Good grip strength is not just for a firm handshake. It will make your presses and pulls stronger. People often try to strengthen specific muscles and, let’s say, not the whole arm from fingertips to shoulders. And that’s ok. But if you want to optimize and maximize your strength, then focus on your grip.
Learn how to strengthen your grip with these simple techniques, exercises, and variations.
What is Grip Strength
First of all, your grip strength mainly comes from your forearms. Your forearm muscles contract as you squeeze your fingers to make a fist. And the harder your fist contracts, the further up your arm to your shoulder you will feel it.
Test to Feel Your Grip Strength
Try it. Make a light fist with your right or left hand. Next, take the other hand and place it on your triceps. Now tighten and increase the tension of your fist until you can squeeze it as hard as possible. You should feel the triceps muscle contract when you reach the point of tightening your fist maximally.
You can put your hand on the side of your shoulder and feel it there too! The triceps is easier to feel at first. But your grip strength actually transfers all the way to your back and chest muscles. Put your hand on your lat and see if you can feel it there as well. If you can’t, take off your shirt and do the fist test, and you will see your chest muscles contract.
As you can now feel and see, your grip strength transfers power to your shoulder and back. So next time you go to do a lat pull, back row, chest press, or shoulder press, crush the bar with your grip, and you will do more reps than usual.
Types of Grip Strength
Your grip strength can be developed in many ways.
The crush grip is the most useful one to do. It is using your fist, closing the fingers around the bar, to create force and resistance. You can use bars, ropes, and resistance bands.
The pinch grip involves using your thumb and fingers like a lobster. You can pinch the head of a dumbbell, plate, bag, or sandbag.
The hook grip is mainly used if you are hanging from a bar. You use your fingers and exclude your thumb. It can be used when doing pull-ups, rowing, deadlifting, etc.
Bodyweight Exercises to Increase Grip Strength
When doing a pull-up, you can use a crush or a hook grip.
2. Dead Hang
Dead hangs are excellent for building grip strength. Just hang from the bar. But when hanging, keep your abs tight. That will make it harder. You can start with the crush grip. And when the crush grip fatigues, use the hook grip.
3. Finger Planks or Finger Push-Ups
It is precisely what it says. Hold the plank position on your fingertips. And if you can, do some pushups, it will challenge your finger strength. If you can’t go all the way to the floor, just do what you can.
Resistance Exercises to Boost Grip Strength
When doing the deadlift, you can use a hook or crush grip. Since you can feel it in your back muscles, you will improve your deadlift strength by crushing the bar.
2. Dumbbell Rotation
Holding a dumbbell with your arm straight out or in a bent position, rotate the dumbbell and crush the grip. You will feel both sides of the forearm working as you rotate the dumbbell.
3. Farmer’s Walks
Farmer’s walks are great to use applying the crushing grip first. And when the crush grip starts to fatigue, switch to the hook grip.
When doing grip strength exercises, choose some to challenge your fingers and wrist to make your forearm muscles work maximally to develop greater strength. Don’t just do wrist curls.
Check out the book INSTANT STRENGTH for more info about strength, speed, power, and explosive training.
Or, to see more great videos to develop your sport and training, watch the BALANCED BODY channel.