From deadlifts and Pull-ups to everyday activities, our grip strength plays a big part. Especially when lifting. The chances are you’ve been in the situation where you have to drop the weights. Not because they’re too heavy, but because your grip strength has let you down. Unfortunately this happens. However, before you resort to lifting gloves, or straps, give these 8 exercises ago to improve your grip strength naturally.
Rock climbers are known for their exceptional grip, and strong hands. This is because climbing requires a variety of different grips, where as lifts such as a deadlift requires grip strength to lift a heavy weight. Climbing requires grips in odd ways, whilst pulling their body weight.
In addition to hitting the rocks, we can also utilize the use of rope climbing. Rope climbing uses similar muscles to rock climbing. In some ways it simulates it, whilst as the same time it’s different. Typically, the thicker the rope the better it is for developing your grip strength.
‘The farmers walk’ or farmers carry are primarily seen in strongman competitions. This exercise is ideal for developing incredible grip strength. Simply grab the heaviest weight you can hold, and walk. Trying your hardest not to let go. This can be done using plates, dumbbells, kettlebells, etc. In addition to developing our grip strength, the walk hits our core, legs, hips, and postural muscles. Helping to improve our posture.
Here are just a few things that you can carry:
- Bag full of weights
#3 Pick Things Up
From atlas stones to deadlifts, lifting heavy object from the ground is the foundations of lifting weights. Helping us develop our strength, muscles, and posture. All the way from our lower back, legs, glutes and core, deadlifts are a serious compound lift. However when it comes to grip strength it’s a bit of a weak link.
This is why many people refer to straps. Allowing us lifters to take grip strength out of the equation, and lift more weight. So what’s the problem? Well if you use straps all the time your grip strength will never develop. Where as lifting without straps makes our body adapt and get stronger. Sure it may take a while, but it’s well worth it.
The most popular and fundamental lifts off the floor are:
- Atlas stones (strongman)
#4 Pulling Exercises
Every pulling exercise starts with your grip. Think about it… From Pull-ups, to sledge pulls, the heavier the weight the harder it will be to hold on. Therefore the more our bodies will adapt and the stronger your grip strength will become. Simple right? When you’ve been working out for a while your grip strength can hit a plateau. That’s why it’s important to switch it up. This can be done by using a variety of different grips during your pulling movements.
Here are a small list of grips (Weight handles) that you can use to switch it up:
- Fat Gripz
- Rolling Thunder
- Gi Grips
- Eagle Claws
- Steel Pipes
A crushing grip tool is most commonly used among, power lifters, and old school grippers. The chances are you have seen one, used one, or have owned one at some point. They’re a very basic piece of equipment that can be found in a variety of different resistances. The idea is to begin at a lower resistance, develop your grip strength and gradually progress onto a higher resistance. The best part is that this can be done at home, at work, or traveling whenever suits.
This simple, yet very different way of gripping things is perfect for switching it up and allowing the body to adapt. Have you ever gripped a football, basketball etc, with one hand? If so that’s basically what I’m on about. This exercise involves gripping an object with one hand. The larger the object and the further your hand has to extend the harder it will be. An easy way to do this exercise is to grab and dumbbell and grip the head of it. When you fancy making it more difficult simply choose a weight that has a wider surface area.
Similar to the claw, this grip involves pinching an object between your fingers and thumb. It is an excellent variation to switch up your training, and is typically performed using two plates. (weight plates)
If you’re completely new to this exercise, I recommend starting with two 2.5 kg plates. Once you get accustomed to this exercise you can move up to two 5kg plates, and so on. Sometimes keeping it simple is the best way to go. (Two plates are usually used to make it wider and therefore harder, although a single weight as shown in the image is also appropriate)
Our hands spend the majority of their time gripping, clawing and basically performing an inward movement. That’s why in order to keep our hands as healthy and as strong as possible, it’s important to work the opposite muscles called extensors that don’t see as much action.
This can be done using thick rubber bands. (Such as the wrist bands you get from events) Put your fingers on the inside of the band, and your thumb to create a sort of cone shape. Then simply extend your fingers outwards, against the resistance of the band. Due to the lack of action for these muscles, and how small they are it is normal for them to fatigue quickly during this exercise. Finally when you feel ready just find a thicker band to increase the resistance.
In conclusion grip strength matters. The heavier you’re lifting the more you will notice your grip strength failing you. Before you resort to gloves or straps, try to develop your strength naturally through these 8 exercises. All of which are simple, easy to do and most of them can be done at home with basic equipment. Definitely worth adding 5 or 10 minutes in at the end of your routine, every so often. You’d be surprised how a better grip strength can make all the difference!