A killer, rock-solid grip is the foundation of strength training. If 2018 is the year you take weight training to a serious level, improving your hand grip is an obvious place to start. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some strength-building exercise staples. Practice these often and you’ll have a crushing grip in no time.
1. Band Hand Stretches
While not a traditional grip exercise, hand stretches will help to increase your hand strength and protect yourself against injuries. Luckily, this is the type of exercise you can do wherever, whenever. Should you be at work or waiting for the bus home, you can take a break and practice a few reps.
How to do it: Grab a thick rubber band. Create a claw shape with your hand and wrap the band around the circumference of your fingers and thumb. Extend your fingers and thumb out so you’re stretching the band as you move. You should do this for several reps at a time.
2. Two-Arm Hang
A serious way to improve the strength of your grip is to just hang out… literally. The two-arm hang is one of the most straightforward exercises you will ever encounter and yet, despite this fact, it’s extremely effective. If you’re already well trained in pull-ups, you should have no problem at all with this one.
How to do it: You’ll need to use a pull-up bar for this particular exercise. With your hands shoulder-width apart, hang with completely straight arms, shoulders engaged.
At first, this activity is likely to feel comfortable and, dare we say it, easy, but give it time. Try hanging for 30 seconds to a minute at a time. Repeat for a few rounds. Before you know it, you’ll feel the burn and pressure in your grip.
3. Single-Arm Hang
When you’ve mastered the above exercise, it’s time to challenge yourself. The single-arm hang is exactly what it sounds like. Much like the two-arm hang, this one will help take your grip game up a notch. However, here you have the added pressure of bearing your entire body weight in the palm of just one hand.
How to do it: Hold the pull-up bar with just one hand and hang in a stable position. You will need to increase the firmness of your grip to prevent swaying and discomfort. This exercise is far more taxing than the two-arm hang. For that reason, you should only hold this position for 10 seconds at a time, at least to begin. In all honesty, even that might not be doable, but that’s OK!
4. Hex Holds
Should your open grip need a little work, this particular exercise could be the answer. For this one, you’ll need a hex dumbbell. The hex hold exercise will test your strength and help you build on what you already have.
How to do it: Hold just the head of a hefty hex dumbbell and lift for 30 seconds. (You may wish to start out with a shorter time period, depending on your strength level!)
Ensure your fingers and thumb stretch to various sides of the head for the best purchase here. Repeat this exercise two to three times per session. This activity will push you toward your threshold while boosting your strength.
5. Wrist Curls
Perhaps one of the most common grip exercises is the wrist curl. This activity is popular for a reason – it works. It targets your wrist flexors — key muscles which can be found on the underside of your forearm. Working on this specific area will allow you to boost your hand strength and improve the quality of your grip.
How to do it: Get down on your knees and rest comfortably against a low bench. Place your elbows and forearms on the bench as you hold a barbell in an underarm grip.
Flex your wrists backward and allow them to take the weight of the barbell as they move. Next, curl your wrists back toward you. Each set should include 10 reps. Try to complete a few sets per session for the best (oh, and strongest) results.
6. Use a Grip Trainer
Using a grip trainer daily could bring results within a couple weeks. The TWL Hand Grip Power Gainer comes in five strength levels and is small enough to carry to the gym or the office. Squeeze in your reps throughout the day for a better grip, fast.