Avoid Wrist Wraps with these Simple Grip Training Tips
October 19, 2016
Many think that grip training is only for powerlifters and strength athletes. In reality, it doesn’t matter if you train for strength, are a bodybuilder, or just work out for better health and overall fitness. Having stronger hands, fingers, and forearms can not only improve your lifts, but help you remain injury-free. Here are a few simple grip strength training tips you can add into any program.
Try Avoid Wrist Wraps
One of the biggest culprits of trainees not having a strong grip is the overuse of wrist wraps. By strapping yourself to the bar, you limit the grip strength you’ll have to exert. There’s nothing wrong with using wraps for your heaviest top-end sets, but many people use them for nearly their entire workout. Leave them off for all but your most difficult sets, and you’ll be getting some extra grip training along the way.
“Hang” to Get a Stronger Grip Quickly
If you’re looking for a quick way to improve your grip, use static holds. At the end of every workout, hang from a pullup bar for as long as you can, trying to extend your time with each outing. You can maximize your time by grabbing the bar no harder than you have to in the beginning. Doing this will allow you to be efficient with the grip strength you have and be able to hang on for longer. Hanging like this can also give you an added side-benefit of spinal decompression.
Always Use a Gripper
The hands, fingers, and forearms can actually be over trained quite easily, so you’ll want to be smart about employing too much grip training into your workouts too fast. Grippers are a fantastic way to improve hand strength, so get in the habit of carrying one with you. Ensure you don’t accidentally succumb to overtraining by doing a set “here and there” instead of making it a new part of your workout. Do 3-5 sets of 10-15 reps per hand spread throughout the day.
Extend – Don’t Just Contract – Your Hands
A mistake many make in their grip training is only including “contracting” exercises that involve going from an open hand to a clinched fist. To maintain balance, include “extension” movements as well. One example would be to touch your fingertips together with straight fingers. Wrap a rubber band around the outside of them, then extend your fingers, spreading your hand out as wide as possible. Superset this with your gripper sets.
Don’t Forget the Wrist
A good grip is like anything else in that it’s only as strong as its weakest link. For many, their weak link is the wrist. You can improve wrist strength and durability by adding levering exercises to your grip training. To incorporate levering, you’ll need a bat or rod that’s weighted at one end.
Grab the bat or rod on one (un-weighted) end with your left hand. Place your elbow at your side and extend your forearm out in front of you, parallel to the ground. Have your wrist facing up with the implement pointing to your left. Keeping your elbow planted and forearm horizontal, rotate your hand until your palm is now facing down and the implement is pointing to your right. Return to the starting position. This is one rep. Repeat for 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps per side.
It honestly doesn’t take much to improve one’s grip. Because you’re probably doing little to no direct hands or forearms work now, simply adding these grip training tips will garner you improvements fairly quickly. However, do remember the overtraining warning above. Take your time, be smart, and you’ll have a stronger and more durable set of lower arms in no time.