Grip Training Tutorial, Part Four

Posted: February 16, 2012 in Articles
This time, we’ll talk about training ourselves to hold onto something that won’t move and doesn’t deform when we squeeze it.

Static Grip Strength:

In the days of yore, several years ago, we upright walking apes were often asked to do manual labor of various sorts. In some cases, we may be fortunate enough to still do such things. Now, one of the all-but-forgotten things in today’s world was the the situation where we’d hoist up a heavy object and move it somewhere else. On foot. Sometimes we could sling the object over our shoulders, but sometimes, it would simply hang there in our hands as we went. The heavy wheel barrow…the pail of water…you get the idea.

For us, it tends to be that laptop case or book bag. Perhaps, if we’re lucky, it’s something we just purchased at the mall, and we’ve become lost in the parking lot. In any case, your static grip is very much the desirable quality to have when hoisting and carrying heavy things with traditional handles.

Of course, any time we pick up heavy things and carry them or support them above the ground, that tends to recruit a variety of skeletal muscles throughout the body. That said, we’ll just consider the hands for the moment.

Because static grip is such a straightforward concept, simple and easily understood exercises can be used to train it. The simplest of all static grip training exercises is the dead hang. How do you do it? Jump up and grab something you can get a grip on (like a pull up bar or any other overhead emplacement that will allow for an easy and solid grip), and and hang on as long as you can. If you have access to the monkey bars, like kids use, those are even better, as you can add a dynamic element to the training.

Almost anything in the weight room can be used to help this grip, and it will be trained simply by virtue of doing many of the classic strength and power exercises, like deadlift, clean and jerk, barbell rows, heavy shrugs, and so on. If you do heavy deadlifts, this in itself will train your static grip in a powerful way.

Another fine method for training grip strength is the Farmer’s Walk. The most basic way of doing this is to find the heaviest dumbbells in your gym and to walk as far as you can without putting them down. Expect this to be painful and difficult. Also, it’s an amazing workout for pretty much everything south of your chin. Dufflebags filled with sand or rocks can perform just as well or better than dumbbells. Anything with a handle will do. Don’t forget that you can carry one hand at a time. That’ll actually create a really powerful workout for your core muscles, as you have to equalize an imbalanced load with each step.

Rope climbing is another possible method of stimulating your static grip strength, if you wish to do that instead.

Next time, we’ll talk about other ways to stimulate finger and hand strength, as well as toughen our hands.


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