Grip and pinch strength

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Best Bodyweight Exercises to Improve Grip Strength

1. Pull-Ups

Pulling your body up to a parallel bar requires serious strength and solid grip. Next time you’ve completed a set of pull-ups, take a look at your forearms – they’ll be pumped.

Top Tip: Once you’ve mastered this bodyweight staple, make it harder and significantly more grip effective by using either pull-up grips or simply throw a couple of towels over the bar.

2. Dead Hang

Dead hangs are a great way to build grip strength. As the name suggests, all you have to do is hang from an overhead bar with your arms outstretched and your body in the hollow position. New to the hand? Begin by gripping the bar 20 to 30 seconds at a time.

3. Press-Ups (fingers only)

Granted, this one is a bit advanced, but once mastered is a sure-fire way to improve strength in your fingers, wrists and forearms. Get into a press-up position with your hands placed shoulder-width apart. Raise onto your fingertips. Lower your body until your chest is an inch from the ground then explosively drive back up.

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How to Reverse Grip Press-Up

4. Reverse Press-Up

By reversing your grip, which may feel a little odd at first, places more emphasis on your wrists and forearms. Don’t worry, though. Your chest will still get a hammering. It’s a win-win.

Pinch Grip

Pinch grip strength is the ability to hold something between the thumb and finger(s). The thumb applies an inward force which is balanced by one or more fingers applying a force back towards the thumb. Amazing feats of pinch strength include ripping a phone book or a new deck of cards in half. Below are two popular pinch grip exercises:

Plate Pinch

Get two Olympic or standard plates (start with 10 lbs plates) and put them together. Starting from the floor, grasp the plates with your thumb on the inside and your fingers on the outside. Pick them up off the ground as you stand up. Hold them with you elbow slightly bent. Hold this position as long as you can. Then put them back down, and repeat. Gradually increasing the number of plates and their weight. Always be careful not to drop the plates on your toes.

Hub Pinch Lift

Hub Pinch Lift

Put an Olympic plate on its back with the center hub pointing up. Squeeze the hub using your thumb and fingers and lift it from the floor. Hold it for a few seconds, put it back down and repeat. Start with a 10lb or 25lb plate and lift to failure. Lifting a 45lb Olympic plate is considered a great feat. Watch this guy do it:

Support Grip

Support grip is the ability to hold on to an object or hang from an object for an extended period of time. Carrying groceries, laundry, or shopping bags and doing pull-ups all require support grip. Do these three exercises to increase your support grip.

Dead Hang

Equipment Needed: sturdy overhead structure/pull-up bar

How to Do It: Grab a pull-up bar (this has the best reviews) using a double overhand grip (palms facing the bar). Hang from the bar with your arms completely straight for as long as you can.

Beginners should aim for 10, 20, 30, and then 60 seconds. More-advanced grip trainees can bend their arms at 90 degrees and hang for one to two minutes.

Farmer’s Carry

Equipment Needed: two dumbbells (men: 30-50 pounds in each hand; women: 20-30 pounds in each hand)

How to Do It: Stand holding a dumbbell in each hand at your sides with palms facing each other. Keeping your shoulders back and head looking straight ahead, walk forward for 30-40 yards. Turn around and walk back to your starting point. That’s one trip. Do three total trips.

Bucket Carry

Equipment Needed: one 5-gallon plastic bucket (available at Home Depot, Lowe’s, and other hardware stores)

How to Do It: Fill the bucket with 50-70 pounds for men/30-50 pounds for women of kettlebells, sandbags, sand itself, rocks, or dumbbells. Squat down and grab the bucket with both hands, lifting it off the floor and toward your chest.

Readjust the bucket so that it’s tight and high against your chest with your left hand under the bucket and right hand grabbing the left wrist. This is for people who are stronger with their right hands. Left-hand-dominant people will do the opposite. Beginners should walk 100 meters for three trips, taking breaks as needed. Eventually, try to walk a total of 400 meters for one or two trips without any breaks.

Barbell Reverse Curls

No forearm/grip development training program is co

No forearm/grip development training program is complete without Reverse Barbell Curls. Keep your elbows firmly against your sides throughout the exercise. Using smooth movement and a palms-down grip, and lift the weight up in a circular motion until its at shoulder height.

Here’s an effective program to follow to maximize the development of a strong grip.

