Grip Strength Exercises: How to, Benefits, Training – Muscle & Fitness

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You never really understand how important incorporating grip strength exercises into your routine are until it gives out just as you’re trying to lock out a heavy rep.
Grip strength is something you are born with and is part of your DNA. Way back in the 19th century, Louis Robinson, an English surgeon tested 60 babies by having them hang from a suspended walking stick. With only two exceptions, the infants were able to hang on for at least ten seconds and some did it for 60 seconds or more. Yes, you are born with grip strength but it’s a use it or loses it proposition.
Regular bilateral carries are great and are something everyone needs to be doing. But when you’re looking at taking your grip strength to a new level or seeking variety with your grip training, look no further than these three unconventional grip strength exercises.
Here we’ll go into the health and performance benefits of training grip along with instructions on how to perform a trio of grip strength exercises and programming suggestions to crush your training.
If you want Popeye forearms without having to eat all the spinach, you have to hit forearm and grip strength training hard. Having bigger forearms is one benefit, and here are a few more.
Here are two ways to progress these three grip strength exercises to keep improving your grip.
Here’s how to make your grip strength OCR-ready.
Carrying or lifting heavy things with your hands is your first port of call in building grip strength. When you’re looking to add variety and take it up a notch, take these 3 exercises out for a spin.
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The suitcase carry will strengthen grip imbalances between sides and train your lateral stability and anti-rotational strength. But the chaos carry takes this to a new level. The addition of a band around the kettlebell horn creates instability because of the oscillating band. The band is great for additional rotator cuff recruitment and for adding more core stability and control to an already difficult exercise. Plus, gripping the band is something you’re going to enjoy.
Muscles Trained: Forearms, obliques, shoulders, and glutes
How To Do It: Wrap a heavy looped band around the kettlebell horn. Holding the band close to the KB horn makes this exercise easier. The further away the opposite. With your shoulder down, chest up and shoulders even walk for 40 yards and put the KB down. Swap hands and repeat.
Programming Suggestions: You have a couple of options here. You can perform it as part of your warm-up or pair it with an exercise during your workout that doesn’t require too much grip strength. For example:
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Training with a towel is not new but it is often neglected with it comes to improving grip strength. This pull-up variation trains more forearm and grip strength because of the neutral grip and the difficulty of holding and pulling on the towel. The advantage of the towel pullup is you’re using the gripping strength like with most pulling movements and crushing grip strength due to squeezing the towel.
Muscles Trained: Wrist, forearms, biceps, deltoids, upper back, lats, and anterior core
How To Do It: Using one towel is easier and two towels more difficult. The one towel version focuses on your forearms while the two towels are more lats. Hold the towel(s) midway up, using a firm grip and perform pull-ups as usual keeping your shoulders down and chest up. Go until your grip starts to give out.
Programming Suggestions: Train this instead of your usual vertical pulling exercise early in your training when your grip is fresh. Pair this with any pressing exercise or a front squat variation when you’re hating life. For example:
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The Gripedo attachment is shaped like a torpedo and when you use it in sand or as a barbell attachment, it is highly effective at building outer worldly grip strength. The four fins at the bottom allow you to attach a dumbbell or kettlebell plus fun in the sand. The Gripedo sand bucket spin, the sand provides resistance as your grip the fat of this tool and this trains your finger strength and your wrist strength in all planes of motion.
Muscles Trained: Finger and wrist muscles, forearms, and biceps.
How To Do It: Use a bucket of sand that doesn’t have too many chemicals in it. Bury the Gripedo in the sand until the fins are buried. Sit down with the bucket at arm’s length and spin it either clockwise or anticlockwise until you can do no more. Swap sides and repeat.
Programming suggestions: Due to the concentric nature of this exercise you can use it as a warm-up before weights or as a finisher at the end of your training.
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