In this day and age, we all know (or should know) how important maintaining a healthy body level is for living a quality life, maintaining our cardiovascular system, and improving the quality of life in old age. For many, that means hitting the gym for resistance training.
So in resistance training, one thing that is often overlooked by many people is grip strength.
You might ask, "Grip strength? What's it good for?" Spending your precious time at the gym training your grip might not mean much to you. But actually, having a strong grip can be very rewarding, both in training and in other areas of life.
What is Grip Strength?
Grip strength is often simply thought of as hand strength. While hand strength is an absolute must, there are many other things to consider when it comes to training your grip.
First, "grip" involves all the musculature from the elbow joint to the fingertips. Many forearm flexors actually originate above the elbow joint, and when a muscle crosses a joint, it affects it in some way.
Looking further down, the muscles involved in grip strength travel through the forearm, the wrist, and finally the hand, the fingers, and not just through the front of the forearm, but also through the back of the forearm. this point is very important. When we look at grip strength in this way, we see that there are many patterns of movement that are accomplished by the muscles of the lower arm.
When we train the lower arm, we have to remember to train all the movement patterns so that the right balance is maintained between the antagonist muscles, such as the flexors and extensors.
In fact, many cases of inflammation-related forearm pain, such as tendinitis and epicondylitis, can be caused by incorrect forearm muscle training or simply ignoring a particular muscle or movement pattern.
The benefits of having a strong grip
Men should pursue a strong grip for many reasons, such as socializing, training, and more. let's see.
Stronger grip = more weight
When you have a strong grip, you can lift more weight, especially in pulls like deadlifts, pulldowns, and rows.
Stronger Grip = Better Endurance
As your hands and lower arms get stronger, you can perform more repetitions than someone with a weaker grip. This means you can do more reps per set per movement and train more volume.
Stronger grip = better quality of life in old age
Research shows that grip strength has been shown to be a reliable indicator of quality of life in old age. For example, one study summarizes the following :
"In healthy men aged 45-68, grip strength is a good predictor of functional limitation and disability 25 years later. Good muscle strength in midlife may protect people from disability in old age."
Stronger grip = better injury recovery
Strengthened muscles and connective tissue are more resilient to injury, allowing you to recover a little faster even if you are injured.
Let's take a look at what movement patterns are included in grip strength training.
There are many forms of grip strength. Some primarily involve the hand, while others involve movements from the wrist and forearm. See the introduction below.
specific movements of the hand
Squeeze - Squeeze is the act of closing the fingers against resistance. Similar in nature, but often forgotten is also gripping (wrapping something with your fingers and squeezing it toward the palm of your hand). Pinch - Pinch refers to grasping something with the thumb and fingers opposite each other. This can be static (no action, like grabbing a plank) or dynamic. Brace - A brace grip is the use of your fingers to hold something, usually in the form of isometric contractions, such as deadlifts, rows, and kettlebell exercises. Stretching - Stretching of the hand refers to the opening of the fingers and thumb (the antagonistic action against the bending of the fingers and thumb). Wrist & Forearm Posture
Ulnar/Radius Deviation—The angle of the wrist toward the medial or lateral edge of the forearm. Bend/Extend - Bend is to flex the wrist, and extension is to stretch the wrist. Pronation/Supination---These are terms for wrist rotation. Pronation is internal rotation, with the palm facing down; supination is external rotation, with the palm facing up. Circle - This combines all of the above motion patterns, with the hand moving in a circle at the wrist.
Common grip training exercises
Grip strength device
There are many types of grips on the market. The goal is to squeeze so the grips touch together. Grips are probably the most popular form of grip training, and everyone should have one.
This is usually a combination of barbell plates of the same diameter and then held together by hand. Obviously, the more plates you can use, the stronger your grip will be.
This is using special tools. Since the dumbbells in most gyms are regular dumbbells, if you want to train your grip, you can buy one of these props. The thicker the handle of the dumbbell, the harder it is to hold it for a long time.
Ways to Improve Grip Strength
In addition to using the equipment mentioned above, there are many ways to develop grip strength. It's important to note, however, that while classic hand and forearm exercises often include wrist curls, these movements are far inferior to other movements.
Ditch the straps To start challenging your grip and have a strong lower arm during strength training and other physical activities, the first thing you need to do is drastically reduce the use of straps and other grip aids. Of course, when you reach a higher level of strength in movements like deadlifts and rows, you can still use a booster belt, which will help you complete the prescribed number of repetitions. However, at lighter weights, there's really no need to use a booster belt.
Pinch with both hands
Find a barbell or detonator, then fix one end and place a barbell plate on the other end of the barbell. Hold the barbell plate with both hands and hold it for a while.
The towel thickens the grips quickly and can be used on dynamic surfaces (make sure the towel doesn't slip). For example, you can loop a towel around a bar and do pull-ups with the towel in both hands, or attach it to a rope machine for high pulls and rows, or put it on a kettlebell as shown above for more dynamic movements.
Barbell plate curl
Place your thumbs on the edge of the plate and support with your palms and fingers. Next, try doing curls, trying to avoid bending your wrists and fingers under pressure. This is one of the most basic grip training methods, but also one of the hardest.
Rope training is great for cardio and fitness training, but many people don't realize that ropes are also great for grip and forearm stimulation.
This is a very good exercise for grip training. Usually use a hexagonal barbell or hold a dumbbell in both hands, find a longer corridor or road, and walk back and forth.
A Beginner's Guide to Grip Strength Training
While everyone can benefit from adding regular grip strength training to their workouts, not everyone is at the same strength level, and some may be more prone to injury. So pay attention to these details as you start training and progressing.
Start off with a lighter weight. Start by modifying your training routine so that it focuses more on grip strength, then gradually increase the volume. For example, you can use a towel as a handle on a rowing boat and do this for a few weeks to get your hands acclimated to the workout. Then you can start adding other actions. Increase the amount slowly. For those who are new to grip training, I generally recommend starting with 1-2 grip exercises per workout, once a week for two weeks. After two weeks, add to the frequency of twice a week. After a month, the goal is to consciously train your grip three times a week. This is usually enough for most people.
Grip training is essential if you want to be strong overall. With the methods mentioned in the article, you can take your grip strength to the next level.
Taina Rantanen, Jack M. Guralnik,Dan Foley.Midlife Hand Grip Strength as a Predictor of Old Age Disability.JAMA. 1999;281(6):558-560.