We all know that it is imperative to have a strong grip when lifting weights or in daily life to have the ability to grip objects safely. But what is the best way to produce gains in strength for this area?
The forearm muscle group is the one responsible for grip strength. There are several functions of the forearm muscles including gripping objects, curling the fist upward and lifting the hand backward in a reverse motion. Therefore, we have to train each of these areas for complete forearm development.
To build gripping and crushing strength, pinch grip a barbell plate on the outside rim and hold it off the floor for as long as you can. Increase the weight as strength gains permit. To do this safely, hold the plate over a floor that is protected by gym padding and leave an open area in case you happen to drop the weight.
Another great tool is a gripper. Use a quality, professional one like Iron Grips or one of the other brands available in a weight lifting store and avoid the ones being sold in department stores as they don’t give sufficient resistance and wear out quickly. Since forearm muscles are used to high reps squeeze the gripper for 20-30 reps per set. Do one set using an overhand grip, one using an underhand grip and one with an extended, or straight grip.
A tennis ball is a great tool to use to build crushing strength. Squeeze the ball as hard as you can for 15 seconds then release. Do a total of 15 reps per hand.
To increase your curling strength, use a barbell or dumbbell to do wrist curls, curling the weight up as far as you can. Repeat for 15 reps. Use a reverse wrist curl to build up the outside portion of your forearm. Reverse barbell curls are a nice alternative to reverse wrist curls and train the attachment between the forearm and biceps muscles.
A great exercise to build up overall forearm strength is wrist roller wind-ups. Use a handle with a rope attached. Clip a weight plate to the end of the rope and wind up the rope until it is fully wound. Let the plate back to the floor and repeat. Do three complete wind-ups.
A sample workout for complete forearm and grip development is:
- Plate pinch grips- 3 pinch grips per hand
- Gripper squeezes-1x 25 each underhand, overhand, straight grip
- Tennis Ball Squeezes- 1x 15-15 seconds each hand (alternate hands)
- Reverse Wrist Curls- 1x 15 reps
- Wind-Ups- 3x complete cycles
David Groscup has over 35 years of training experience in HIT, or High Intensity Weight Training. He is certified as a High Intensity Trainer by the IART/Med-Ex Group and has trained many people successfully in this protocol.
He has authored several books on the subject of high intensity training, which are available at: http://www.amazon.com/author/davidgroscup
You can read his blog on High Intensity Training at: http://drhitshighintensitybodybuilding.blogspot.com/