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Go through any bodybuilding magazine or website, and you’ll almost always find articles on how to build bigger biceps or how to increase your bench press. However, one thing you don’t see that often, is information on how to improve grip strength. While grip training isn’t overly complicated, there can be some confusion about it. This article will attempt to simplify it for you.
Some make the mistake of thinking that a stronger grip will automatically lead to bigger, more muscular forearms, and vice versa. While this can be true at times, large forearms don’t always mean a strong grip, as the forearms can be built up with wrist curl variations, just like the biceps are built with biceps curls. However, this won’t necessarily lead to a better grip. In fact, many grip strength record holders have fairly small forearms in comparison to bodybuilders. This is because the forearms only play a small role in grip strength. A better grip is also built in the hands, wrists, fingers, tendons, and more.
One thing many who aren’t grip training aficionados don’t realize is that there are many different forms of grip strength. The “crushing” grip strength it takes to close a gripper comes from the thumb and fingers as much as it does the forearm. Switch from a gripper to trying to pinch two olympic barbell plates together, and now a great deal of emphasis is placed upon the center part of the hand. Consider swinging a hammer around all day like a carpenter, and you need as much grip endurance as you do grip strength, not to mention strong wrists.
While bodybuilders have no need of being grip strength masters, having a better grip can make them stronger overall, as well as contribute to muscular development. As such, it would behoove any aspiring bodybuilder to include some elementary grip work into their overall program. Here are a few ideas:
While the above is only a very brief primer on how to improve grip strength, it’s more than enough to get you started. If bodybuilding is your primary goal, these tips will likely be more than you’ll ever need. Keep progress on these as consistent as it is in other strength / muscle building areas, and you should be set.