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Grip Strength Workout For Maximal Hand And Forearm Strength

Your hands are the first point of contact with any object you interact with and are key in everything from shaking hands to opening a jar. Unfortunately, building grip strength is often overlooked in favor of bigger, more noticeable muscles.

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But having a strong grip isn’t just about the everyday activities – it’s also essential for making gains at the gym. A strong grip can help prevent injuries, improve your performance in other exercises, and make you look damn impressive when you’re deadlifting a heavy barbell.

In this article, we’ll show you a grip strength workout that will help you develop maximal hand and forearm strength.

What Is Grip Strength?

Grip strength is the ability of your hand muscles to generate force. This can be measured by how much weight or how long you can hold on to an object (5).

There are two types of grip strength:

1. Static Grip Strength

This is the amount of force your muscles can generate while holding an object in place. For example, holding a heavy dumbbell or a barbell in your hand during a deadlift.

2. Dynamic Grip Strength

This is the amount of force your muscles can generate while moving a held object. For example, swinging a kettlebell or pulling a rope.

While both types of grip strength are important, dynamic grip strength is often more relevant to everyday activities and sports performance.

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grip strength workout

Which Muscles Are Involved In Grip Strength?

The muscles involved in grip strength are located in the hands, wrists, and forearms. These muscles work together to generate force and keep your grip on an object.

Here’s how you’re able to grip: the muscles in your forearm contract to flex your wrist and fingers. This brings your hand closer to the object you’re gripping.

See also
How Can I Tone My Arms Without Gaining Muscle? Top Arm Workouts To Help Get Rid Of Flabby Arms

At the same time, the muscles in your hand contract to grip the object. To keep your grip on the object, your forearm and hand muscles must maintain this contraction.

The muscles involved in grip strength can be divided into two groups:

Extensor Muscles

The extensor muscles are a group of muscles located in the forearm. These muscles are responsible for straightening the fingers (3).

They include:

  • Extensor carpi radialis brevis – located on the thumb side of the forearm and is responsible for straightening the wrist.
  • Extensor digitorum communis –  located on the pinky side of the forearm and is responsible for straightening the fingers.
  • Extensor carpi ulnaris – located on the pinky side of the forearm and is responsible for straightening the wrist (1).
  • Triceps Brachii – located on the back of the upper arm and is responsible for straightening the elbow.

Flexor Muscles

The flexor muscles are a group of muscles located on the front side of the forearm. These muscles are responsible for bending the wrist and fingers (2).

The main flexor muscles are the:

  • Biceps brachii: located on the front side of the upper arm. It attaches to the shoulder and elbow. The biceps brachii is responsible for bending the elbow.
  • Brachioradialis: located on the front side of the forearm. It attaches to the elbow and wrist. The brachioradialis is responsible for bending the elbow.
  • Pronator teres: located on the front side of the forearm. It attaches to the elbow and wrist. The pronator teres is responsible for turning the forearm so that the palm faces down.
  • Flexor carpi radialis: located on the thumb side of the forearm. It attaches to the elbow and wrist. The flexor carpi radialis is responsible for bending the wrist and bringing the hand towards the body.
  • Flexor carpi ulnaris: located on the pinky side of the forearm. It attaches to the elbow and wrist. The flexor carpi ulnaris is responsible for bending the wrist and bringing the hand towards the body.
  • Palmaris longus: located on the palm side of the forearm. It attaches to the wrist and elbow. The palmaris longus is responsible for bending the wrist.
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Dumbbell Arm Workout: Adding Some Weights Might Just Be The Game-Changer You Need!

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grip strength workout

How To Measure Grip Strength

There are a few ways to measure your grip strength. The most common method is to use a hand dynamometer. This is a device that measures the amount of force you can generate with your hand (5).

Other methods include:

1. Grip Strength Test

This test involves trying to crush a gripper – a device that you squeeze with your hand. The more force you can generate, the stronger your grip is.

2. Hang Time Test

A test measuring the amount of time you can hang from a bar without your grip giving out. The longer you can hang, the stronger your grip is.

3. Pull-Up Test

This measures the number of pull-ups you can do with your body weight. The more pull-ups you can do, the stronger your grip is.

4. Plate Pinch Test

A measure of the amount of force you can generate while pinching a plate between your thumb and fingers. The heavier the plate, the stronger your grip is.

5. Farmer’s Walk Test

A test measureing the amount of time you can walk with a heavy weight in each hand. The heavier the weights, the stronger your grip is.

Read More: Standing Bicep Stretch To Boost Arm Strength

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Good Chest And Arm Workout For Those Who Are Looking For A Challenge

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How To Improve Grip Strength

There are a few things you can do to improve your grip strength, including:

Use A Grip Strength Trainer

There are many different types of grip strength trainers available on the market, including hand grippers, Captains of Crush grippers, and plate pinchers. Using one of these devices regularly can help to improve your grip strength.

Do Exercises That Improve Grip Strength

There are plenty of grip strength exercises you can do to improve your grip. Here are 9 of the best.

