Have you ever heard the saying, "You are only as strong as your weakest link?" This can apply to many facets of your fitness and wellness, but today we are going to look at Grip Strength as it pertains to overall upper-body strength and beyond.
Is Weak Grip Strength Holding You Back?
Thinking about some of the all-time classic upper-body exercises, such as bench press, pull-ups, and even bicep curls, we do not always associate grip strength as a reason we may have limitations or are unable to see quicker progress. Think about this: If your chest is strong enough to bench press 100lb dumbbells, but your grip strength is only strong enough to hold 50lb dumbbells, you probably are not going to be able to challenge your chest appropriately. You are only as strong as your weakest link.
How can you overcome this deficiency? One way is to start implementing grip strength training into your routine. Whether your goal is to open a jar of pickles or to tear a phonebook in half, improved grip strength has its benefits for nearly everyone.
Grip Strength Exercises
Try these creative exercises to spice up your routine and get the most out of your workout.
Exercise 1: Barbell Open/Close Hand
Holding a barbell (size can vary depending on your experience level), stand with good posture. Slowly open your hand, allowing the bar to roll toward your fingertips. As soon as the bar is at its farthest point, slowly close your hand, returning the bar to the starting position.
Exercise 2: Machine Wrist Rolls
Using a cable machine, first attach a straight bar attachment. Stand with knees bent and body in an athletic position, keeping the back flat. Using lighter weight, allow the attachment to spin in your hands while under control. Make sure you go both directions!
Exercise 3: Towel Kettlebell Farmer’s Carry
Using two Kettlebells (one if you are doing a Suitcase carry) and two towels, begin by wrapping the towel through the handle of the kettlebell, creating a "handle" with the remaining towel. Grip the towel and carry the kettlebell with the towel. Maintain good posture, chest up and eyes straight ahead. Walk forward, turn, and walk back to the starting point.
Exercise 4: Bosu and Bodybar Wrist Roll
Begin by standing on a Bosu ball (or any unstable surface). Hold a bodybar at shoulder height and as far from your body as possible. Turn the bar in your hands; it should spin (not unlike accelerating a motorcycle). Make sure you do both directions.
See a NIFS Fitness Specialist to discuss how to improve your grip strength today! Enjoy.
This blog was written by Thomas Livengood, NIFS Health Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer. To learn more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.