How to improve grip strength

How to improve grip strength

Posted on 12/30/2019


Grip strength is often misconstrued as simple hand strength. Although the strength of your hands does factor into it, there are actually many other elements to think about. This is because grip requires the use of muscles extending right from the elbow down to the fingertips. It is for this reason that some conditions that affect the elbow and forearm, such as tendonitis and epicondylitis, can have a significant effect on our ability to properly grip and hold objects.

Improving your grip may not seem like a big priority, but in fact, it can be very beneficial.


Why is grip strength important?

You could be forgiven for thinking that a strong grip is only important if you are planning on doing a lot of upper-body exercises, such as pull-ups and hanging bars. However, there are many reasons why some people choose to work on their grip strength. Some relate to exercise, but others are social.

Strong handshake. Many people feel that a strong handshake is a very important attribute to have since it can make you come across as being confident, dependable and trustworthy. Meanwhile, a limp handshake is often thought of as being a sign of someone who is weak, incompetent and lacks credibility.

Better quality of later life. Yes really! Research has indicated that people who have greater grip strength are more likely to enjoy a better quality of life in their later years.

Greater endurance. When your hands and forearms are strong, you will find that you are able to perform certain exercises for longer, such as repetitions of a push-up or burpee.

Bigger lifts. If you train and you enjoying lifting, a stronger grip will enable you to lift heavier weights in the gum. This is especially true for weight exercises including deadlifts, rows, chin-ups, and pull-ups. You will also be able to do more repetitions (see above).


What affects grip strength?

Believe it or not, there are a number of different factors that affect grip strength, many of these physiological. These include:

Hand size. Grip strength is directly proportionate to hand size and someone with large hands and long fingers will generally have greater grip strength than someone with small hands and short fingers.

Forearm strength. The strength in your forearms plays a significant role in grip strength.  

Dexterity. Dexterity refers to your level of skill in performing tasks, particularly those with your hands. Many people are better at performing tasks with one hand rather than another, such as writing or throwing a ball. This hand is their dominant hand and will almost certainly have greater grip strength.

Bodyweight. In the same way as hand size, bodyweight is also correlated to grip strength. Someone who is significantly heavier is likely to have a much stronger grip. However, making small changes to your weight is unlikely to have much of an impact on your grip strength.

Injury. If you have suffered an injury to your forearm, wrist or hand, your grip strength may be adversely affected. However, in most cases, it is impossible to recover and increase the strength of your grip.


How to improve grip strength

If you are hoping to improve your grip strength, there are some exercises that you can do that will help.

The gripper technique. Grippers are the most popular form of strength training for grip. The aim of using grippers is to get the handles to touch. Unsurprisingly, there is resistance to this, to you have to work your muscles in order to get the handles to touch and sustain the position. 

Thick bar lifts. Hand dumbbells are very good for building the strength in your hand and forearm. Basic varieties have a fairly narrow bar to grip, but you can get those which have a much thicker handle. As the handle of a dumbbell thickens, it becomes harder to lift. This helps you strengthen your grip. You can also use thick-handled implements at home, such as mugs with very thick handles. This will also help boost your grip strength.

Stop using straps when you lift. Many people who lift weights rely on straps for support, but this actually detracts from your grip strength. By removing straps, you will gradually increase the strength in your grip.

Walk with weights. Also known as a ‘farmer’s walk’, this simply involves placing a weight in each hand, dropping them down to your sides and walking with them. Make sure you keep your posture right by engaging your core and keeping your shoulders back.



For more advice on how to improve grip strength, please get in touch with our offices where our team would be delighted to assist.


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