When designing workout routines, most people invest the majority of their time and effort in studying new ways in which they can reap maximum gains from their chest, leg, back, and shoulder routines. What most people overlook, however, is how they can build their strength.
This is like shooting yourself in the leg because a string grip is the basis of the bulk of your lifts. Making your grip stronger will boost your overall strength and performance translating into increased gains. The major elements that comprise grip strength are mobility, strength, and endurance. Here is why you need to be training your grip strength.
1. Your grip determines your strength
Can you count the number of times that your grip gave out before the muscle you are training did? This is especially true for exercises such as the deadlift, bent-over barbell rows, shrugs, and bicep curls. Chances are your grip slipped and prevented you from executing another rep.
The phrase you’re only as strong as your grip is true because most of the muscles in your body were designed to assist you to pull yourself up and hang plus aiding you in lifting things off the ground. How would you execute these movements efficiently without a good grip? Your ‘push’ muscles are also affected by your grip. The idea is that the body always attempts to
Your ‘push’ muscles are also affected by your grip. The idea is that the body always attempts to have all your muscles in balance. This implies that the stronger your ‘pull’ muscles get, the stronger the pushing muscles will be. Your core strength is also dependent on the grip strength. Hanging leg raises are arguably the most effective core exercise out there.
This is because they place an unbelievable torque on the core and thus are very difficult to execute. To simply hang off the bar and focus on getting your technique together will require you to have a good grip. You can see how a good grip could translate to a chiseled six pack.
2. Firm handshake
There’s no doubt that a firm handshake always leaves a strong impression. This will come in handy in your professional life. Strong handshakes are interpreted as a sign of trustworthiness.
3. Preventing injuries
You use your grip for the majority of your lifts. Athletes, on the other hand, depend on their arms to do the majority of their work. Just think about any sport that doesn’t use hands as the core of their art. It would be hard to find one. If you are looking to join any sport, a good rule of thumb would be to work on that grip. Not only will it enhance your performance, but will also protect you from getting injury prone.
4. Big forearms
Let’s be honest. Who hasn’t dreamt of having Arnold Schwarzenegger like arms? Grip strength training will have a tremendous impact on your arm development. That is the biceps, triceps, and forearms.
5. Breaking personal records
When you hit that dreaded plateau phase in your weight training, working your grip could help you break out of this plateau. Many professional power lifters have attributed their phenomenal lifts to grip strength.
Now that we have seen how a good grip could positively impact your performance and life, let us look at the ways in which we can build it.
How to increase grip strength
1. Thick bar training
The thickness of the bar is a crucial factor when it comes to building grip strength, believe it or not. A thick bar is far more superior to a normal or narrow bar. This is because the wider surface area of the thick bar taxes your hands more in a bid to maintain stability while performing your exercises.
Your arms adjust to the thick bar by becoming stronger which is the principle of any muscle building routine. You don’t have to go looking for fancy equipment so as to achieve these results. If your gym has a thick bar, that’s well and good; if not, you could wrap a towel around the bar to make it thicker. Try this with all bar exercises; which is almost all of them.
2. Fingertip push-ups
Regular push-ups will place a lot of stress on your forearms. Fingertip push-ups will take this pressure to a whole new level. Remember, your fingers are the ones that do the actual gripping when performing your lifts. It only makes sense to make them stronger. Additionally, fingertip push-ups are quite tough to execute, mastering them will add you to your local gym’s hall of fame.
3. Bar hangs
This exercise is as basic as it sounds. Just look for a raised bar platform such as a pull-up bar and hang. Your entire body weight will be supported by just your grip.
It sounds easy but try hanging for over a minute and you will not only feel your grip slipping, but your entire upper body will be on fire. When you get better at it, alternate the two-arm bar hang with a one arm bar hang; nothing will build your grip faster than this movement.
4. Get a gripper
Grippers are a great, cost-friendly, and effective way of building grip strength . A set of grippers is cheap and highly mobile because you can fit them in your pocket. Carry them to the office with you and squeeze out a few sets every now and then. Not only will your grip strength increase because of the constant squeezing, it is also a great way of staying alert. When you outgrow your grippers, purchase others with a greater resistance.
5. Plate Pinch
This will involve stacking a couple of weight plates together and pick them off the floor using a pinch grip. You can play around with various combinations. The tougher they get, the more effective the exercise will be. Make sure that you maintain the pinch hold for not less than ten seconds at a time.
Grip strength is important not only for your activities in the gym, but for real world applications. You never know when you might have to hold on to or hang on to something very tightly; your life may depend on it.