Grip strength, like other forms of body strength, can be enhanced through proper training and conditioning. Gripping something doesn’t just involve the fingers: it involves different muscles, bones, and joints in the lower arm. This is the reason why it takes a very specific kind of training to increase a person’s current level of gripping power. A good grip strength exercise involves the following factors:
1. Change in the normal grip of the person
2. Dynamic weight or shifting weight
3. Change in finger position
4. Change in gripping pattern
5. Prolonged pressure or resistance
6. Repeated application of resistance to target muscles
So, as you can see, these six main factors or components in grip training are not present in all kinds of exercise. In today’s discussion we are going to discuss some ways that you can begin improving your grip strength without having to spend a lot of money on new equipment.
1. Towel training – Believe it or not, old towels can be used to train a person’s grip. Take a dumbbell for example. A dumbbell is usually designed with slim handles for ease of grip. However, these “comfortable” handles do not help increase grip strength, because they do not challenge a person’s normal gripping form. Rolling a piece of towel around a dumbbell’s handle will thicken the handle and also make gripping more difficult, because the material is softer and the surface changes or shifts as you hold it.
2. Kettlebell workouts – Russian kettlebells can be used for dozens of different exercises because they are so well-designed. Russian kettlebells fit the bill perfectly, because they have a dynamic center of gravity (the center of gravity shifts as you move the kettlebell) and they also have very thick handles that are more difficult to grip. A person who performs standard Russian kettlebell exercises on a daily basis not only improves his core strength, he also enhances his whole body strength including his gripping power. Kettlebells are catching up in many parts of the United States, so be on the lookout for special gym classes headed by certified kettlebell instructors. Certified kettlebell instructors usually go through intensive training before teaching beginners.
3. Thick grips – If you are already lifting dumbbells and barbells on a regular basis, you can just add thick grips to your current equipment. Thick grips are designed to challenge your current grip. You will have to grip harder and squeeze the handle more when you lift with them. It has been established that with enough thick grip training, you can break lifting plateaus. Why? Because grip strength is a vital lifting component! You can’t lift things without gripping them first, so it doesn’t matter if your back or shoulders are strong if you have a weak grip.
4. Hand grippers – You can make hand grippers more effective by timing the squeezes in such a way that you are “white knuckled” before releasing the handles of the grippers. This will help condition your hands to take on more strain.