In the Fitness World a strong grip can help in many ways. If there is one question every aspiring strength athlete should ask themselves, it is how to get a stronger grip. For many powerlifters, stronger hands would allow them to lift heavier weights. There are men out there whose backs and muscles can easily handle a 500 lb deadlift, but their hands can’t hold onto the barbell. There are martial artists who could benefit tremendously from greater grip strength, which would allow them a dominating advantage when pursuing wrist control or controlling their opponent’s limbs.
Unfortunately, grip strength is not well understood, even by many who pursue it. This is because what most people thing of as a strong grip is perceived in terms of a firm handshake. If they actually buy equipment, it is probably a cheap set of plastic grippers at the sporting goods store.
The handshake style grip is called crushing grip. It is just what it sounds like. As with most bodybuilding or strength sports, the adage “you’re only as good as your weakest link” applies to hand strength as well. With grip, the weakest link is usually one (or both) of these neglected aspects:
Pinch grip is the amount of pressure you can generate with your fingertips and thumb. Think about squeezing a 2×4 and trying to dig your fingertips inside of it. This is an essential facet of grip strength if you are interested in old time strength feats like tearing cards or phonebooks. It can also be done for very little money. Find something and pinch it. That’s about it. This may seem like an irrelevant or unimportant type of weight training, but I do believe that when something gets stronger, it strengthens everything else. It’s all connected.
This is like crush grip, but with your hand open about two inches. Think of squeezing a soda can as hard as you can. The open hand puts the grip at a disadvantageous position. Very few athletes practice support grip strength, but if they did, they would quickly find that their overall hand and arm strength improves noticeably.
Pullups or deadlifts on a thick bar are very effective methods of training open hand strength.
Whether you’re training your hands, legs, back, or anything else, I would always suggest that you focus on your weaknesses first–what are you neglecting? That is what will have the greatest result in your progress.
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