So truth be told, I take strength and conditioning very seriously. I even moonlight as a S&C coach for high school football and basketball teams (who are all competitive on the state level, but are very small schools). I'm always looking to improve my own conditioning, flexibility, mobility etc. as it pertains to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
Grip training is essential in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Given enough time, you will develop an iron grip, but most of us are casual trainees and only train 2-3 times per week. This means that you likely have time to do some grip training outside of BJJ class.
I've been training my grip for a long time with deadlifts, heavy dumb bell rows, farmer's walks, etc. but in the past few years, I have started to train with one of my retired gis for chinups, rows, etc. I found that the grip required for holding onto cloth is similar, but different, than holding onto a bar. I've also used Captain of Crush Grippers, Fat Gripz, and other grip building tools in the past.
But not too long ago, I decided to pick up a pair of GiZilla grips and I'm very impressed. I also considered the Orangahang and the new Scramble grip trainer, but the Scramble trainer wasn't out yet and there are a few features that led me to choose the GiZilla grips, which I'll detail below.
There are really four essential gi grips in BJJ (and the GiZilla can mimic all of them): collar, sleeve, pistol, and flat gi grips.
With the GiZilla grips, I can do (for example) recline rows, barbell rows, cable rows, lat pulldowns, face pulls, deadlifts, chin ups, band snapdowns, and even leg raises. I wouldn't however, recommend them for explosive movements like high pulls or cleans. The grips won't break, but you might…
Sure, you can just use an old gi, but the best advantage is if you train at a commercial gym and not at a BJJ / MMA gym. You will get a lot less grief and less attention using GiZilla grips versus a full gi, and still get the same training effect.
One of the best features is actually the “guick release' tab. When you pull very hard the material will cinch up making it very hard to transfer from exercise to exercise, but not with GiZilla. With the excption of detaching them from bands, I have absolutely no problem moving from one movement to the next.
For me, a training tool like GiZilla is an asset and has really accelerated my grip training specifically for BJJ. I highly recommend it alongside a proper program including rows, chinups, and deadlifts.
If you have any questions about the GiZilla, or any other suggestions on how to use it that I missed here, post them below!
Update (as of 3/25/2017): This product is no longer available for purchase.