Guys, lets face it having a powerful grip is a sign of masculinity. It’s a symbol of our manhood and it’s constantly under scrutiny, like it or not. It doesn’t matter if its in the work place or during a sport. Your grip strength is being tested and observed by almost everyone you come in contact with.
It might be a show of superiority in a hand shake to a female asking you to open the pickle jar. At that moment, you can doubt it or try to deny it, but your manliness is being judged!
What’s the first step to building a better grip,. Admit your weakness. But don’t feel too bad, you are not alone. A recent study has shown a drastic decrease in millennials (ages 20-34) hand grip strength. The root cause of weakness is the modern lifestyle.
So, if you are a limp wrist millennial, listen up. It’s time to put an end to all the nansy-pansy b.s and get a grip. The study used to testing methods to determine strength:
- Lateral Pinch
We will preform a few tests to determine our starting point and asses achievements. This way we will have verifiable gains and a track history.
Recording our current stats
You can’t just jump into a new routine, jerk around for a month then assume you have a better grip. Just as with anybody building or workout routine, we need to asses and track our gains. In order to do so, we will need access to two specific pieces of equipment:
Grip Strength Measurement Meter
This simple device is self explanatory and cheap at about $30 or less. Simply grab and squeeze the handle as hard as possible with one hand. Take note of the pounds of pressure, then do the same with the other hand. You can alternate and note 3 times and find the average, but there usually isn’t much variation, so once is enough.
Pinch Gauges tend to run a little higher in price, but you can usually find a deal on EBay. You are looking at about $50-$150 depending on quality. To test your pinch strength, have someone hold the gauge for you. Then using your thumb and index finger grasp and squeeze the meter, taking note of the pounds of pressure. Switch hands and repeat.
Measuring Grip and Pinch strength at home
Wait, what? This stuff is expensive, how can you test your grip without spending money on equipment, easy, you got a weight scale? If you don’t need such accurate readings and don’t fell like spending a hundred plus on grip measuring gauges you can use a simple home scale. This will provide base line figure and that’s all we need to measure gains.
Same concept, for grip, grab the scale on both sides and squeeze, note the poundage. Measure pinch by pinching on both sides, note the pounds. It’s time to get our routine started.
Grip Strength Workout Routine
If you have never trained before you can expect to make improvements rather quickly. Once under stress, your forearms will react by tightening muscle fibers and improving the amount of power they have available. Expect to see measurable results in strength as soon as 2 to 3 weeks. Don’t stop there, that’s the beginning, you will continue to increase as muscle tears and rebuilds. If you add these exercises to your current routine, in 2 to 3 months you will have visibly larger forearms.
This is an excellent routine that is sure to make your forearms burn and fingers lock up. If you are currently in a weight training routine, be sure to add this to your training split where appropriate. You can also make alteration to your current lifting routine that will incorporate more grip power, we will get into that further below.
- Towel Pull-ups: If pull ups is part of your current routine, this variation can be integrated perfectly. Instead of grabbing the pull-up bar as usual, hang a towel or two from the bar and use them.
- Dumbbell Holds: Dumbbell holds are not counted in reps, sets are counted by time under tension. We don’t recommend this exercise to be preformed on full body or in combination with a “pull day”. Your grip will be exhausted, take caution.
- Plate Pinch Holds: Similar to dumbbells holds, but the goal is to carry the weight by your fingers. Start with one 10lb plate, then stack up to 2 plates at a time. Increase the weight once you can complete 3 sets of 30 to 60 second holds.
- Plate Pitch Movements: Integrating moments will trigger the use of stabilizer muscles and greatly increase versatility of grip strength.
Tips and Tricks for faster results
By making small changes to your current routine, you can engage more forearm and grip. For example, as weight increases you may become reliant on assistance equipment that can and will impair your grip. The use of wrist wraps and lifting hooks may help you lift more weight, but without that equipment you would never be able to get it off the ground.
Drop the straps and hooks, allow your entire body including your grip to progress equally
Lift with rhythm
There are a number of grip strengthening exercises that you probably already do, but preform improperly. Rhythm or tempo is as important as form when it comes to training. Power lifters use short bursts to preform lifts, this is because more power can be harnessed in explosive moves. Builders may use a combination, explosive in positive movement, but slow on the negative. This is once again an example of utilizing “Time under Tension“. Gaining strength as well as stressing muscle fibers to encouraging growth.
Let’s see how you can incorporate these principles into your routine!
- Dead-lifts: Take 1 second up, hold for 2 seconds then back down, repeat.
- Shrugs: Don’t rest the wait between sets, keep a firm grip throughout your set.
- Pull-ups: Come to a complete hang between reps. Pause into a 2 second dead hang.
- Rows: Maintain a tight, firm grasp throughout the set.
Those are just a few examples, once you get the idea it’s easy to see how you can continue these principals in your routine. You may think the idea of “preforming sets to failure” only involves the main muscle group or movement. But when conducting an exercise that involves multiple muscles or muscle groups, failure involves any muscles in the movement.
If during dead-lifts, your grip fails, you don’t continue with hooks or straps. You set ends there! Give your grip the respect it deserves.
As your grip improves and the weigh being used increases, you will start to see the need for stretching. There is a huge range of stretches you can use to relive tension, the ones outlined in this image are just the very basics.
You can experiment with different movements to discover what works best at the time. Once you find the area that needs to be stretched, stretch and hold. Use the pain as a guide, the pain felt when stretching will help you identify the area. Hold the stretch until the pain subsides. This may take one to five minutes. Stretch also encourages stretch through a number of factors, one of which is muscle memory.
A pull and release stretch may only aggravate the muscle, stretch hold.
Big Forearms and a killer grip!
With these great routines and tips, you are well on your way to developing a powerful grip. Remember muscle development takes time and effort, but unlike major muscles, forearms and grip, once developed can be with you for some time.
Large muscles and muscle groups require a lot of energy and calories to maintain. The forearms, due to constant use through daily activities stay engaged. Because they don’t requiring as protein, calories and energy to maintain. Your grip will manage to maintain its strength and forearms keep their size for a longer amount of time.