Plate Pinch for Forearm and Grip Strength

The plate pinch is a fantastic way to target your forearms and strengthen your thumb and grip.

The plate pinch is like what it sounds like. It is easy to learn and perform; simply hold a single-weight plate with your fingers and thumb.

You can also do the same with two weight plates. Hold them together with your fingers and thumb, like you’re pinching something.

Hold this isometric contraction, I try to keep the time it takes to hold the pinch under 20–30 seconds.

The pinching movement isometrically trains the brachioradialis and forearm flexor and extension muscles and gives your forearm definition and crushing grip strength.

Plate Pinch Muscles Worked

The plate pinch exercise is a highly effective grip-strengthening exercise that primarily targets the muscles in your forearms and hands.

  • Forearm Muscles: Forearm Flexors, Forearm Extensior, Extensor Digitorum and Brachioradialis
  • Thumb muscles (opponens pollicis and adductor pollicis)
  • Little Finger Muscles
  • Wrist Muscles: Thenar muscles, Hypothenar muscles, Lumbricals and Interossei

How To Do Plate Pinch

  1. If you’re new to this, start with a lighter plate (5-10 pounds) and heavier plates are suitable for more advanced lifters.
  2. You can always increase the weight as you get stronger.
  3. Rest the plate on the floor or a bench.
  4. Wrap your fingers around the edge of the plate, like you’re forming a C shape with your hand. Your thumb should be on one side of the plate, and your fingers should be on the other side.
  5. Lift the plate off the surface and squeeze your fingers and thumb together as hard as possible.
  6. You should keep your wrist straight and arm straight by your side, avoiding using your shoulder muscles.
  7. Hold the pinch for 10–20 seconds, or as long as you can with good form.
  8. Rest for a moment, then repeat with the other hand. Try to do 3-4 sets per hand.

Tips and Form

  • Don’t try to be a hero on day one. Begin with lighter plates and gradually increase the weight as you get stronger.
  • Don’t rely on your palm to support the weight. The challenge here is to isolate your finger and thumb strength.
  • Keep your shoulders retracted and don’t lean back excessively.
  • If your hands become wet, use chalk to enhance your grasp.
  • Keep your wrists straight and squeeze the plates as hard as you can.
  • To get the most out of your weights, choose ones that you can hold for between 10 and 30 seconds.
  • Progressing overloading this exercise is easy – simply add more weight by using heavier plates and/or by using more plates.
  • Adding more plates will make the exercise harder by extending the distance between your fingers and thumb.
  • You can try many variations of plate pinch, such as single-arm, both-arm (plates in each arm), Plate Pinch Carry (walking with plate), Hub Pinch, and Plate Flip (flip it back and forth).

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