You won’t be able to get the most of your workouts without having a strong grip. Your grip will usually give out before your muscles do. So if you want to achieve your fitness goals then it’s really important that you improve your grip.
Let’s take a look at what grip strength is, why it’s important, and how you can increase it.
Seems like an easy question to answer but grip strength is just one aspect of total hand strength and ability.
One variable of grip strength is the blunt force strength that you use in crushing or grabbing movements. For example when you are squeezing something like a barbell during a workout. Your grip strength will determine how long you’re able to hold that barbell in perfect form.
Grip strength is also reflected in pulling actions. Rock climbers are the perfect example of this. Not only must a rock climber secure a firm and tight grip upon a rock but also the climber must then pull their body up to the next rock or grab point.
The strength of your grip isn’t just determined by the palm of your hands. Your fingers, wrists, and forearms make up the foundation of what is tested during activities that require high levels of grip strength.
Grip strength can be applied to functional activities such as chopping wood or guiding yourself up a staircase. It can also be applied to resistance bearing activities such as weight lifting.
Does it really matter how strong your grip is? Can’t you get along just fine without having a Hulk-like grip? Sure, but the benefits of having grip strength are numerous and apply to improving your everyday life.
- Grip strength will improve your strength in two ways: Most obviously, the more you train, the better it will become. Secondly, and more importantly, improving your grip strength will transfer over to improving your overall strength. Focusing on grip strength during a workout will increase the strength of your fingers, wrists, and forearms. These muscles make up the foundation of moving a weight from Point A to Point B. Improving their strength will help, especially during heavy lifting.
Improved Total Fatigue Time
- Many lifters quit an exercise early due to failure of their grip rather than the actual fatigue of the targeted muscle. By working on your grip strength, you can dramatically extend your holding time during a lift. What’s more, the longer you’re able to hold the weight, the more you’ll be improving your total fatigue time for the targeted muscle group as well.
- Muscle growth occurs when you push your muscles to the limit and create micro-tears in the muscle tissue. If you’re not able to hold the weight, then you may miss out on lean mass. Improving your grip strength may translate over to building more lean muscle mass.
Higher Quality of Living
- The most important benefit of improving your grip strength is in the everyday application. Especially for those who are older or more sedentary, confidently being able to go about your day is going to make a big impact on quality of living. You are able to be more independent.
To get started, it’s best to being with stretching and caring for the muscle. Overuse and tightness in your hands will work against you.
Lowering Prayer Hands
- Place your hands together and slowly move your wrist down as your elbow elevates.
Finger Closing and Extending
- Make a fist and squeeze for five seconds then open your hand, extending your fingers for five seconds.
Kneeling Forearm Stretch
- Coming to all-fours, turn your hands in towards your body and slowly sit back. Be careful not to over-stretch.
Now we can get to work. Try out these exercises to take your grip to the next level:
- Select a grip strengthening tool that matches your fitness level, then slowly squeeze the handles until they come together, pause, and slowly release. We recommend Kootek’s grip tool.
- Take two weight plates, place them together and hold them with one hand. Pinch the plates together as hard as you can, not allowing them to separate.
- While holding a pair of heavy dumbbells, keep your back straight and your core tight as you walk forward.
Alternating Hand Towel Pull-Up
- Perform a standard pull-up but have one hand gripping a towel. Perform a set then switch the towel to the other hand for the next set.
- Support your left forearm on a bench or on your knee. Hold a dumbbell in your left hand and slowly let it descend. Squeeze tightly as you bring the dumbbell back up. Don’t let your forearm move up from the bench.
For best success, try this workout twice per week.
- 10 minutes of cardiovascular endurance training
- Moderate to high intensity
- Examples: Stepper or elliptical
- Lowering Prayer Hands: 2 sets of 30 seconds
- Finger Closing and Extending: 2 sets of 30 seconds
- Kneeling Forearm Stretch: 2 sets of 30 seconds
- Grip Crush: 3 sets of 20 repetitions
- Plate Pinch: 3 sets of 60 seconds
- Farmer’s Walk: 3 sets to failure (go as long as you can until the muscle completely fatigues)
- Alternating Hand Towel Pull-Up: 3 sets of 10 to 15 repetitions
- Wrist Curls: 3 sets of 20 repetitions
This is a routine that will get you results in only a matter of weeks. The benefits will be obvious. Also, the benefits will be shown in a number of areas of your life— not just in the gym.