How well your hands grip things can mean more than how easy it is for you to open a jar. Poor grip strength can also indicate declining health, according to a study published in the "Journal of Geriatric Physical Therapy." During your next physical, your doctor can give you a grip strength test to tell you if your grip is healthy or needs work. Luckily, there are exercises you can do to improve a weak grip. Your doctor will be able to measure how well the exercises are working over time and you will soon find that opening jars and crushing items with your hands is no problem.
Weightlifting requires you to grip a heavy object to prevent it from dropping. While lifting weights strengthens your other muscles, it also strengthens your hands. Some good weightlifting exercises that are particularly good for your grip are wrist twists, static barbell holds and the towel grip farmers walk. These exercises also target your crushing grip, which is how well you can crush things with your hands.
Balls and Tools
Squeezing different types of balls is an easy way to improve your crushing grip without leaving your chair. One method is to squeeze a rubber ball for up to 90 seconds. Another method is tearing newspaper into pieces, and then smashing the newspaper into balls with your hands. You can also squeeze a stress ball throughout your day to improve your grip. There are also exercise tools called crush grippers that work like using balls to improve your crushing grip.
Holding onto objects while you hang from them is a good way to increase your crushing grip and pinching strength. Your pinching strength is how well you can grip something using only your fingers. For example, holding onto a chin-up bar for three sets of 90 seconds strengthens your crushing grip because you are using your entire hand. Hanging from a door jamb's frame while only using your fingers to hold on for the same amount of time will increase your pinching strength.
Pushups are another way to strengthen your grip. Instead of placing your hands flat on the floor though, boost yourself up onto your fingertips. This exercise improves both pinching and crushing strength by working muscles that are associated with these processes. Do as many as your body can allow for three sets.
Since 1998 Alina McKee has written for dozens of traditional and online beauty, fashion, health and parenting publications including Pregnancy.org, Mama Health and Real Beauty. As a professional artist, her articles about these subjects have been used in magazines and websites around the globe. McKee has a diploma in fine art from Stratford Art School.