When it comes to grip strength, there isn’t a situation much more embarrassing than having to ask someone else open a jar for you.
Developing hand strength is simply another facet of improving one’s overall fitness and the benefits are vast. For weight lifting, a strong grip makes it possible to handle more weight, especially for barbell dead lifts, shrugs, bent over rows, bench presses and squats.
Another benefit of having a great grip is improved grappling abilities. A crushing grip or vice-like hold can make all the difference in judo, wrestling, MMA and other styles of fighting. Among non-contact sports, from rock climbing and rowing to baseball, cricket, golf, tennis, racquetball and squash, grip strength is an essential element.
A strong grip reflects in the shape and tone of forearm muscles. It also equates to a firm handshake, and since men are often judged on this, the positive effect of improved hand strength can be almost immediate.
Many standard exercises provide opportunities to work on one’s grip. For example, pull-ups are an excellent exercise for developing hand strength. Also, when doing push-ups, concentrate on pushing the ends of your fingers into the floor. And when weight-lifting, be sure to use a tight grip.
One of the most popular ways to develop grip strength is by using a hand gripper. To train with a gripper, simply grab the handles and place your fingers in the correct position. Then squeeze the handles together until they touch; slowly release and repeat. Be sure to train both hands.
If such equipment is not readily available, a washcloth can be a useful substitute. Fold the cloth in half, grip both ends tightly and try to pull it apart. Then, try it again by pinching the towel instead of gripping it.
Alternatively, wet the towel and wring it out several times, trying to remove every last drop of water. It won’t take long at all to feel the increased power at your fingertips.
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