Many people would ask “why would I want to have that?” when they first heard “grip strength”. Most seem to think that developing one’s grip strength is not necessary as we “don’t grip things often anyway”.
This common belief is not correct as our hands were meant for gripping things – that’s what opposable thumbs are for in the first place. Our thumbs are able to flex and extend as we please and can be used to hold something against a surface, such as the palms. In other words, our hands can’t help but grip and grab stuff.
Both men and women have average gripping strengths and usually this gripping power peaks between the age of 18 and 26. After 26 years of age, most people’s gripping strength will peak, but will begin to decline every ten years or so unless something was done to condition and train hands, wrists, and forearms.
Everything above and below the elbow contributes to your gripping strength. Muscles that animate the fingers and support the hands crisscross the lower forearm and even above the elbow. These crisscrossing muscle fibers are influenced by a lot of factors, including conditioning, posture, and a person’s age.
You can increase your grip strength and continue increasing it even if you’re 70 years old or even older, but that is if you did proper conditioning and training. Serious musculoskeletal conditions aside, there is virtually nothing in your way in terms of developing your grip strength.
When you have increased grip strength you will be able to perform physical tasks, like turning knobs, lifting things off the floor, etc., with utmost ease. Your ability to pull and push is greatly influenced by your current grip strength.
To prove this point, let us look at what happens to a body builder who has never trained his grip but suddenly gets the urge to do so. This bodybuilder has plenty of lifting plateaus and he’s looking for a way to shake things up. What usually happens 99% of the time is that bodybuilders who have suffered from plateaus will suddenly be able to lift 20% to 30% more after they have begun training their grips.
Grip strength is more than just hand strength – it enhances your lifting power, too. You cannot lift things if you cannot grip them in the first place. All the gripping movements that we know, such as pinching and crimping, are used synergistically when lifting weights.
So, when you finally decide to work on your grip, you are not just aiming to increase your gripping and crushing power – you are actually making the decision to strengthen your body and increase your overall explosive lifting power.
You will be able to do better in sports and, in the long term, you will be healthier because people who develop their grip strength tend to become more active and engaged in regular physical activity. And as we all know, not being engaged in physical activity can kill a person quickly through metabolic diseases such as high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure and even diabetes.