Still with the palms facing away, this version is a little easier than the wide-grip as the arms can contribute a bit more. I like to have fighters focus on drawing their elbows toward their ribs as they lift upward. This again promotes back recruitment over arm dominance.
With the palms facing toward you, the biceps can help you out a LOT more. This assistance makes this version easier than pull-ups. This is a great starting grip for those still building enough strength to break 5-reps with body weight.
This version is approximately the same level of difficulty as regular chin-ups, but the neutral wrist position makes it a little more sport-specific. I also use this version with fighters with a shoulder injury. It’s friendlier on the shoulder than either the palms-away or palms-toward you grip, and allows the exercise to be performed without aggravating the injury.
Hanging from the crook of a flexed wrist while making a fist… these are very challenging on your forearms – and great for clinchers! However, they predominantly target the forearms over the back, so are not ideal if back strength is your focus.
Effectively one wrist in a false-grip, and the other hand clasping over the top… These are the most sport-specific, and are great to transfer the strength you’ve built in previous training blocks using the other grip methods into awesome clinch strength in your fight!
These are the key grip variations I use in my Muay Thai strength and conditioning programming. My purpose is to develop vertical pulling strength for clinch performance in particular, and to transfer this strength via the wrist onto an opponent’s neck/shoulders with a wrist-wrapped, boxing gloved hand.
I therefore haven’t targeted towel grip versions etc. that wrestlers and MMA fighter may wish to include, as this level of grip strength isn’t needed in Muay Thai. We get enough grip-strength hanging from the bar and deadlifting for Muay Thai, and we don’t need to dedicate more time to this.
The idea is you do just enough to improve your athletic conditioning for Muay Thai, and otherwise save your energy for both Muay Thai practice and recovery from the total training-load in your plan.
Build these exercises into you training program and feel the difference in the clinch… your training partners and opponent’s certainly will!