Review of ‘APE STRONG’ by Daniel Strauss AKA The Raspberry ape

Daniel Strauss AKA The Raspberry Ape recently dropped his DVD ‘Ape Strong’ Grip Training for Grapplers. Anyone that follows his social media will know he posts a whole host of interesting and innovative training techniques from bending horseshoes to lifting stones to swinging axes in the snow!

But how good is ‘Ape Strong’? Will it actually be useful to grapplers and does it deliver on improving your grip…

In the following review I am going to walk you through my thoughts on ‘Ape Strong’ – I am not affiliated with Daniel and this is a completely independent review and reflects my opinion

Ape Strong is literally packed full of content, I actually think customers are probably getting a little more than there moneys worth if I am honest.

The production is split in to very clear concise sections which is an excellent idea – we get to learn about different types of grip and functions of the hand and forearm such as Crush, Vertical Grip, Ulnar/Radial Deviation and so on. This is such an overlooked part of grip training with a lot of programs lumping all ‘grip’ together – more often than not in the category Dan refers to as crush.

The various sections introduce you to the type of grip being trained and are linked back specifically to how and why it assists grappling. Personally I think this will be excellent for those new to strength work and grip training, often the parallels between the gym and the mat can be confusing but they are excellently highlighted throughout by Dan.

It’s worth mentioning that Dan clearly has incredible knowledge of this topic and it would be easy to get caught up in the technical information. I can imagine for those not as interested in the specifics of grip, this topic could get a little dry or boring – but Dan uses a great story telling approach to deliver the information in a memorable and ‘digestible’ way, which I think will really keep key points fresh in a viewers mind.

One of my favourite parts of Ape Strong was the inclusion of multiple variations of an exercise from a very basic ‘make shift’ set up to very specialized training gear. It really allows accessibility to the product for grapplers of all levels (although I really geeked out over some of the kit Dan has – that Plate loaded gripper…). Dan presents the fundamentals and key mechanics of his various exercises that allow you to almost come up with your own application based on the kit you have available to you – which couldn’t be better timed with the current lockdown situation.

Another aspect of Ape Strong I really like was the inclusion of often over looked areas such as finger strength specifically, as well as the role of the bicep in grappling and grip generally. I remember arguing at a training seminar with a fitness coach who asserted that biceps have no sports specific validity… Dan expertly explains why directly training the fingers, hands, wrists, forearms and biceps are all essential factors in becoming Ape Strong.

The final piece of content I believe is a great bonus is the inclusion of recovery and self care. In my opinion these topics are some of the most overlooked in grappling and indeed most combat sports. The emphasis is often on working harder – where more is better. Dan presents the case for why recovery and self-care alongside this type of training is essential for longevity and progress.

There is a lot more I could say specifically about the content but I don’t want to spoil the DVD – suffice to say no stone (or rock) is left unturned – this really is a comprehensive production covering pretty much anything you ever wanted to know about grip.


Ape Strong is presented in a professional but informal manner, which I really like. You are essentially ‘training’ with Dan in his now infamous home gym. He talks directly to you and you do get the feel of a 1:1 session as he moves around the gym introducing you to techniques, ideas and a plethora of cool kit.

Dan is an incredibly charismatic character and his personality shines through – which can be hard to accomplish when delivering such a great deal of technical information.

Stay tuned for stories including why Joe Rogan owes him a ‘like’, how a very famous grappler couldn’t break his grip and more.

The camera work is great, clearly focusing on techniques and I especially like the close ups of specific gripping details, hand positions etc.  You won’t miss any of the detail and you get very clear demonstrations alongside the verbal explanations of techniques.



There has to be a shout out for the fantastic cover by Gartista – phenomenal illustration!

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The Good

– Comprehensive and very detailed approach to Grip Training for Grapplers

– Excellent knowledge of pre/progressions and alternatives for all levels

– Engaging, Interesting and funny presentation – great for keeping you engaged

The not so Good

I literally have no faults of the actual product and I believe you are honestly getting incredible value for money.

If I could add one thing, it would be a series of clickable timestamps so I could skip direct to some of the exercises that I would like to revisit. There is such a huge amount of information delivered it would be helpful to be able to quickly and easily revisit certain sections to freeze frame, re-listen and absorb techniques and advice.

Going above and Beyond

The one question you may be left with after watching is ‘Fuck how do I even put all of that together?”

Dan has you covered here and actually includes several sample programs – once again all pitched at multiple levels.

I think the inclusion of these is incredibly generous – maybe even too much so lol.

Dan includes not only just Grip exercises but how you may build this into a full workout including recommendation for sets, reps, intensity and so on.

The cost of one of these programs/workouts alone from Dan is probably worth more than the cost of the actual DVD – and you are getting 5!! A DVD plus 5 sample workouts for £39.99 – truly insane.

These programs make it easy to hit the ground running and start implementing Dan’s ideas and concepts immediately.

Final Thoughts

I wondered going into this DVD how the content would work for grapplers generally. Dan is clearly an advanced trainee – his social media training videos often include incredibly difficult and technical lifts not always suitable for beginners – would the DVD also be too advanced? Would it use lots of cool specislised equipment we don’t all have access to?

The answer is no – Dan amazingly caters for all levels from the novice to the pro, whether you’ve never trained before or you have years of experience I can guarantee there will be take home points to enhance your training. What ever your access to equipment Dan has you covered with everything from sticks and bricks to specialised grippers and equipment that would make Joe Rogan jealous…

What comes across most is Dan’s passion and knowledge of the subject that makes for an incredibly engaging and entertaining product.

I highly recommend getting a copy for yourself and start getting APE STRONG!

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