RELATED: 6 Exercises That Will Build Your Forearm and Grip Strength Fast

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Crush Grip

This grip is probably used the most in everyday life. Examples include shaking hands, swinging a club or bat, and gripping a barbell. It occurs any time fingers squeeze into your palm.

Programming advice

  • Hang small towels from a weight room rack or chin up bar to be held while performing sets of chin ups.
  • Use old school grippers. Squeeze the handles together as many times as you can for 30 seconds. Start with 3 sets 2–3 times a week and keep track of your repetitions. Work to increase your repetitions over time.

How Do I Test for Grip Strength?

You’ll need a handgrip dynamometer, which will measure the maximum isometric strength of the hand and forearm muscles. To get an accurate reading, you should perform three squeezes on both hands.

Some gyms may have these instruments – most physiotherapists and general practitioners would have – but you can purchase them relatively cheaply too.

To get a thorough (and truer) reflection of grip strength you can also use – in addition, not instead of a handgrip dynamometer – a pinch strength test, which measures the maximum isometric strength of the hand and forearm muscles when performing a pinching action. Based on numerous tests across a different age ranges, fitness levels and athletic ability, topendsports.com have produced a guide to expected scores for adults in both kg and lbs.

These are the average scores of each hand. Remember, this is not a measure of general strength:

Excellent: >141lbs (>64kg)

Very good: 123-141lbs (56-64kg)

Above average: 114-122lbs (52-55kg)

Average: 105-113lbs (48-51kg)

Below average: 96-104lbs (44-47kg)

Poor: 88-95lbs (40-43kg)

Very poor: <88lbs (<40kg)

Method [ edit

Pinch dynamometers, or pinch meters are used to assess strength

With the client seated, elbow flexed to 90 degrees with arm adducted at side, and forearm neutral, proceed as follows:

  1. Lateral pinch (key pinch): Place the pinchmeter between the radial side of index finger and thumb, and instruct the client to pinch as hard as possible.
  2. Three-point pinch (three jaw chuck pinch): Place the pinchmeter between the pulp of the thumb and pulp of the index and middle fingers. Instruct the client to pinch as hard as possible.
  3. Two-point pinch (tip to tip pinch): Place the pinchmeter between the tip of the thumb and tip of the index finger, and instruct the client to pinch as hard as possible.

Repeat each test 3 times and calculate an average. Calibrate equipment at least annually[1]. The 4 minute video below is informative

[2]

Forearm Training for Grip Strength

Targeting your forearm muscles will help increase all three types of grip strength. While compound moves such as the deadlift and overhead press incorporate the forearms, it’s essential to single out the forearm flexors (muscles that close the hand) and extensors (muscles that open the hand) to build a better overall grip. Try these two moves to improve general grip and get stronger forearms.

Dumbbell Wrist Curl

Equipment Needed: 10- to 20-pound dumbbell

How to Do It: Hold one dumbbell in your right hand, and sit on a bench, box, or chair. Rest your right forearm on your right thigh, and let your right wrist bend back over your right knee so that the weight hangs down.

This should look like the dumbbell is rolling out of your right hand, but don’t let the weight drop—just let it roll onto the fingertips. Now, flex the right wrist and close your hand over the dumbbell, curling it back toward your thigh using only the wrist.

That’s one rep. Do ten reps on each side for a total of three sets.

Reverse Barbell Curl

Equipment Needed: E-Z bar or straight barbell

How to Do It: Grab the bar with a double overhand grip. Your wrists, shoulders, and arms should be comfortable. Keeping your elbows tight against your body, curl the bar to chest height, focusing on using the forearms to raise the weight. That’s one rep. Do three sets of ten reps.

Your grip strength will come in handy as you work to build up muscular strength with regular weight training. Add a few grip strengthening exercises to your week to help build accessory muscles required for lifting weights and sculpting your muscles.

Now that you have a ton of grip strength, it’s time to move to strength training workouts. View them in the Aaptiv app.

Session 2 (Thursday)

  • Barbell Wrist Curls – 1×15 (palms-facing up)
  • Dumbbell Wrist Rotations – 1×2 minutes (attach weight to one end of a dumbbell. Grab the other end and rotate the dumbbell in circles to train the entire forearm)
  • Tennis Ball Squeezes – 1×25 each hand

During the initial two workouts, use weights that are not too taxing for the muscles. After that, increase the weights every session until maximal effort is needed to complete the specified reps. Continue adding weight to each exercise at every session.

RELATED: 5 Time-Saving Grip Strength Exercises

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