a kettlebell by the handle with one hand, so most of the weight is resting on the bottom (the part farthest from the handle). Now carry it for either distance or time.

Pulling a Weighted Sled

Muscles worked: Finger muscles, forearms, biceps, hamstrings (back of thighs), glutes (butt).

Tips: Tie a rope around the waist of a weighted sled and walk forward while keeping your back flat and your head up. You can also try pulling a sled backward.

Side-to-Side Pull Aparts with a Towel or Rope

Muscles worked: Finger muscles, forearms, rear shoulders (deltoids).

Tips: Stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold onto a towel or rope in each hand in front of you at shoulder height. Slowly pull your hands apart to your side, then bring them back in front of you and repeat on the opposite side for one rep.

Towel Bicep Curls

Muscles worked: Forearms, biceps.

Tips: You can use a towel in place of a dumbbell in many exercises, but in this case, the towel is used instead of a hand towel. Place it behind your back in between your shoulder blades and use it to support the weight of your arms when you do curls.

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Tearing Off Sheets of Paper with Your Fingers

Muscles worked: Fingertips, forearms, biceps, core muscles (abs, lower back).

Tips: This is a test of how strong your hands are. Try tearing off sheets of paper with your fingers by pinching them between your thumb and first finger.

Static Holds with Grippers

Muscles worked: Fingertips, forearms, biceps.

Tips: Grippers are like spring-loaded hand exercisers. You can use them to work your fingers, hands, and forearms at home or on the go as grip training.

Can Crushers

Muscles worked: Fingertips, forearms, biceps.

Tips: These are just like they sound—they’re used for crushing open one- or two-liter soda bottles (or even six-packs if you want a real challenge). You can use them to work your finger and arm muscles.

Why is Grip Strength Important?

The fingers are capable of carrying large loads. When looking for maximum strength or even power, grip strength plays an important role in neuromuscular activities and muscle contraction. When someone grabs a piece with force, the nerves receive signals from the muscle nerve neurons on their hands and wrists, resulting in increased voluntary muscle contraction.

People with a weak grip like the older adults or struggling with holding on to snatches or pulls can benefit tremendously from grip exercises. Improved grip strength allows you to build stronger sets for lifts.


If you’re looking for a challenging workout that targets the muscles in your hands and forearms, then you should try one of these 13 exercises that don’t require weight plates. They’ll help you develop more strength and agility in your fingers over time and improve your hand grip. Not only are they great for improving grip force and grip strength, but many of these exercises also work other muscles in your body, such as the biceps, hamstrings, and glutes. So give them a try today.

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