Did you know the strength behind a super-firm handshake doesn’t all come from the muscles in your hand? If you are looking to improve the strength of your hand and your grip then it is important to know which muscles and areas need to be worked on. Improving the strength of your grip can improve your exercise routine and even allow you to lift more weight on power moves like deadlifts.
Forearm Strength is Important
When you use your hand to grip something like a jar or a pull-up bar you are using the muscles in your forearms along with the muscles in your hand. Grip actually uses all of the muscles and tendons from your fingertips all the way up your arm to just below your elbow. So if your goal is to improve the strength of your grip and your hands then focusing on your forearms is going to be critical.
Change the Way You Lift Weights
Doing isolated movements such as wrist curls won’t be enough to really improve your grip strength. If you use hand straps when you lift you should stop using those and lift without the assistance of the strap, this way you work all the muscles in your hand when you grip the bar.
Focus on how hard you can pinch your fingers together, this will help build forearm and grip strength. You can do this by changing the way you hold weights, grab a plate weight by the end and lift it by holding it in between your thumb and fingers.
Use an Open Handed Grip
You should also try to use thicker bars than normal when lifting to completely engage all of your gripping muscles. Shoot for a bar that you can grip securely but thick enough that when you wrap your finger around it your thumb and fingers don’t touch. You can also wrap a towel around the handles of your weights to increase their thickness while lifting squeeze your fingers into the towel each rep.
Vary Your Style of Pull Ups
Doing regular pull ups helps to strengthen your grip and forearms, but you can change the way you do these to really hammer down on grip strength. Instead of doing pull-ups on a bar like normal, try doing them on ropes instead. You can also use a towel, just toss a couple over the bar and grab one towel in each of your hands, be sure to keep proper form while doing this to maximize your benefit.
There are portable tools such as a hand strengthener that focus solely on your grip and forearms. These tools can be very beneficial in building overall hand strength and maintaining the level of grip strength you desire. When using one of these you should start at a lower resistance level and gradually increase the level of resistance. You can find these online and at most athletic stores.
There are numerous ways you can use a hand gripper, you can squeeze it and release slowly or squeeze and hold for a few seconds and then release. Since most have multiple levels of resistance you can use them and varying degrees of difficulty. You can also try flipping the upside down and then squeeze, or you can try to use only the tips of your fingers to press the gripper and then release.
One huge benefit of having a gripping tool is that you can use it outside of the gym. They are usually small enough to fit in your backpack or gym bag so you can carry them with you. This will allow you to get a few extra reps in whenever you have a few minutes of downtime or while you’re at home