Press-Republican

Columns

May 15, 2012

Grasping the concept of hand strength

While the grip may not always be the first thing on your mind when exercising, it can be the key to making many things easier in the home or when playing a sport.

Whether it is in the gym or in everyday life, our hand grip is often called upon to get the job done. Without a strong grasp, it would be very difficult to work our upper body.

Many clients have come to me complaining that their grip has gotten weaker over the years, and they find they have a hard time opening jars and bottles. There are many different ways to help make these tasks easier.

On the other side of things, those participating in baseball, tennis, basketball and even wrestling should really pay attention to how strong their grip is. In all these sports, a good grip can give you an advantage over your opponent and more control over the outcome of the game itself.

When I was younger, I used to do indoor rock climbing just for fun. I realized my grip was not sufficient at all for the sport. Over time, though, it became stronger, and I could hold on longer.

Before this time, I also would strength train using dumbbells and barbells. Though I thought this would be enough to develop a good grip in climbing, I was completely amazed at how inadequately my hand grip stood up to the grips in the wall I was climbing.

This is where I learned that barbells and dumbbells aren't necessarily the best ways to improve your grip. They do to some extent, but to really improve the grip, you need to do non-traditional exercises that require gripping objects that aren't easy to hold on to.

One way to do this for advanced users is to switch your typical bar grip to something like a rope or towel. An example of this can be doing towel pullups. These are done by simply draping two towels over the pullup bar and griping them instead of the bar while pulling up. You would be holding on to the two towels like they were ropes. This technique is very effective but can be difficult to do if you are not conditioned to a pullup yet.

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