You probably don't often stop to think about how strong your grip is, and even then it may seem like a pointless area of your body to focus on. However, there are actually some really useful reasons to improve your hand grip strength. Plus, the exercises for doing this are fairly quick and easy to accomplish. Read this article to learn more about why grip strength is important and how you can start improving your grip with different tools and exercises.
Reasons to Increase Your Grip Strength
There are several great reasons that a person might want to increase their grip strength, but the most common is to improve a person's weight training regimen. Without proper grip strength, it's hard to continue increasing the amount of weight that you can lift. Furthermore, having insufficient hand grip strength can cause you to do certain lifts or movements in weight lifting incorrectly, which could potentially lead to injury. Although this is much more critical for those who are body builders or who lift very heavy weights on a regular basis, good grip strength can be beneficial to just about anyone who utilizes weights in their workouts.
In addition to helping with weight training, better grip strength is also helpful in a variety of sports. Martial arts and wrestling are both good examples because of the emphasis on grip when it comes to grappling in these sports. Having a strong hold on the opponent can mean the difference of winning and losing in both of these activities. Grip is also important for other sports as well, such as gymnastics.
Working on grip strength is also common for those who are recovering from an injury. If you broke your wrist or finger, or suffered a temporary type of paralysis, you may need to complete physical therapy that includes working on grip strength in order to remain the full use of your hand.
Of course, grip strength can also come in handy in your day-to-day life. Turning doorknobs, opening jars and other common activities require good grip strength. The better your strength in this area, the less likely you will be to hurt yourself doing one of these common activities.
Types of Grip Strength
There are actually two main types of grip strength that you can work on:
- Crushing Strength: This type of grip is utilized when you are contracting your hand into a fist position. With this motion, the fingers are pulled in towards the palm, which is used as a platform. For example, crushing a can in your palm or even a firm handshake both incorporate crushing strength. This is the type of grip strength which is easier to work on and develop.
- Pinching Strength: This grip is utilized when the fingers are used to grasp objects. The thumb and fingers come together to create a tight grip on an object. If you were to pick up a heavy object like a textbook in your hand and hang it at your side, you would feel your pinching strength being used. There are fewer exercises for this type of grip strength, but it is still critical to overall hand grip in the end.
How to Increase Grip Strength
There are plenty of great exercises that you can do in order to improve your hand grip strength. Some of the easiest involve simple tools or objects that you hold onto. For example, some people simply use a tennis ball to improve their grip strength. By squeezing the ball for several seconds at a time, they are able to increase the strength of their hand due to the resistance provided by the ball itself. Stress balls that are softer are good for relieving stress, and strengthening grip after an injury. Similarly, special hand grip vices can be purchased at sporting goods stores in order to provide a portable, easy-to-hold tool for improving grip strength.
Other people prefer to work on their hand grip strength while at the gym. Fortunately, the equipment needed to do this is already available there. Plate weights for a bench press can be gripped individually and hung at a person's sides in order to increase their pinching strength. Pull-ups completed only one's fingertips on the bar are another effective way to increase grip strength. Some people even hang their dumbbell in a makeshift towel sling in order to work on their grip.
Finally, there is one hand grip exercise you can do which requires no equipment at all. Fingertip pushups, although difficult, are extremely effective for increasing grip strength. Simply complete a pushup as you normally would, but instead of laying your hand flat on the floor, use only your fingertips to raise and lower your body.
Keep in mind that if you have had any finger, hand, wrist or forearm injuries in the past, some of these exercises may be more difficult or possibly even dangerous. If you have experienced any of these injuries, consult a doctor before trying out any of the exercises listed above.