Building a firm grip is one of the most neglected areas in fitness,most people have never even given it a thought. Hand muscles are small, especially when compared to larger ones such as the gluteus maximus, the heart and how can we forget the ‘glorious six-packs.’ However, they are equally significant for the optimum function of the body on a daily basis –not just for handshakes and prying and jar open.
In fact, building a strong grip is one of the most important steps of your fitness journey. Squatting, pull-ups, lunges, deadlifting and pushdowns among other fitness exercises requires you to have a strong grip. However, fitness personals are not the only ones who can benefit from strengthen their hands.We all perform manual activities with our hands on a daily basis, whether it is lifting heavy equipment or texting for long periods.
So, whether you are an athlete, a typist or carpenter the information below can be useful to you.
The Importance of Hand Grip Exercises
Accidents and medical issues such as arthritis are not the only factors that can impair your ability to use your hands for lifting weights, moving objects, typing or knitting. Every day wear and tear, aging and overusing your hands can cause the muscles to weaken.
Hand gripping exercises can help you to overcome injuries, build your muscles and enhance your overall strength, making it easy for you to ‘light up the gym’ and take the trash out. It works to prevent pain that might be cause by tendonitis or chronic inflammation that usually occurs if you overuse some muscles while neglecting others. In addition, if you are an athlete, this might be a great way to improve your performance on the court or field. Here are the benefits of hand strengthening exercises:
Enhance Muscle Endurance
This is by far one of the most desirable benefits. Improving your hand muscle endurance will make everyday chores and working towards your fitness goal easier. It allows you to perform activities for longer periods, making it seem less strenuous. This is because when you increase the amount of force you can apply to your hand muscles, your simultaneously increase the amount of time your muscles can withstand the force.
Engaging in repetitious activities such as mowing the lawn, washing the car or gardening will become a fun family activity, minus the feelings of fatigue.
Improved Forearm Muscularity
Muscles in your forearms controls the movement of your fingers. The opening of closing of your hands are controlled by thee forearm extensors and the forearm flexors respectively. By enhancing your hand strength you are involuntarily thickening and strengthening these muscles; developing the power and appearance of your forearm.
Increase The Hand Strength
As you probably know by now, hand strength exercises not only improves the strength of your forearms but also your wrists and fingers. Improve hand strength means increase productivity in the gym and helps your to see faster results. For professional gymnasts, baseball players and basketball athletes, the strength of your hands will ultimately determine whether you can keep the crowd entertained.
A Happier You
Improving your hand strength is a challenge in itself, and represents what we like to call ‘pure strength.’ Knowing that you have demonstrated this strength and endurance will give you a feeling of accomplishment, knowing your hard work paid off. You will also be encouraged to pursue all your fitness goals that will help you get to a healthier and happier you. Getting rid of those unbearable pains, that attack whenever you attempt to picks up a ball or answer the door, will certainly add a hint of happiness to your life.
Types of Grip Strength
Your hand muscle have the potential to perform three types of grip strengths. These are explained below:
Crush Strength: whenever you shake a hand or crush a can, you are using your crushing strength. Your palm and fingers are the primary contributors of this action; the palm acts ask a platform and the fingers do the crushing.
Support Strength: this is your ability to hold onto something for a period time – think traveling with your suitcase or doing a series of push-ups.
Pinch Strength: this is typically more challenging that crush gripping. Your thumb and the other fingers are exclusive contributors to this action.
Grip training may vary based on what you want to accomplish. Individuals who participate in rock climbing might find support strength and pinch strength training to be more useful while a martial arts expert will benefit more from support strength.
Top Hand Strength Exercises
Gripper Exercise: Gripper Ascending Pyramid
The gripper ascending pyramid is a simple yet effective exercise technique that helps to develop hand strength. Start by doing one rep in one hand and then afterwards moving the gripper to the other hand and making one repetition as well.
Take a deep breath and make two reps with the initial hand now and follow suit with two more reps.
Continue until desired, making sure that you do not fatigue yourself unnecessarily, try to maintain your sets of reps in multiples of three.
Speed reps are also a method that can be used where you simply try to complete a set amount of reps in a set amount of time. This is a good occasional workout; however, overdoing it can cause severe strain.
Exercises that make use of a gripper or handheld exercise ball take a more direct approach to increasing the strength of your wrist. These smaller implements give us the ability to focus more closely on developing the strength of the muscles in the area around the hand and wrist.
Static Barbell Hold
This works to increase your pinching and crushing strength. Here I how it’s done:
Set up the barbell on the power rack and ensure that the rails are slightly above your knees.
Begin loading up the bar. If you are a beginner, start small and moderately work your way up.
While maintaining a firm hold on the barbell, lift it up while simultaneously keeping your arms at your sides while bending them at a 90 degree angle.
Repeat the process as often as desired in sets of three reps. Using a towel wrapped around the barbell itself can be an added challenge but it is not a necessity for this workout.
Squeezing Rubber Ball
You don’t need a fancy colourful ball, squeezing a tennis ball repeatedly will give you the same results. A newspaper ball will also suffice, simply tear up the pages into smaller pieces and role it into a ball. Once thing I like about this move is that you can do it while enjoying a Saturday evening movie.
Pick up the ball, enclosing your thumb and fingers around it and hold it out while simultaneously applying pressure in a squeezing action. Do this for 60 seconds.
Raise your hand above your head and continue squeezing for an additional 60 seconds.
Move your hand to the side and keep squeezing the ball for another 60 seconds.
Move the ball to the order hand and repeat the steps above.
Towel- Grip Farmers Walks
Try picking up a pair of dumbells and going for an evening walk. You can even do this in your house or backyard, simply pick up the dumbells and carry them around until you can hold on anymore. Holding onto heavy object while walking creates a lot of instability and this can help to strengthen the forearm.
To spice things up a bit, wrap the dumbbell in a towel. In fact, it does not have to be a dumbbell, you can use a sandbag, a brick or any object you have lying around that will get the job done. Grasp the end of the towel and walk around holding it as long as possible. Be careful not to overuse your hands.
This type of exercise works wonders on the forearm, while strengthening your hand grips at the same time:
To begin pick up a set of dumbbell and hold both hands at a 90 degree angle.
Your elbows should be at your side and your shoulders relaxed. This will limit the possibility of you sustaining an injury. Then without burdening your wrists, gradually move the dumbbells away from your side.
Slowly, return the dumbbells back to their original state and repeat the steps as necessary.
There are a number of grip training exercises available to you. You’ll be surprised to know what you can accomplish with just the equipment you have in your home. The exercises features in this post are the ones that I consider are less strenuous yet very effective as it relates to enhancing hand muscle strength and building your forearms.
If you find that you are struggling with your fitness regime because of your frail hands, try to change things up by applying the techniques discussed above to you daily ‘to-do-list. They are relatively easy to adapt and very effective.