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The Young Athlete's Guide to Maximizing Athletic Performance Through Proper Nutrition and Exercise
Let's face it, when it comes to training not many of us think of their grip strength. We tend to think about larger muscle groups, sports specific motions, or what is the most aesthetically pleasing. But, in reality grip strength is a major part of everyday life, sports, and exercises in general. Grip strength can heavily influence the amount of weight one can lift or how many push ups you can do.
When it comes to sports, grip strength just might be the deciding factor whether you will get that "W", or not, whether you play basketball, football, hockey, baseball, or volleyball. That last shot might be all up to you, and little twigs for forearms just might not cut it. Instead, having forearms like Popeye will definitely give you the edge that you will need.
Different Kinds of Grip Strength? What?
You bet there is more to grip strength than just grabbing stuff, grip strength can be broken up into two categories: crushing strength and pinching strength. Crushing strength is used more often, think of it like crushing a can in your hand, that's crushing strength. Pinching strength would be like pinching the edge of a weight plate. Pinching strength has little real world application and is awkward to train, but all around forearm and grip strength depends on it. There is also an in-between kind of grip, which we will call holding strength. It is a hybrid of the pinching and crushing grips. This grip would be important in martial arts, hockey, lacrosse, and other sports like them.
How to Make Popeye Proud
Now, how in the world are you supposed to increase your grip strength? Well, with some weird exercises you've probably never seen before, of course! First off, if you have access to a pull up bar and have a towel or two, you can wrap it around the bar, and by grabbing the towel instead of the bar you will fire up the forearms instead of other muscle groups as much as they do during a normal pullup.
In fact, this towel tip can be used in other ways other than with the pullup bar, If you have dumbbells or weight plates you can put the towel around the dumbbell or through the hole in the weight plate and start doing curls or rows with them. This has a greater focus on the forearms and will really make you believe that the forearms are the way to work.
Some more simple ways of working the hands and forearms is to just squeeze a ball over and over again. Although this may seem easy, if you really squeeze it like you mean it and keep going for 40 or 50 reps it will kick your butt, and you'll understand what I mean. Not only that but you could get a gripper, which is just a tool that you grip over and over again. They're very handy. If you don't have any equipment there is certainly a way for you to work your forearms and hands, so no excuses! Simply do any variation of pushup, but on your fingertips instead of your hands. Get creative!
Developing grip strength will help you leaps and bounds, you have no idea until you actually start doing it and feeling its benefits. You'll find that you'll be able to handle heavy objects easier and have more control over heavier weights or more power during sport specific motions. The exercises I talk about above are the ones I've found to be most effective for me, but by no means are they the only ones. Now stop reading about it and get to it!
Robson, David. "Get to Grips with Hand Strength: Develop your Grip." Bodybuilding.com. N.p.,n.d. Web. 9 Aug. 2011.