Why Grip Strength is Crucial for Gains (Plus Tips to Level Up Yours!)

Get a grip, warrior.

As a fellow fitness enthusiast, I’m gonna bet that you won’t go a week without fitting in those bicep curls or ab crunches. And any serious gym-goer will also declare it a sin to skip leg day… 

What might not be in your workout regimen, however (but should be) is grip strength training.

Here’s why having a strong grip is crucial for your workout gains - plus some advice on how to level up yours:

Grip Strength: More Than a Firm Handshake

Sure, there’s nothing better for making a good first impression than perfecting your solid handshake technique. Whether it’s for nailing that job interview, or an extra boost of confidence when meeting your new SO’s parents for the first time, nothing oozes ‘cool and confident’ like a good handshake.

If you think that’s all your grip strength is good for, however, think again.

Grip strength is exactly what it sounds like — the measure of the muscle health of your hands and forearms. In other words, it refers to ​​how firmly you can hold and squeeze onto objects. There is even a tool to measure grip strength called a dynamometer. The average healthy grip strength for men is a squeeze of about 72.6 pounds while women typically measure around 44 pounds

What it’s Good For

Practically speaking, grip strength is essential for both day-to-day life, as well as sports like rock climbing and hand-centric ball sports. In the gym, grip strength is instrumental in maximizing your workouts and fully realizing your strength training goals. Every time you grab onto that pull-up or deadlift bar and really give it a good squeeze, muscles are activated everywhere from your fingertips to your elbows. Like everything else in life, a solid foundation is essential for maximum results.

In fact, many strength training exercises rely on our grip strength more than we know. Pulling movements such as deadlifts, rows, pull-ups, and chin-ups are particularly empowered through a strong grip. Unfortunately, it’s often overlooked or even sabotaged when one uses straps or never ventures away from the machines.

If you find your grip is slipping while deadlifting or performing pull-ups, it’s not only a sign that you could work on your grip strength, but a sign that it’s hindering you from reaching your weight or rep goals. Other cues that your grip strength could use some attention can occur in your daily chores, such as having a harder time carrying heavy groceries or opening sealed-tight jars and containers.

Having a weak grip can also result in forearm pain due to inflammation, which can really put your training schedule back. Tendonitis, tendinosis and epicondylitis can arise due to improper training of the forearm muscles or simply neglecting certain muscle groups or movement patterns.

How to Get a Grip

If you’re regularly performing dumbbell, kettlebell, and bar exercises, you’re already working your grip without even realizing or intending to. Same goes for rowing and controlled weights, like the lateral pull-down and reverse fly.

However, if you find that your hands and forearms are getting tired before your intended target muscle group does, chances are your regimen could benefit from some extra strength training for your fingers, hands and forearms.

Skip the frustration of being limited by your grip and maximize your workout to its potential with these grip-training tips:

3. Test with the Dead Hang

Not sure how strong your grip is? Test your mettle with the dead hang. 

Try it out by hanging from a pull-up bar for as long as you can, with arms extended and palms facing away from you. Be sure to keep your core engaged, legs straight, and feet parallel to the floor. Try to avoid swinging around and stay as steady as possible, focusing on keeping your hands and arms strong.

It’s recommended to be able to hang for at least 10 to 15 seconds - if that’s a struggle, you know it’s time to work on your grip gains. Release, shake it out, and mix this hang into your routine on days when you’re not doing a lot of other grips.

2. Grab Yourself a Hand Grip Strengthener

Hand Grip Strengtheners are the most affordable, effective, and extremely handy tool (no pun intended) for buckling down on your grip strength.

There’s a few different designs available, depending whether you want to target more focus on strengthening the fingers, wrist, or hand itself.

Their general designs consist of a tensioned spring-loaded device with handles that you manually squeeze for a resistance workout. Cheap and easy to use anywhere you happen to have them laying around, you can grab one to keep on your desk, by the couch and in your gym bag. Whip them out 2-3 times per week for a quick 10-15 rep session to workout your grip anywhere, anytime. Just go easy when you first start out so you don’t over do it!

1. Pinch Plate Finger Carry

Chances are, if you’re doing other kinds of lifts and pull-ups, your clench and support grips will already be reasonably solid. An area where a lot of people struggle is their fingertip strength, and it’s important to have strong fingers as they’re the first weak point that fails and causes you to lose the bar when things get heavy.

To work out your finger grip, try a simple pinch plate carry. A couple of times a week, grab the edge of a weight plate with your fingers on the outside and thumb on the inside, and carry it vertically by your side with your arm hanging straight.

Extend your other free arm out to the side for stability and take a few small steps forward before setting it down and repeating on the other side.

Keep a strong core with your shoulders back and spine straight, always hinging from the hips.

When starting your grip strength journey, take it slow and be sure to mix your grip improvement training in amongst your other exercises that don’t require you to use your grip so you’re not overdoing it. Incorporate them between your cardio, squats and leg presses a few times a week and you’re golden!

Maggie Johnson | MME Lifestyle Contributor

60% OFF Launch Special ENDS SOON

Meet Hawker TacFit™- the Sport Watch packed with features that destroy the competition in every category.

This absolute beast of a smartwatch has knocked our socks off from the moment we put them on - and we're proud to announce that starting NOW, you can grab one for yourself right here at Military Mental Endurance.

Intuitive Features: 

 Heart Rate & Blood Pressure monitor • Smartphone integrations • Calorie, Distance & Step tracker • Water Resistant down to 50ft • Instant call notifications • Weather tracker • 3 hard-hitting color options • & more…

Level up your life with the Hawker TacFit™ today - but hurry, these hot sellers won't stick around long.

Get Yours Here

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published