We all have priorities when we start pursuing fitness. It might be to improve our run time or bench press. Perhaps you want to look better for an event. How many of you out there ever think about improving something else like, I don’t know, your grip?
By Roger Lockridge
Grip strength is something that not everyone thinks about but should be taken more seriously. Aside from the fact that lifting involves holding whatever you’re working with, your grip strength transfers to many other aspects of your life. While powerlifters and strongmen might work on grip specifically, other athletes in other forms of fitness don’t give it the attention it deserves. So now that you’re aware of the importance of it, let’s get to work on making your grip stronger.
Make Grip Work a Part of Your Warm Up
It is real easy to add grip exercises to your warmup routine. Grab a pair of light dumbbells and hold them with the tightest grip possible at your sides for 30 seconds. Once that time passes, grab a heavier pair and repeat for another 30 seconds. Finally, take a heavy pair that you would find challenging to hold and try to perform this drill one more time for 30 seconds. If you’re able to do it, then next time add 5 seconds to your time or grab heavier weights.
Don’t Break Out the Straps Until It’s Necessary
Lifting straps can be a great asset to help you maximize the volume you place on your muscles while training. But let’s be real for a minute. Do you really need to use them on your lighter sets? Keep them in the gym bag for your first couple of sets and let your natural grip strength keep the weight secure for you. Then when you get to your heaviest weight, use your straps.
Use Hand Grips
Hand grips can be a great piece of equipment that can fit in your gym bag and is available to you any time you need them. If you’re able to find a set that has multiple levels of resistance, they would be best. Focus on squeezing them for as long as you can without releasing them. After that you can try to do as many reps as possible in one minute. This protocol will test both your power and endurance.
Take It Seriously
This isn’t one of those aspects of your fitness that you can just throw in randomly to see if it sticks. You need to commit to working on your grip as you would your cardio, your bench, your pull-ups, or whatever aspects mean the most to you. Work grip exercises into your routine every week. You can add it to your arm routine when your grip would be challenged anyway or on a leg day when your hands wouldn’t be as involved. Where you plug it into your plan is up to you but make sure you put grip training in a spot that will help you progress the most.