Staggered Sets for Grip Strength

Q: Hi James, 2 questions for you: 


  1. Several of your exercises, like the heavy squatting routine, requires up to 4 minutes of rest periods. James, I have ADD. I can’t wait around 4 minutes when I want to get in a solid effective heavy-based workout regimen. How do you recommend spending those minutes of rest instead of being stressed out just pacing around and my mind wandering and feeling like I’m wasting time? 
  2.  As for deadlifts, the weight I can lift is severely limited by my grip strength. Using wrist supporters allows me to deadlift up to 225 lbs instead of 95 lbs without them. However, one of my most important strength training goals is to improve my grip strength. Grip strength is VERY important to me. What would you recommend I do? Use other equipment like thick bar kettlebells for grip strength training and use the grip wraps for the deadlift? And are those grip wraps safe anyways?  

Thanks for your help as always. Love your blogs. 

My best,
Larry K.


My Answer: The long rest periods are there for a reason.  When you rest for up to 4 minutes between sets, it is to allow for full nervous system recovery.

Some workouts call for long rest periods, and these workouts are part of the decompression phases.  In decompression phases you're purposely pulling back on the amount of work per unit of time to build more muscle and strength.

Now if you have a hard time waiting around for a few minutes, then I suggest you do staggered sets.  Staggered sets are when you intersperse sets for smaller body parts into sets of larger muscle groups.

For example, you can intersperse sets of grip work in between sets of heavy squats:


  • Squat: 5-7 reps
  • Rest 2 minutes
  • One arm dead hangs
  • Rest 2 minutes
  • Squat: 5-7 reps
  • Rest 2 minutes
  • One arm dead hangs
  • Rest 2 minutes
  • and so on and so forth
If you want to build up your grip strength, then staggered sets of grip exercises are a great way to do it.  Here are some exercises to build grip strength:


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