A strong pinch grip will help you hold onto things you can’t wrap your hand around. You’ll use different muscles depending on how wide the object is, and on whether your fingers are flat or curved during the pinch. You also use your hands a bit differently if you are doing the pinch with one hand versus two.
Climbers know how useful it is to be able to pinch a bit of rock and support your weight off the strength of your hand. (My jaw dropped once when I heard that a friend of a friend, a climber, had done pull-ups with his hands pinching the bottom of a stop sign. I can’t confirm this story, but climbers with a good pinch grip can do some crazy-impressive things.)
For more on what climbers should know about different types of pinch grips, this blog post is a good guide. You and me? Let’s stick with some simple plate pinches.
How to do a plate pinch
For this exercise, you just need a weight plate that’s relatively flat on both sides. I do these with the rubber-coated bumper plates at my gym. A classic way to train pinches with iron plates is to turn two of them to face each other, so your fingers and thumb are each contacting a smooth surface. This is hard! Don’t forget that you can use chalk. The recommended routine from r/GripTraining recommends gloves to protect your skin.
If you don’t have plates that fit that description, you can use any similar object. I’ve held a textbook and asked my daughter to try to pull it out of my hand. Or pinch the edge of a door and lean back.
Find a weight you can hold for 15 seconds or so, then practice holding it longer and longer. When you can hold it for a while, move up to a heavier weight. Last fall I started out holding a 15 kilogram bumper plate (33 pounds) for ten seconds or so, and now I can hold a 25 kg plate (55 pounds) for a full minute. Give pinches a try and let us know how they go!