Improve Your Grip Strength
Having a strong grip goes beyond wanting to give your boss and father-in-law a firm handshake. Having muscular forearms is imperative if you want to lift more weight at the gym and give your body and overall muscular workout. Suffice it to say, having rippled and lean arms is enough to make your body’s profile more attractive.
If up until now, you have been neglecting your hand, wrist, and forearm strength, then this article is for you. We’ll give you some key points that can help you get your lower arms up to par with the rest of your body and we will also throw in a few workout suggestions.
Start by including the following practices into your routine if you would like to add sleeve-busting forearms to your physique:
1. Ditch The Wrist Straps And Grip Aids
Instead of helping you to strengthen your grip, gym accessories such a wrist straps and grip aids lighten the load. This means that they can potentially make your grip weaker as you train.
If this means that you need to lift slightly less weight for a few weeks without any aids, then so be it. In the long run, you will be doing yourself a favor by working your grip muscles so that you can use your own muscle-power to lift heavier weights.
2. Work Grip Training Into Your Routine
While grip training may not be as exciting as raising heavy weights or an adrenaline-pumping cardio session, just a few minutes of grip-focused exercise per day will have a significant influence on your lower arm strength in just a few weeks.
This daily repetitive stress will cause a quick jump in grip strength and you may almost immediately see a difference in your forearms. We’ll list a few easy to more challenging grip-strength training ideas below.
3. Lift Heavy
We recommend that you implement this practice only once you have increased your grip strength using more subtle approaches. Once you feel like your lower arms can cope with more stress, then it’s time for some heavy lifting.
Add a few heavy deadlifts, pull-ups, and bodyweight rows to your sessions so that you can develop your entire arm (grip included). For pull-ups and bodyweight rows, you can challenge yourself further by switching hands during each set.
4. Invest In Some Grip Trainers
Ditch those fidget spinners and invest in a pair of grip trainers. These hand-held devices will allow you to work on your grip strength while you are busy with some hand-free tasks, such as taking a call in your office. Or, instead of Netflix and chilling, you can Netflix and grip train!
Tip: if you don’t feel like parting with your money, you can always use a tennis ball. Simply hold the ball in the palm of your hand and squeeze using your fingers, wrist, and forearm.
5. Squeeze The Bar
This is probably one of the easiest methods to improve grip strength without having to divert from your usual routine. It all comes down to squeezing the bar. When you lift your weights, don’t allow the bar to slide towards your fingers. Instead, lock your fingers firmly around the bar while it settles into the palm of your hand. Use your thumb to hold the bar firmly in place.
As you work through the sets in your routine, focus on squeezing the bar as hard as you can. By engaging your grip during a regular training session, your forearm muscles will tighten quickly and without much-added effort.
We mentioned in point two that we would share some challenging grip focused exercises with you so that you can spice up your routine. Here are our suggestions in no particular order:
- Dead hang. Grip a pull bar or a strong overhead structure. Make sure your fingers move up and over the bar. Slightly elevate yourself so that your core and back muscles are activated. Hang from the bar as long as possible, extending your time with each try.
- Towel pull-ups. Pull-ups are great for grip strength but if you really want to challenge yourself, then throw a towel into the mix (not your mom’s fancy towels). Instead of hanging onto the bar with your hands, throw a towel over it and then hold onto the towel whilst hoisting yourself up. Do this until your grip weakens and cannot hold on any longer.
- Barbell shrug. Hold a barbell or free weight using an overhand grip. Then, raise it keeping your feet shoulder-width apart with your arms straight. Stand holding the barbell with your shoulders back and head facing forward. Now, raise your spine and shoulders towards the ceiling. Hold this position for a few seconds, then return to your starting position. Repeat 4-6 times per set.
- Finger curl. Finger curls should be a staple when it comes to grip improvement. They’re easy and very effective. Start in a seated position. You can either use a barbell or two dumbbells – up to you. Move your fingers under and upwards to grip the bar/s. Use your forearms and wrists to curl the bar inwards and outwards again. Repeat for a few reps (until you cannot cope with the strain).
- If you are tired of dumbbells and weights, then a bout of climbing will be in order! Climbing is a great grip and forearm strengthening exercise – and it’s so much fun too! In fact, it works most muscles in your body. Look for a gym that has a rock-climbing wall or even better, head outdoors and have a go at abseiling.
Now that you have read our advice, we are sure your eye muscles need a good rest. It’s time to hit the gym and put the method into practice!
*We always recommend that our trainers seek professional advice before trying out new workouts and routines.
- 5 Ways to Build a Powerful Grip – Men’s Journal
- Increase Your Grip Strength with These 6 Forearm Workouts – Showbiz Cheat Sheet