When we think about strengthening the different muscles in our body, our thoughts often jump to the obvious muscle groups found in our torso, shoulders, buttocks, arms and legs. One place we often don’t consider (which we also use on a daily basis) are the muscles in our fingers, hands, wrists and forearms.
Grip strength is important for many everyday activities such as lifting, grasping and potentially supporting our own weight. The need for grip strength is made more apparent with specific sports such as rock climbing, mountain bike riding, golfing or even pole dancing! Yet there is another reason why working on improving our grip strength is important, and it is to help us improve on our weight training.
If you haven’t conditioned your ‘grip muscles’ with mobility, strength and endurance, then participating in sports, weights, or even repetitive everyday chores that require gripping strength, can potentially result in either minor discomfort or more severe conditions such as tennis elbow and carpal tunnel syndrome.
However these grip muscles are quite a specific group and even though it might seem like some of the basic weight lifting exercises, such as bicep curls and tricep extensions, might be strengthening these areas, the can also be part of the problem. This is because when your biceps flexors are too strong for your forearm flexors it can result in an uneven distribution of tension in the soft tissue. This can then eventually lead to pain and discomfort in your elbow.
It isn’t just for protection that you should consider placing some focus on training your grip strength. Many people often discover that when they have reached a plateau in their weight training, working on training their grip strength can actually open them up and help them take their training to the next level!
A great way to improve your grip strength is by using
- Inverted row
- Two arm hang
- Pull up & chin up (assisted is fine)
- Hammer curls
- Wrist curls
- Kettlebell bottom up presses (single arms)
- Hex dumbbell grips
Another great way is to use an adjustable hand strength exerciser. These come in many different types and are a great way of strengthening your fingers, hands and wrists.
So if you haven’t really thought about it before, then maybe you should consider focusing on getting a grip!