Ever wonder how rock climbers seem to keep themselves from falling off a cliff? Or how baseball players can hold on to a bat as they hit a fastball to the stands? Well, it’s all because of their strong forearms or their grip strength.
But, having a strong forearm or a good grip strength has more practical uses aside from rock climbing or hitting a home run. When you have a strong forearm, you can easily carry groceries from the store to your car. It also allows you to do laundry as well as shovel snow in winter. Of course, it helps during things like CrossFit workouts or Fitness Boot Camps as well.
So, it’s always a good idea for you to improve your forearm strength or grip strength. Before we discuss how you can improve your grip strength let’s talk more about grip strength.
What is Grip Strength?
Often called hand strength, grip strength is the amount of force you exert when you pull or suspend objects using your hand. It is basically the amount of muscular strength of your forearm muscles.
Grip strength is important for rock climbers and weight lifters. It is also important for people whose professions require them to use their hands.
Studies have pointed at the connection between your grip strength in midlife and possible physical disability when you get older. Due to this, you may prevent disability and injury if you improve your grip strength.
Improving grip strength can be done through weight training and ordinary daily activities. But before we go to the ways for you to improve your grip strength, let’s discuss the different types of grips.
Types of Grips
Grip strength can be grouped into three types depending on the different ways a grip is made. These three types are as follows:
#1 Crush Grip
This is the most common type of grip and is normally used in a handshake. The object you grip is positioned in the middle of your palm and all your fingers. It is your ability to squeeze objects between your palm and fingers.
When you have a strong crush grip, your handshake will be firm and you may be able to break objects with pressure. This type of grip is also used to swing a bat and climb ropes.
#2: Support Grip
A support grip involves holding objects for a long time. You would need to have good muscular endurance to have a strong support grip.
This type of grip is normally used when you’re holding the handle of a bucket or a shopping bag. You also use this when you’re carrying laundry or performing pull-ups.
#3: Pinch Grip
A pinch grip involves holding objects with your fingers. In this grip, you typically lift objects without letting it touch your palm.
A pinch grip is normally used when you lift weight plates or a sheet of plywood from the top edge. If you’re into rock climbing, a good pinch grip can also be very useful.
Importance of Grip Strength
It is important to have a solid grip strength since this is necessary for some basic tasks like carrying grocery bags or doing laundry. You also need grip strength to shovel snow during winter.
If you’re an athlete, you should be aware of the importance of grip strength. It is essential for nearly all sports, including baseball, rock climbing, and golf, among others. Grip strength has a considerable effect on your performance in these sports.
Grip strength is also important for ordinary activities such as holding your phone or a pen. You also need it to open jars.
Despite this, grip strength is taken for granted. People only acknowledge their significance when they get older. At this point, some people may already have health issues that affect their grip strength.
With this in mind, it is essential for you to maintain good grip strength to avoid any issues in the future.
Improving Grip Strength
Now that you have an idea about what grip strength is all about, let’s discuss how you can improve it. Improving your grip strength does not normally use a lot of equipment.
In fact, some exercises only require basic items you can easily find at home. They may even be common tasks that people tend to forego doing with the advancements in technology.
Check out some of these ordinary tasks that allow you to improve your grip strength.
#1: Squeezing Stress Balls
Aside from relieving stress, you can also work on your crush grip strength when you squeeze stress balls. To up the ante, you may opt to squeeze tennis balls instead of ordinary stress balls.
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Do you want to have some fun while improving your grip strength? Then, the Oji-Emoji Party Stress Balls are what you’re looking for. These custom emoji-faced stress balls are made of high-quality foam material that allows you to drive away stress while exercising your hands.
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#2: Carrying Groceries to the Car
Something as simple as carrying groceries to your car allows you to work on your support grip. You may even park your car far from the entrance to give your grip a longer workout.
#3: Manipulate small objects using tweezers
This exercise allows you to work on your pinch grip. You can pick up different items using tweezers, including marbles, coins, and beads.
#4: Use a hand gripper
Another simple way to improve your grip strength is to use a hand gripper or a gripper. It is primarily used to improve your crush grip since it is designed to have your fingers as the main focus of the tool.
If you have no hand gripper at home, you may want to check out the following:
E-smartinlife Hand Grip
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The E-smartinlife Hand Grip is a reasonably-priced too you can use to improve finger and hand strength. You can also use it to relieve and rehabilitate pain for some conditions, like carpal tunnel syndrome and tendonitis. Each purchase gives you two grippers you can use anywhere.
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#5: Rubber band exercises
A rubber band is a useful tool to exercise your fingers. You can put on around your fingers and thumb. Then, try to spread your fingers and thumb in and out.
At first, you can use one rubber band, but once your strength improves you can use several rubber bands. You can also use a rubber band that is stronger than usual for this exercise.
If you’re in the gym, you can also perform the following exercises to improve your grip strength.
#1: Plate Pinch
The plate pinch tests your ability to hold on to objects for a long time. You need to hold at least two smooth metal plates with one or two hands for a specific time, let’s say 30 seconds.
You can start off with lighter plates, such as two ten-pound plates, and increase the weight as your strength increases. Another variation is pinch-gripping three or more plates. As the number of plates or the weight increase, the stronger your grip will become.
#2: Reverse Curls
Reverse curls require you to hold an EZ curl bar with your palms facing down. This is a common occupational therapy exercise to improve grip strength.
You need to lift the bar until your hands are at the same level as your shoulders. Keep the bar in this position for one to two seconds before slowly lowering it. You can perform three sets of 10 repetitions.
As you start to get tired of the workout, your grip will get good exercise. The key to performing this exercise is to ensure your wrists remain straight throughout.
#3: Plate Curls
While a plate curl is a basic grip training exercise, it is also among the most challenging. You will need to hold a plate with your palm and straight fingers supporting it. Your thumb should be positioned over the edge of the plate.
Perform a curl using the plate while preventing your fingers and wrist from buckling under the weight. You can start off with a lighter plate and gradually work on heavier plates as your strength improves.
#4: Farmer’s Walk
You can hold a pair of dumbbells and walk around the gym. If the space is limited, you can simply stand for 30 seconds. While performing the exercise, make sure you stand straight and you’re not using straps.
A variation of the exercise includes using a towel. You can loop the towel around the dumbbell’s handle and hold the towel while walking. You can increase the weight or increase the distance you’re walking as your strength increases.
#5: Dead Hang
You can hold on to a pull-up bar using an overhand grip. Elevate your shoulder slightly so you can activate your back muscles. Try to hang for at least 15 seconds and increase the time as your strength increases.
Tips in Improving Grip Strength
We compiled some tips you can think about when you’re working on improving your grip strength. Check out the tips below:
- If you’re planning to purchase a handgrip, you may want to get one with adjustable resistive springs to allow you to adjust it as your grip strength improves.
- Avoid using wrist straps or grips aids when exercising. Instead of improving your grip, these tools encourage weak grips. So, you can set aside these tools when you are working out in the gym.
- Squeeze the bar when you’re exercising in the gym. Lock your hands firmly on the bar and focus on squeezing it as hard as you can. This will result in better grip activation and a stronger grip.
- Simple activities at home, such as pushing the lawnmower or raking leaves, also allow you to improve your grip strength.
Improving your grip strength will have more benefits for you as you get older, so you should make sure to work on it as often as you can.
Have your Say about Grip Strength Training
Do you have any tips or tricks for how to improve grip strength? Leave a comment below and let us know. We’d love to hear from you.
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Last update on 2020-07-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API