Why is it important to have a strong grip? If you’re playing ball sports like basketball or baseball, having a strong grip isn’t that important. However, if your into grappling sports like wrestling and jiu-jitsu, having a G.I. Joe kung fu like grip to hand fight for wrist control and hold on to difficult positions can be very beneficial.
Contrary to popular belief, having a strong grip doesn’t all derive from your forearms. A lot of it does, but not all of it. That’s why just having big forearms doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have the strongest grip, because many of the muscles that contribute to a strong grip are in your hands and right above your elbow joint. So, if you’ve been working out your forearms a lot lately and haven’t noticed an increase in your grip strength, that means you’re lacking power in some other crucial areas.
First lets take a look at the different kinds of grip strengths:
The Crush Grip is the type of grip strength you use when shaking someone’s hand or crushing an empty drink can. It’s also used when your trying to control an opponent’s wrists during a grappling match.
The Pinch Grip is the type of grip strength in your hands between your fingers and thumbs. The muscles in your thumbs are vital to this type of grip strength.
The Support Grip is the type of grip strength you use to firmly grasp things for long periods of time. Support grip is used in pull-ups and high rep deadlifts.
Crush grip derives mostly from your fingers and palms. The fingers do most of the crushing while the palm serves as a foundation to place the object on. The flexors and extensors in the forearms provide more of a secondary role.
One of the best ways to strengthen your crush grip is to work out the muscles in your hands and fingers directly. You can do this by using hand grip workout equipment like the ones above. They’re usually cheap and very easy to use. You just squeeze them until your hand tires.
Moving onto the pinch grip. Working out your pinching strength will mainly stimulate the muscles in your forearms and fingers, especially your thumbs. Of the three types of grips, pinching grip is usually the most difficult to train for. You literally have to ‘pinch’ the weights with your fingers while holding them. As uncomfortable as that sounds, it’s the most effective way to strengthen this type of grip.
Pinch a weight in between your fingers with your thumb on one side and your four fingers on the other. Try holding it this way for as long as you can without resting it on your thighs. Do it until you feel the burn and then stop. If this is your first time, don’t push yourself too hard and strain your fingers. Take it easy for a week or so, and gauge your limits to decide how much is too much.
Exercises that contribute to your support grip you probably already do in your regular workout routine. These include pull-ups, deadlifts, power cleans, etc. Even so, there are a few extra exercises you can do in addition to these.
Flexed Arm Hangs
Grip the bar with your palms facing inward like your doing curls, and pull your body up to where your chin is over the bar. Try holding this position for as long as you can while maintaining your breathing. It’s actually a lot harder than it looks.
This one’s very simple. Lift up some heavy weights by driving through your heals while keeping your back straight and your head up so you don’t injure your back. Walk a distance of about fifty feet by taking short quick steps while maintaining your breathing. I personally prefer using kettlebells, but you can do this workout with a variety of types of weights.