1A. Hand Gripper (Crush)
Reps: 5 each hand
Place a gripper in your hand (we like Captains of Crush from ironmind.com, $22.95) and flex your fingers inward toward your palm, like you’re making a fist. Squeeze the two handles together until they touch.
1B. Rack Suitcase Isometric (Support)
Reps: Hold for time
Place a loaded barbell in the rack, with safety catches set at knee height. Stand so the bar is on your left side, perpendicular, with your feet hip-width apart. Bend your hips back and grab the barbell in its center with your left hand. Brace your core and, without rounding your back, push through your heels to stand up. Squeeze the bar hard to keep it from teetering. Keep your spine straight and avoid bending toward the barbell. Hold as long as you can. Repeat on the opposite side. “Your fingers must take the brunt of the load,” says Johnson. Side benefit: You’ll strengthen your trunk, too.
1C. Plate Pinch Hulas (Pinch)
Reps: 5 each direction
This lift targets your thumbs. Pick up a few 10-pound plates, smooth sides out, with your thumb on one side and your fingers on the other. Pass the plates around your body from left to right. Repeat in the opposite direction. Another option is to do pinch-grip chinups using Rogue Pinch Blocks (roguefitness.com, $62.50) or a wooden rafter.
1D. Hand Extension (Extension)
Reps: 10 each hand
Lack of strength in the extensor muscles of your arm, combined with overdevelopment of the flexors, results in elbow pain. Use the Hand X Band (handxband.com, $24.99) to fix muscle imbalances by training the muscles that open your hand. Slip your fingertips into the loops. Open your hand as far as you can. Repeat on the other side.
1E. Globe Pullups (Monkey)
Try the monkey grip when the object is just too big to get your hands around, like a strongman’s stone. “Just keep your thumbs on the same side of the implement as your fingers,” says Johnson. For a fun grip builder, try the Rogue 12-inch Pullup Globe (roguefitness.com, $94.50). Grab the globe with your arms perpendicular to the floor. Keeping your arms completely straight and crossing your ankles behind you, hang at arm's length. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and pull your chest to the bar. Pause and return to the start.