Grip strength is a significant factor in most sports such as tennis, baseball, golf, football, lacrosse, climbing, pistol shooting, motor cross, hockey, kayaking, and mixed martial arts. All of these activities require some level of grip strength, some more than others such as climbing, mixed martial arts, and tennis.
During a grip workout, the majority of muscles used originate between the elbow and the upper portions of the forearm bones (ulna and radius) – scientifically known as the flexor digitorum superficialis, flexor digitorum profundus and the flexor pollicis longus – and down into the thumb or fingers (phalanges).
Here are 3 good tips on how to improve grip strength. I have used these for years and they have done very well for me.
1. Use a Hand Grip
A hand grip is a device you squeeze to strengthen the muscles in your forearms. Specifically, it’ll increase your “crushing” and “support” grip strength. They’re the same muscles at work when you’re making a fist. Here is a great kit for $10 that has a few devices. Great stuff if you travel. Just stick one or two in your bag and you are good to go!
2. Wrist Curls
Wrist Curls are one of the most common exercises for hand strengthening because it targets specific muscles in your forearm. Just like any other exercise, wrist curls should be performed with proper form and precision. You’ll also need dumbbells or weighted barbells to get started. Here’s how to do this exercise safely and effectively:
- I like to use dumbbells so you can focus on one forearm at a time.
- Grab the dumbbell and assume a seated position, and hold them with your palm facing upwards.
- With a straight back, place the weights on your knees or at the end of a weight bench so that your wrists are hanging off the edge.
- Slowly lift the weights up and down to engage the muscles on your forearms. Each movement should be slow and controlled to avoid straining your wrists.
- Exhale as you lift your wrists upwards and inhale as you flex them downward. Your movement should only be isolated on your wrists. Be careful not to move your forearm when flexing.
- Perform a single set of 10 or 15 reps. After that, take a 1 minute break then perform another set.
3. Dead Holds
These are great for grip endurance events where your grip strength is being used continually and not in “bursts”. Climbing, tennis, pistol shooting and mixed martial arts are good examples.
- You can use a variety of equipment for this exercise, from dumbbells, straight bars to cinder blocks.
- The exercise is simple. Example using dumbbells. Grab a pair of dumbbells in each hand. The weight will vary according to your particular strength.
- Be sure you stand erect, head looking straight to the front.
- Simply stand there with the dumbbells or whatever weight device you are using and hold them for as long as you can. When you start to feel the “burn” in your forearms, set them down.
- After a 1 minute break do another set for a total of 4.
Joseph Teti | Founder of T1 Performance Nutrition