In my work as a personal trainer, I am constantly trying to help people strengthen their weakest link. For bodybuilders this is always a lagging bodypart. For people who are primary interested ingetting stronger–in simply lifting more weight in more lifts–I can almost always help them increase their overall strength by helping them get a stronger grip.
For strength trainees, the grip is often the equivalent of the weakest bodypart for the physique competitors. Here’s why: it often gets neglected. How many times have you seen a man with a giant upper body and skinny little legs? Well, he has been neglecting to work on his legs. Therefore, his legs hinder his goal of overall physique development. He can never look any better than his legs do in a competition.
With someone trying to develop brute strength, the hands are often the neglected part of the equation. I have one client who wants to be able to dealift 500 pounds. What is ironic is that his back and legs are already strong enough to lift that much weight–he just can’t hold onto it. The barbell falls out of his hands because his grip is not strong enough.
It doesn’t necessarily act as a hindrance simply to those wanting to increase their max strength. If you want to be able to lift more total volume during a session, then hand fatigue in a movement like a dumbbell row can also be your limiting factor.
Strong hands are useful. That’s the core of this article. tri grip weight plate Whether you’re an athlete, a laborer, or you just want to be as healthy as possible, there is no downside to developing hand strength. Here are a couple of exercises to get you started:
The plate curl
This is just a normal bicep curl, but holding a weight plate instead of a dumbbell or barbell. Pinch a 10-25 lb plate between the thumb and the four fingertips. Now curl the weight approximately to chin level without letting the wrist bend.
I’m not talking about the little plastic grippers you can buy at Wal Mart. I’m talking about heavy duty torsion grippers like the Captains of Crush grippers from Ironmind, or David Horne’s Vulcan grip tools.
Heavy grippers look like others that you have seen, but they have hundreds of pounds of resistance, not dozens. Hence, they can’t be worked for high reps or frequent sessions.
It is simple–just use your hands more and focus on strength. Can you do more weight in a hand exercise than you could last week. Then you are stronger. Can you do more reps than you used to be able to? Then you are stronger.