Grip strength is crucial both for men and women. Whether you are a lifter, climber, fighter or new to exercise, having a good grip will help you to perform better in your discipline and increase your range of activities.
Here are my top 5 exercises to improve your strenght* :
Walk the plate
The idea is very simple. In both hands, choose two weighted plates or kettlebells that you can manage between your thumb and fingers. The thicker the plate, the harder. Stand and allow the plates to hang down to your sides with your thumb positioned closest to your thighs. Keep you core tight and walk for 30s or 45s. Repeat 2 to 4 times. Once you’ve built up your grip strength, try performing the exercise with heavier weights. You can also perform this exercise with kettebells.
No gym? No problem.
If you don’t have access to a gym, load up one or two bags with your weekly groceries and walk around the neighborhood for up to 45s. Rest, switch arms if necessary and repeat again.
Swing the plate
Plate swinging is a tough grip workout which will also challenge your hips and your endurance. It follows the same principle than kettlebell swings.
Using both hands, place a thick plate between your feet, hip-width apart. Again, choose a weight that you can manage so you don’t hurt yourself. Squat down to grab the plate then stand up keeping your shoulders back. Then, in an explosive motion, swing the plate up to chest height with arms using the power of your hips. Keep your chest up and bend your hips back until the kettlebell is between and behind your legs. Aim for 3 sets of 10 to 15 repetitions.
Hang on the bar
Grab an overhead bar. Get your feet off the floor, arms extended. Keep your core tight and hold on the bar palms facing away from you for 30s to 45s. Repeat 3 times and rest between each set. Once you get more comfortable with the dead hang, try holding the bar in different positions—chin up style (palms facing you), mixed grip ( one palm in, one palm away) neutral (palms facing each other), hook (fingers gripping the bar, palm and thumbs off the bar) and so on.
Squeeze a tennis ball
If you work in an office, this is a great way to give yourself a break from your computer while stimulating your hand muscles. This exercise can also be done at home or at the gym.
Holding a tennis or rubber ball in one hand, squeeze as hard as you can for 1 s -30 s. Aim for 2 sets on each hand with a brief rest in between. You can do this exercise on both hands simultaneously, or one hand after the other.
Pull the rope
This is one of my favourite grip strengthening exercise. It is fun and makes you feel like a real warrior!
Wrap a heavy rope around a pole, release the end of the rope and pull the rope towards you until you pick up the end and resume pulling as fast as you can for 30 to 45s. Repeat 2 to 3 times. You can pull the rope in various body positions : sitting, standing, lying on the floor or on your knees.
Pulling the rope while standing develops the whole body, while a seated or lying position focuses more on the upper body.
You have a wide range of incredible useful tools at your hands, make the most of them! Go for it and get a grip !
*Always seek medical advice before starting a new programme. Read more here.