Farmer’s Walk

This exercise gets its name from the way farmers carry their produce from the field. It’s a simple movement that works your whole body, but your grip will feel it the most. 

How to do it: 

  1. Pick up a heavy dumbbell in each hand. Heavy is relative; use a weight that’s challenging but not impossible to lift.
  2. Walk forward while maintaining good posture. Keep your shoulders down and back and your core engaged.
  3. After 20 to 30 seconds, put the dumbbells down and rest for a few breaths before repeating.

Deadlift

The deadlift is one of the best exercises for full-body strength. It also happens to be great for your grip. You can vary how you grip the bar to target different muscles (7). 

For example, using an overhand grip (palms down) will work your forearm muscles more than using an underhand grip (palms up). 

How to do it:

  1. Start with the barbell on the ground in front of you. If you’re using an overhand grip, your hands should be shoulder-width apart. If you’re using an underhand grip, they should be slightly wider than shoulder width.
  2. Bend at your hips and knees and grip the barbell.
  3. Keeping your back straight, lift the barbell off the ground and stand up.
  4. Hinge at your hips to lower the barbell back to the ground.
  5. Repeat for 8 to 12 reps.
See also
Standing Bicep Stretch To Boost Arm Strength

Dead Hangs

Dead hangs are a simple but effective way to improve your grip strength. All you need is a pull-up bar. 

How to do it:

  1. Hang from a pull-up bar with an overhand grip (palms away from you). Your hands should be shoulder-width apart.
  2. Let your body hang limp for as long as you can.
  3. When your grip starts to fail, slowly lower yourself back to the starting position.
  4. Repeat for 3 to 5 sets.

grip strength workout

Reverse Curls

Curls are a great exercise for your biceps, but they also work your grip. Reversing the grip (palms up) puts more emphasis on your forearm muscles (4). 

How to do it:

  1. Hold a barbell with an underhand grip (palms up). Your hands should be shoulder-width apart.
  2. Let the barbell hang at arm’s length in front of you.
  3. Without moving your upper arms, curl the barbell as close to your shoulder as you can.
  4. Squeeze your biceps at the top of the curl.
  5. Lower the barbell back to the starting position.
  6. Repeat for 8 to 12 reps.

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Pull-Ups

Pulling your body weight up is no easy feat. This exercise works many muscles, including your grip (6). You can mix things up by throwing a towel over the bar and gripping that instead. 

How to do it:

  1. Hang from a pull-up bar with an overhand grip (palms away from you). Your hands should be shoulder-width apart.
  2. Bend your knees and cross your feet behind you.
  3. Pull yourself up until your chin is over the bar.
  4. Lower yourself back to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for as many reps as you can.
See also
How To Get Rid Of Arm Fat: Science-Backed Ways Of Blasting Away Flabby Arms And Bat Wings

Fingertip Push-Up

This exercise is a challenging variation of the standard push-up. As the name suggests, you’ll be resting on your fingertips instead of your palms. This small change makes a big difference.

How to do it:

  1. Get into a push-up position with your hands shoulder-width apart.
  2. Place your weight on your fingertips and toes.
  3. Keeping your core engaged, lower your body until your chest is an inch from the ground.
  4. Push yourself back up to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for as many reps as you can.

Squeezing A Tennis Ball

This exercise is a great way to increase grip strength with no equipment necessary. You can do it anywhere, anytime. 

How to do it:

  1. Squeeze a tennis ball as hard as you can.
  2. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds.
  3. Relax and repeat for 3 to 5 sets.

grip strength workout

Plate Pinches

Pinching a weight plate between your fingers is a great way to work your grip. 

How to do it:

  1. Hold a weight plate with your thumb and first two fingers.
  2. Pinch the plate as hard as you can and hold for 5 to 10 seconds.
  3. Relax and repeat for 3 to 5 sets.

Clenched Fists

This simple exercise can be done anywhere, anytime. 

How to do it:

  1. Make a fist with one hand and squeeze as hard as you can.
  2. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds.
  3. Repeat with the other hand.
  4. Do 3 to 5 sets with each hand.

The Bottom Line

Improving your grip strength has many benefits. It can help you lift more weight, improve your athletic performance, and reduce the risk of injury. These exercises are a great way to start. Incorporate them into your workout routine and see how they can help you reach your fitness goals.

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DISCLAIMER:

This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!

SOURCES:

  1. Anatomy, Shoulder and Upper Limb, Forearm Extensor Carpi Ulnaris Muscle (2021, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  2. Anatomy, Shoulder and Upper Limb, Forearm Muscles (2021, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  3. Anatomy, Shoulder and Upper Limb, Wrist Extensor Muscles (2021, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  4. Differences in electromyographic activity of biceps brachii and brachioradialis while performing three variants of curl (2018, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  5. Grip Strength – Physiopedia (n.d., physio-pedia.com)
  6. The Pull-up : Strength & Conditioning Journal (2014, journals.lww.com)
  7. UNDERSTANDING THE DEADLIFT AND ITS VARIATIONS : ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal (2020, journals.lww.com)
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