How many of you make a conscious effort to train and develop your grip strength as part of your weekly gym routine? Do you consider this an important area of focus, or a complete waste of time?
If you stop for a moment to contemplate the exercises you undertake on a daily and weekly basis, you will start to appreciate the importance of grip strength. Exercises such as pull ups, shrugs and dead lifts, to name but a few, all heavily rely upon this key area of strength.
You might argue that you simply haven’t got time to highlight and target your grip strength on top of everything else you have to squeeze into your gym sessions. You may even argue that grip strength has never been an issue and is not a cause for concern. To some extent, these points are valid – however, when your grip strength starts to become a limiting factor within your training, then surely it’s worth paying it some consideration and attention.
The Importance Of Grip Strength
If your grip strength is lacking, then at some point it will catch up with you. Ultimately, this will create a plateau in your training, whereby your target muscles are able to lift the enhanced resistance but your grip simply cannot cope. At the very least, this will result in frustration, whilst at worst it could result in an injury that could have easily been avoided.
So what options do you have, in order to try and avoid this worst case scenario? One is to turn to the quick fix: weight lifting straps. This gym accessory should be considered an instant short term solution and they offer numerous advantages to those recovering from injury – yet if relied upon, they can actually attenuate an overall decline in your grip strength. This can include significant muscular wastage of the forearm region.
If you’re an experienced gym goer, then you should appreciate by now that nothing in life, or more specifically the gym, comes easy. This rings true for grip strength as much as it does for any other target muscle you’re trying to develop and enhance. If you want good grip strength then you have to be prepared to work for it.
The purpose of this article is to provide several key tips to help develop your grip strength. Also included are numerous exercises which can be utilised with your normal training regime to develop grip strength.
Tips To Increase Your Grip Strength
Stop Promoting Weakness
This topic of conversation has already been covered, so there’s no point in dwelling on it, but it does require reiteration.
Don’t rely on quick fixes such as weight lifting straps. They may seem appealing, yet they should be considered only a short term solution and may even bring about counter productive effects. Put in the hard work from the start and your grip strength will reap the benefits.
Challenge Your Grip Strength Frequently
As with all target muscles you’re trying to develop and enhance, they need the necessary stresses regularly in order to improve.
Training your grip strength doesn’t have to be time consuming or even separate from your normal training regime. Every time you pick up a weight or complete an exercise, there will be a degree of grip strength used, so manipulate this activity to suit your needs.
In order to develop your grip strength efficiently and effectively, you have to provide it with the stimuli required to grow. One of the best ways to do this is through heavy resistance, which is likely to mimic your chosen exercises.
It’s all well and good performing 500 wrist curls with a light weight, but is this really going to benefit you and your grip strength when you attempt to dead lift 150kg? The simple answer is no.
Always Remember The Simple Things
This final tip might sound a little simplistic, but when looking to develop your grip strength, remember to actively squeeze and grip during any given exercise.
During the performance of an exercise, such as a dead lift, individuals are often so focused on their technique that they forget to do the simple things. By actively concentrating on squeezing the bar, your grip strength can increase significantly.
Exercises To Increase Your Grip Strength
Hanging Around: To perform this exercise, simply locate an overhead bar and hang from it for a period of time. The difficulty of this exercise can easily be enhanced by adding additional resistance to your bodyweight or by only utilising one arm to hang from.
Pinching And Squeezing: This particular exercise requires two weight plates. Grip a plate with each hand, utilising only your thumb and fingers to make contact with the plate. Once again, if you find this exercise too easy, simply find a heavier plate.
Pull Ups With A Difference: Pull ups as an exercise will naturally enhance grip strength, but by wrapping a towel around the bar prior to use you will significantly enhance the difficulty by enhancing the bar’s thickness and removing any grip.
Wrist Rolling: Out of the four exercises listed, this is probably the most recognisable. To perform, grasp a barbell with both palms facing downwards and simply roll the bar upwards until your movement becomes restricted. Then return and repeat as required.
You will notice from the tips and exercises that increasing your grip strength doesn’t have to be time consuming or completed in addition to your normal gym routine. For instance, next time you are scheduled to complete a back session, why not implement the ‘Pull Ups With A Difference’ exercise suggestion into part of your normal regime? This will serve to target your back and grip strength simultaneously.
Not only does all of the above, if implemented correctly, have to potential to enhance your grip strength and forearm muscle mass, but it also offers positive application to other key exercises such as pull ups, shrugs and dead lifts.
With all this in mind, try implementing the above tips and exercises into your training schedule immediately and start to reap the rewards…