If your grip strength is weak then this can have an adverse effect on your overall lifts.
It really doesn’t matter if your arms are strong, or that you have powerful legs as your grip strength will always let you down.[toc]
Benefits Of Having Good Grip Strength
There are a few reasons why you might think having good grip strength is important. Here are some reasons:
A Strong Grip = Stronger Handshake
Something that men, in particular, are judged by is their handshake, especially during job interviews or business meetings.
A strong handshake gives off the impression that you are confident, dependable and trustworthy.
There is nothing worse than the “dead fish” handshake that can lead people to believe that you are weak with little credibility.
Stronger Grip = Bigger Lifts
It makes sense that the stronger your grip the more weight you are able to lift.
You may have a strong back and arms, but if your grip is weak then your deadlift, in particular, will suffer.
By working on your grip strength, you will be able to lift heavier weight and perform more repetitions. This ultimately will result in more muscle and strength gains.
A Stronger Grip = Better Quality Of Later Life
Research has found that better grip strength equals a better quality of life when you are older .
So what can you do to improve your grip strength? Well, there are a variety of different grips and tactics you can use. Read on and discover some of these tips for yourself.
#1: The Crushing Grip
This particular grip involves trying to crush an object that offers resistance, such as resisted grippers for example. Beginners may want to use a plastic sports bottle.
By wrapping your fingers around this object and trying to crush and hold, your grip will greatly improve over time.
#2: The Pinch Grip
The pinch grip involves placing your thumb on one side of an object with the remaining 4 fingers on the opposing side.
An example of this grip would be if you were to try and grip 3x 10-pound plates with one hand.
For beginners, you may want to just use a few magazines before increasing the weight as your strength improves.
#3: Thick Bar Training
Another way to improve your grip strength would be to use a barbell with a larger grip.
There are products available on the market that you can use to increase the size of the grip, for instance ‘Fat Gripz’.
A cheaper option, for those who may be on a budget, would be to simply wrap a towel around the bar.
#4: Lose The Straps
There are a few who hit the gym using wrist straps, which will enable you to lift heavier without having great grip strength.
Obviously, if you are using tools like this then your own grip strength is not going to improve.
My suggestion? Lose the straps and build up your grip strength. It may mean you having to drop the weight down to start, but you will thank me in the end.
#5: Use The Rope
To build your grip strength you should not rely solely on the barbell and dumbbell. There are other tools at your disposal if you have a membership at a half-decent gym.
For example, you could try:
- Pull-up variations
- Cable curls
- Cable extensions etc
#6: Carry Some Heavy Bags
One of the most common tests of your grip strength is when you are carrying heavy grocery bags.
Therefore it makes sense that you use this everyday chore to increase your grip strength.
All you have to do is fill up a reusable grocery bag with as many heavy things as you can manage.
The reason why you should use this type of bag is that it is stronger and more durable than both plastic and paper bags.
I would recommend practising carrying this bag using one hand as this will build your grip strength, as well as helping to build core strength too. This is because you will be forced to stabilise your body to stop yourself from leaning over with the weight.
#7: Wrist Flexion
People often lose grip strength because of poor wrist flexibility. You can improve this flexibility through wrist flexion, which is a stretch that involves bending your palm down towards your wrist.
To perform this stretch you should start off on all fours with your hands directly under your shoulders. Your knees should be under your hip.
You should lean forward, your wrists will bend. Hold this pose for 10 seconds before returning to the starting position.
To make the stretch that little bit harder try and lift your fingers up while in the pose.
#8: Perform A Dead Hang
Performing a dead hang off a pull-up bar, or any other sturdy overhead structure using an overhand grip is a great way to build grip strength.
You should aim to hang from the bar for as long as possible. First, aim for 15 seconds, then 30,45, and finally 60 seconds.
Once 60 seconds has been achieved you could try to make this exercise harder by attempting to move your hands horizontally during the hang.
#9: Deadlift More Often
Poor grip while deadlifting is likely one of the reasons why you are reading this article. Therefore it makes sense that practising your deadlift is one of the best ways to improve grip strength.
While performing the deadlift try to avoid using a traditional mixed grip (one hand overhand, another underhand grip), instead, use both hands either overhand or underhand.
A mixed grip makes deadlifting that little bit easier and will change your goals from grip strength to pure strength training.
In Conclusion: Focus On Your Grip Strength
Like any weakness, the only way to strengthen it is by focussing a little attention to it.
Therefore it makes sense that if your grip strength is weak that you spend one workout session a week focussing purely on grip strength.
During this workout, you will use the above tips. It may take a little time, but before long your overall strength will start to increase again.