As you go about your fitness program, one thing that you will want to make sure you’re taking into account is the importance of grip strength.
There has been research indicating a correlation between grip strength and longevity. An international team of scientists led by Dr Darryl Leong, an assistant professor of cardiology at McMaster University in Ontario, analysed the medical records of nearly 140,000 people aged between 40 and 70 over a four-year period. Over 3,000 people within the study died during this time.
Grip strength was measured using a hand-held device called a dynamometer, which is a spring-loaded device that measured how hard someone can grip the tool. The scientists discovered that grip strength was a better indicator for predicting death than people’s level of physical activity, which is known to be a signal for health and mortality. Overall, grip strength even outdid systolic blood pressure as a predictor of death risk. The findings were published in the prestigious journal The Lanect.
As far as your fitness training goes, grip strength can really make or break your rate of progress. Those who are stronger in this regard tend to be able to lift more weight, which means faster progress overall.
Grip strength is something that will typically develop over time if you simply go about your training as usual, however there are a few things that you can do to tilt the scales in your favour.
Having good grip strength will help to improve your power and performance, reduce the risk of injury, and help you utilize a wider variety of different exercises in your program.
Let’s look at a few of the main points to focus on to enhance your grip strength.
Use Functional Exercises First
The first thing that you should be doing is to make sure you utilise functional exercises as part of your workout program. The more exercises you do that can mimic the movements that you’d perform in everyday life, the better the transfer-over effect will be and you will really be able to put your strength to work.
Functional training tends to have you focusing on full body movement patterns and those are the ones that are going to have you lifting more weight, exercises like the deadlift and pull-ups will really put your grip strength to the test.
Use Kettlebells On a Regular Basis
Secondly, another thing that you can do to help improve your grip strength as you go about your fitness training is to add some Kettlebell work regularly.
Kettlebells are the cannon ball like objects that sit in the corner of most gyms in Perth. The reason that they aren’t commonly used is that nobody knows how to use them properly which is why I highly recommend getting a few lessons from an experienced personal trainer.
The benefits of learning a few of the basic movements are massive and as a matter of fact, I have built an entire business around the Kettlebell and have helped hundreds of people become strong, get injury free and improve body composition.
The ballistic nature of movements such as the Kettlebell swing requires an enormous amount of grip strength and endurance. Try adding some Kettlebell swings into your program to seriously boost your grip.
The Kettlebell Military Press helps build enormous grip strength as you crush the kettlebell handle on every repetition. Over time will you build an immensely strong grip, shoulders, mid back and chest.
Kettlebell Farmers Walk
The last thing that you should be doing is adding Kettlebell Farmers Carries into the mix whenever possible. While barbell training is definitely a good option, the advantage to the Kettlebell is the fact that each hand is going to be responsible for its own weight.
Therefore, one side won’t overcompensate for the other, creating a strength imbalance and possible asymmetry.
The Kettlebell farmers walk is a superior exercise as you need to actively squeeze the Kettlebell in each hand to avoid them rolling out of your palms and through your fingertips.
I regularly employ the farmer’s carries with my clients and the fat loss benefits of carries are enormous. They are largely under rated as a fat loos exercise which is a shame because they are so effective for this purpose. Try a few laps of farmers carry at the end of your next session and you will see exactly what I am talking about.
The weights you carry will need to eventually need to be quite heavy to benefit optimally. Remember but for now, start out with slightly lighter weights than you think you are capable of carrying and be careful not to drop them on your feet when you place them down. Remember, fast feet are happy feet.
By incorporating Kettlebell farmers carries more regularly throughout your training, you can increase your grip strength for all exercises you choose to perform.
So there you have it, some pointers on why grip strength is important for your fitness program and some ways to improve your grip strength. As your grip strength does improve, you’ll come to see just how important it really is as you blast through all your personal best efforts.