There are many training areas, but grip training is almost certainly under-evaluated. And that’s a shame, because honestly, when do you not need at least some modicum of grip strength? You should deadlift or do pull-ups, pitch a baseball, swing a racket, or play Ultimate Frisbee. When you use a briefcase or grocery bag, when you open jars or bottles, when you play the guitar, or even when you just want a good handshake that doesn't feel like overcooked spaghetti, having a good grip comes in handy.
Although very few studies have been done on the subject of grip strength concerning upper body strength and endurance, those that exist seem to indicate what I have suspected for a long time from my training - having a strong grip means having a solid and resilient upper body.1,2 Let’s face it - having a double-bodyweight deadlift is a whole different animal when you can do it using a snatch grip without wraps. In addition, a massive host of muscles are involved in the act of gripping:
- Four flexors (digitorum profundus, digitorum superficialis, digiti minimi brevis, pollicis longus)
- One extensor (digitorum)
- Three intrinsic muscles (lumbricals, interossei, adductor pollicis)
Strengthening these can help prevent many common injuries to the hand and forearm (those of you in contact sports of any kind know how much this can affect your game) and help any injuries that occur to heal much faster.
Types of Grip Training and When to Use Them
Grip training goes well beyond squeezing grippers or stress balls. After all, there’s more than one kind of grip strength:
- The Crush Grip is the grip between your fingers and your palm—the one you use for shaking hands and crumpling beer cans.
- The Pinch Grip is the grip between your fingers and your thumb. It can be further sub-categorized into individual fingers + thumb grip.
- The Support Grip can maintain a hold on something for a while—think pull-ups or long and productive shopping trips.
The type of grip training you do depends entirely on its applicability to what you want to accomplish. Martial artists may find support grip training to be more beneficial for things like wrist grabs and such. Climbers may find pinch grip and support grip strength to be most helpful. If you’re training to close Iron Mind grippers, well, you’d best do some crush grip training. I use all three elements in my training. I find this keeps me from overtraining one style and gives me well-rounded strength.
How To Train Your Grip
There are many ways to train the grip effectively. Here are a few of my personal favorites:
Make sure you have a pull-up bar available. Don't let your feet touch the ground. Keep your hands on the wheel. Many people find that they cannot complete pull-ups (or even a simple stretching exercise) if they can't hold onto the bar. A great way to overcome this challenge is to wait for time. Try holding the bar in different positions—chin-up style (palms facing you), pull-up style (palms facing away from you), neutral (palms facing each other), mixed (one palm in, one out), hook (fingers gripping the bar, palm, and thumbs off the bar), individual finger hooks, one arm hangs, and so on.
By increasing the width of the bar, these will be more complex. If you want to do this cheaply, wrap a towel or sweatshirt around the bar and cut two short pieces of PVC pipe (slightly wider than the bar) slit along one side so you can slip them over. Alternatively, you can purchase heavy duty tools from a sporting goods supply store. A rope or towel can be hung over a pull-up bar to provide another option. Pull-ups or hangs can be done by grabbing the ends. Climbers and grapplers alike will enjoy this! Jitsu practitioners will want to do this!
I recommend the kettlebell as my tool of choice for farmers, but you can also use dumbbells, hex bars, straight bars, large water bottles, suitcases, or anything else you can carry from hand to hand. You could pick one or two up and walk for as long as you can with them. Challenge yourself. It's amazing how well these muscles work and how well they support grip strength!
I recommend getting two weight plates, preferably with smooth backs. They should face out when stacked together. Take them by the hand. It would be even better if you walked with them after you've picked them up.
Using a Gripzilla Finger Pincher
- THE ORIGINAL SPRING-LOADED HAND & FINGER EXERCISER: Gripzilla is used by professional athletes, world-class musicians, and rehabilitation tools and is made from high-quality components. ABS plastic, stainless steel springs, and approved Santoprene.
- STRENGTH, POWER & ENDURANCE FOR ATHLETES: Exercise each finger individually or the entire hand. Isolates and exercises each finger separately for strength, dexterity, and endurance. Develops outstanding hand, wrist and forearm strength.
- REHABILITATION & PREVENTION (STRONGER, HEALTHY HANDS): Ideal for anyone wanting to create and maintain strong, healthy hands. May help with arthritis, carpal tunnel, neuropathy, and poor circulation.
Not just for hand strength
- The Gripzilla Pinger Pincher Hand Exerciser device consists of resistance springs enclosed between plastic handles. Each finger is allocated a spring, and the entire exerciser perfectly fits inside the palms. It exercises each finger individually or the whole hand. The Gripzilla hand strengthener has been used for more than strengthening hands. That is because Gripzilla has helped people with arthritis, neuropathy, and poor circulation to attain better health. The Gripzilla One® 5-Piece Kit has helped many pro athletes perfect their art and skills, from athletes to artists and even fitness enthusiasts.
Sandbag Deadlifts: Using GripBag Sandbag Adjustable Weight Workout Kit
Fill a few trash bags with sand, load them into a canvas duffel bag, or buy a commercial sandbag. Do NOT use the handles of the sandbag. Instead, try to pick it up, deadlift style, by pinching/crushing the bag's material.
Gripzilla's Hand Grip Strengthener is made from premium silicone and not easily torn, so it is a high-quality finger strengthener. Using it as often as you want and feeling very comfortable is very important. Sport and physical fitness enthusiasts need to strengthen the wrists, make the hands stronger, and improve the skills that can be performed with this finger. This finger resistance band has a rally value of 30 to 50 pounds.
It also strengthens the grip and balance of the muscles. For people with arthritis, tendonitis, carpal tunnel, and those who need to recover from a fractured wrist or broken wrist, this can be the perfect rehabilitation tool. Resistance bands have an ergonomic design that is suitable for all age groups. They're portable and can be carried anywhere you want. Using rubber bands for finger exercises makes it more effective.
The Gripzilla Finger/Extensor bands make exercise accessible and simple and maybe not just a dreaded activity. The finger resistance bands may enhance the strength of the fingers of athletes and musicians. The result is instant and incredibly effective once you use these hand resistance bands, which could be used anywhere, anytime, and everywhere and are very light to carry even if traveling.
Keeping it clean after each use and storing it away in a small drawer without second thoughts is possible thanks to the washable nature of this hand stretcher. After recovery, continue to use the bands on your fingers to strengthen them from time to time, so that you stay in excellent physical health.
Prevent injury and imbalance in the muscles from over-use of crushing and finger grip exercises. The hand resistance bands are designed with small holes that secure the bands on your fingers when you exercise so they do not slip. A finger strengthener will improve the finger strength of athletes and musicians, as well as beginners.
Gripzilla One® ADJUSTABLE
Easy dial adjustment and ergonomic design: The resistance can be set from 30-145lbs quickly and easily. This ergonomically designed Hand Gripper may be used by users of all ages and with all hand sizes.
This rehabilitation equipment is ideal for those who suffer from arthritis, tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, or are undergoing rehabilitation following tendon surgery. Equipment for exercises and rehabilitation of the hands and fingers
Strengthens grip and fingers
The spring providing resistance in this grip trainer is adjustable. This is one of the best features because it allows you to train your hands according to what the hands can handle. This hand strengthener supports finger, wrist, and forearm muscles, and it's also quiet. Being able to carry it anywhere makes it a great strengthening tool. For many people, this exercise machine is the best choice because it provides resistance from 20 pounds to 90 pounds. This is simply a product of outstanding quality and functionality. Various groups of people can use this strengthener, including athletes, motorsport drivers, body strength trainers, and mountain climbers.