Grip strength has a variety of functions that go far beyond intimidating the next guy’s hand you shake. No matter how strong you think you are, if your grip can’t handle picking up the weight, it doesn’t matter how strong the rest of your body is. In real life, there are no straps, so be ready for anything by building your grip strength the same way you tackle all of your other weaknesses.
There are three primary types of grip strength: crush, pinch, and hook. Each of these exercises challenges both your strength and muscular endurance, two key components of functional grip strength.
The Crush Grip Hold is pretty much as simple as it gets. Get a rock or other oddly shaped object, set it in between your feet, then bend over and crush the object, then lift and hold. The wider the object, the harder this exercise will be. Try to hold for at least 30 seconds before putting down the weight. Rest for 30 to 60 seconds, stretch your hands, then try it again. Only repeat for 2 or 3 rounds if it’s your first time. Try to up it to 10 rounds after you improve your grip.
The Pistol Grip Farmer Walk is one of the more dynamic of the grip strength exercises. Grab the handles of two kettlebells and clean them up to a balanced position directly above your elbow. Crush the handles as much as possible to keep them from falling on either side of your arm (or against your face). Stabilize, then start walking 30-50 meters at a time. Set the weights down, rest, then do it again. If you can’t stabilize the weight enough to walk with it, lighten it up. If it’s still too tough, start by simply standing with the weight in the Pistol Grip position. Once you can hold it for at least 30 seconds, you’re ready to walk.
The Pinch Grip Plate Hold works your “pinching” strength. Pinching strength is the ability to hold or crush weight in between your thumbs and fingers. Get two plates (start light), pinch them together, then lift them a foot off the ground (be sure your feet are not in the way in case you drop them). Hold for 30 to 60 seconds, stop, flex your fingers, then go again. At first, doing this with 10lb plates may be difficult, but don’t worry! Two weeks of this and you’ll be moving forward.
Fat Bars are one of the best ways to increase grip strength for other exercises like the Deadlift. By using a fat grip dumbbell or barbell, you’ll be challenging your forearm and grip strength much more than with a traditional bar. If you don’t have access to one, check out Fat Gripz. Add them to barbells, dumbbells, or pull up bars and start challenging your grip like never before. Watch how quickly your standard lift records start to increase.
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