Developing the strength of your grip will not only help you train harder in the weight room, but you’ll be able to keep hold of items better during daily activities. In some circumstances, how much weight you can perform an exercise with depends partly on your ability to grip, and thus hold, a weighted implement. Fit in your hand grip exercises at the end of your weight-training sessions, as you don’t want your forearm and hand muscles to be fatigued when you’re performing more complex lifts.
There are two types of grip that you’ll want to focus on, including squeezing strength and pinching strength. Squeezing strength uses your palm as your hand wraps entirely around an object, as if you were to attempt to crush a can or when you’re shaking hands with someone. Pinching strength uses your fingers only as you hold an object between your fingers and thumb.
The plate walk develops pinching strength. In both hands, grip a weighted plate between your thumb and fingers. Stand and allow the plates to hang down to your sides with your thumb positioned closest to your thighs. If you’re just starting out, use a plate that’s weighted at 25 pounds. Walk about 50 yards while pinching the weights. Once you’ve built up your grip strength, try performing the exercise with 35-pound plates.
The towel hang is effective for developing your crushing grip strength. Wrap a towel around a bar that’s positioned over your head. Grip each end of the towel with your hands. Pick up your feet so you’re hanging down toward the floor with your arms extended and hands gripping the towel. Beginners should hold this position for as long as they can. Once you’ve built up strength, incorporate repetitions of pullups, which would involve pulling your body up toward the bar until your head becomes in line with your hands and the ends of the towel.
Rubber Ball Squeeze
You can use a rubber exercise ball for the squeeze exercise, but it doesn’t need to be fancy. A regular tennis ball will do. Squeeze the ball as hard as you can and then relax. The exercise can also be completed for time. Squeeze the ball and hold that tension for as long as you can. Both hands can be worked at the same time if you prefer. Because of the simplicity of the rubber ball squeeze, you can easily fit it into your day. Squeeze a ball when you’re watching television or sitting in on a meeting.
Kim Nunley has been screenwriting and working as an online health and fitness writer since 2005. She’s had multiple short screenplays produced and her feature scripts have placed at the Austin Film Festival. Prior to writing full-time, she worked as a strength coach, athletic coach and college instructor. She holds a master's degree in kinesiology from California State University, Fullerton.