Everyone needs grip strength – strong forearms and a strong handshake are beneficial in everyday life. Here you can find out why you should improve your grip strength and, above all, how.
Grip strength is the force that you have to use in order to grip. From shaking hands to carrying bags or boxes to pull-ups: Your grip strength is in constant demand.
Even if your fingers are on the pull to grab, spread, grasp, or squeeze, your arms have to do most of the work. Strong forearms are a basic requirement for good grip. The muscles responsible run from the elbow to the fingertips, on the front and back of the forearm.
Types of grip strength
There are basically five types of grip strength. Different muscles are involved depending on the exercise or activity.
- Crushing grip: You grip something and grip firmly. You need squeezing grip strength for pull-ups or deadlifts, for example.
- Wrist Strength: You fix your wrist and thus support the strength of the fingers, for example with dumbbell exercises such as biceps curl or lateral raises.
- Thumb strength (pinching): You grab an object, for example a weight plate, and fix it between your thumb and the other fingers.
- Finger Strength: You spread your fingers as far apart as possible.
- Support Grip: You stretch your fingers and hold an object with your hand open, for example a basketball, a thick barbell or several weight plates.
Which muscles are involved in grip strength?
To build grip strength, the muscles in the forearms and hands need to work together. The forearm muscles consist of 19 different muscle strands, including extensors and flexors. They have their origin mainly in the elbow joint, from where the muscle fibers run over the wrist and sometimes to the fingertips. So when you move a finger, most of the force comes from your forearm.
More than thirty muscles in the palm and thumb are also responsible for the mobility of your hand. The fingers themselves have no muscles. So if you want to train your grip strength, the focus is clearly on the forearms.
What is the use of grip strength during tworkout?
The forearms are a relatively small group of muscles. No wonder they tend to be neglected in strength training. Most athletes prioritize their stomach, legs, and biceps. It makes perfect sense to pay more attention to the forearm muscles. After all, everyone needs grip strength – all the time.
These are the benefits of regular grip strength training:
- You can do more repetitions: The grip strength is the limiting factor in many exercises, for example if you have to break off the last set of the deadlift because you can no longer hold the barbell. Even though your target muscles still have a lot of power.
- You increase your basal metabolic rate: the more grip you have, the more powerful your body is overall in training. You have more power and make muscle building progress faster, which in turn increases your basal metabolic rate.
- You prevent injuries: You are only as strong as the weakest link in the chain. If your grip strength is permanently behind the other muscle groups, you overload your body and can injure yourself more quickly.
- You improve your performance in many sports: grip strength is not only required in strength training. Strong forearm muscles are particularly beneficial for climbing, gymnastics and ball sports such as basketball.
- You have more stamina in everyday life: transporting your shopping to the 5th floor, carrying your children through the apartment or moving house – grip strength helps you in many situations in life, not to get out of breath so quickly.
- You maintain independence and quality of life: Studies show that people with good grip are more independent well into old age and stay healthy longer.
- You appear more confident and attractive: Scientists have found that men with strong hands in particular appear more attractive. A strong handshake is also an indicator of strong self-confidence.
How to improve grip strength?
As you can see, it makes perfect sense to invest a little energy and time in your grip strength training. The good thing: it won’t get boring. There are many exercises and devices to choose from that can help you to increase your grip strength in a targeted manner.
Proven training tools for more strength in the forearms, wrists and hands are, for example:
- Finger dumbbells: pliers for squeezing together
- Finger trainer: resistance band with holes for each finger you pull apart
- Wrist Roller: Weighted barbell with rotating handpieces
- Fat Gripz: Plastic coatings that increase the diameter of dumbbell bars
Stress balls or a tennis ball are also ideal for in between, for example in the office or when traveling by train.
You can also train your grip strength with the following exercises:
Exercises to improve grip strength
On the Farmers Walk, heavy weights such as kettlebells, dumbbells or two crates of drinks are carried over a certain distance.
Important: tense your stomach and take a straight position Move forward with small steps. In doing so, consciously stretch out your chest and pull your shoulder blades back and down.
When deadlifting with a barbell, grip strength is a prerequisite. Grasp the barbell that is lying on the floor or on a raised area from above (overhand grip) so that the palms of your hands are facing you. Push your pelvis forward and bring the barbell close to your shins towards your hips. Keep your knees slightly bent and your back straight.
Tip: For targeted grip strength training, hold the barbell at the top point for a few seconds and only then put it down.
Grasp a barbell under your grip, palms facing the ceiling. Bend slightly on your knees and bend your upper body forward. The back is straight and the stomach is tense. Fix your shoulder blades and stretch your chest out. Now lift the dumbbell by pulling your elbows behind your waist.
Hold in this position for a few seconds to give your grip strength an extra boost. Important: The wrists are straight and never kink.
Hang on the pull-up bar
Instead of doing classic pull-ups, you can grab the bar for your grip strength training and simply let your body hang – either with both hands or on one side. What sounds simple is an intensive workout for the hand, shoulder and arm muscles.
Important: tense your stomach and deliberately pull your shoulder blades back and down. Do not swing, but hang out stably.
Grab weight plates
This exercise is simple and can be done at any time in the gym, as soon as you change weights: Grab weight plates and grab them from above. Grab tight, lift up and hold. The exercise is a great workout for your holding power.
How often should you improve your grip strength?
Getting to grips with the topic of grip strength is the first important step. Many athletes rigorously ignore their forearms and lose their training progress. Ideally, you should incorporate exercises for the forearms into your training plan two to three times a week. A mini-set of five minutes is enough, because you shouldn’t overdo it. Give the relatively small muscle group enough time to regenerate after the workout. Otherwise, you may not have the strength you need for the large target muscles.
Tip: place a finger trainer or stress ball near your desk or next to the couch. So you can always grab it in between and train your grip strength. There are many possibilities – and the time investment is always worthwhile. At the latest when you finish the last set of deadlifts without any problems without loosening your grip.
Summary: Grip Strength
- Grip strength results from the interaction of the forearm muscles and the hand muscles, with the forearms doing most of the work.
- Grip strength training prevents injuries, increases your athletic performance and endurance, maximizes muscle building and can help you to maintain independence into old age.
- Gripping strength can be trained with training equipment such as dumbbells and Fat Gripz as well as with various exercises – Deadlifts, barbell rows and hanging on the pull-up bar.
- Two to three training units for the forearms of five minutes each per week are ideal.
- In addition to training, sufficient regeneration and a diet rich in protein and carbohydrates are crucial in order to build and maintain grip.