Improve Hand Strength for Strength Training and Sports
The hands and lower arms are often a forgotten aspect of a well-rounded strength training program, and they also are something that can hold us back from attaining what we want to accomplish if we fail to train them properly.
Thick about it this way…
Don’t think hand strength is important in sports?
- Try tackling a player on the football field with weak hands.
- Try holding the basketball in the paint with weak hands or fingers.
- Try maintaining control over your opponent on the wrestling mat without a good grip.
All of these things involve a great deal of general body strength in order to be successful, but if you grip is weak, then you might as well forget about all of them.
The same can be said for pulling movements like the Pull-up and the Deadlift. While both of these movements are mostly limited by the strength of the back and arm muscles, a weak grip will also be a hindrance.
Even pushing movements like Overhead Lifting and the Bench Press can be very affected heavily if you have weak hands.
With all of this in mind, it is important to include Grip Training in your routine regularly.
When speaking of Grip Training, there are several common questions that often come up…
- How much training should I do?
- When does it become too much?
- Should I buy a bunch of equipment in order to train my grip?
These are questions I am asked all the time, but the answers truly come down to what exactly your training goals are. You can’t write one program and have it work for everyone.
Instead, when I work with my clients and coach the the members of my site, The Grip Authority, I try to offer examples of movements and exercises that are high impact, meaning that you get a lot of benefit out of them regardless of your individual training goals.
One High Impact Grip Training Movement is Plate Pinch Around the World’s.
This movement is often overlooked but it is actually a fantastic movement for ANYONE to include in their training.
1. Open Hand Movement – The best Grip Training movements for complete hand strength involve an open handed position. This is beneficial because since you can’t close your hand around the implement, you have to fire your first two fingers (the strongest ones), the last two fingers (the weakest ones) and the thumb very hard in order to complete the lift.
2. Full Body Engagement – Just as Muscle-ups, Hand Stands, and even Deadlifts require coordinated strength generation from very large portions of the body, so do Around the Worlds. At first glance, this lift may look like something that hits the hands only, but it actually will leave your wrists and forearms, biceps, shoulders, lats, back and glutes tired, if you do it the right way.
3. Endurance Based – Many Grip Training drills involve just picking something off the ground, but Around the World’s are different. With this drill, you have to be ready to put forth effort for anywhere from 5 to 30 seconds, depending on the intensity (% of 1 Rep Maximum) you are training.
4. Bonus! – You probably already have ALL THE EQUIPMENT YOU NEED to do this lift, which means you can save your money and put toward Detailed Grip Training Instruction.
I could go on about why you should do this movement, but instead, let’s look at How to do Around the World’s.
The movement is so named because you will be picking up two plates (from 25 to 45-lbs) positioned together smooth-sides-out in a Pinch Grip (thumb opposing the fingers) and working all the way around the plates.
Below is a video clip of myself and some people who traveled to my location to find out more about Grip Training for a day.
One of the main drills I put them through was Around the World’s, because it requires your whole body to work together as a unit. Observe:
Keys to Watch For:
Full Body Engagement: Notice as you watch the video how the legs and glutes are brought into play in order to transition grips placed on the plates. It is not an easy thing to control 90-lbs in your hands while keeping your body limp! You have to keep your core braced and fire the hips repeatedly in order to propel the plates upwards and shift them around…
Hand Speed: Take note that the movement involves a series of rapid firings of the body and the hands. Transitioning quickly around the circumference of the plates helps you keep moving steadily, while fumbling around will cause you to drop the plates and have to start over.
Concentration: Around the World’s also require hand-eye coordination. You’ve got to make sure you move far enough on the plates to make progress around them, but not too much, because you might miss and drop the plates. Take note that I continually cue the guys to involve the lower body. Newer trainees will become engrossed in executing strength with their hands and forget about keeping the rest of their body active. They will either relax their lower body and crumble or stiffen too much and not get the spring needed.
Loading: One plate combination may be too light for some trainees, while the next one up is too heavy. One easy way to load them further is with chains, as you can see done in the video. Chains are usually incorporated in lifts for the benefit of Accommodating Resistance, but in this case they are used as a way to increase the N-Planar Force demands of the lift, randomizing the movement of the implement.
Execution: Most trainees will be more comfortable executing this lift in just one direction, either clockwise or counter-clockwise. Don’t fall prey to this trap – make sure to work both directions.
As you can see, there is much more to this lift than you may have first thought. This is exactly why I consider it one of my High Impact Grip Training Movements.
Training of this nature no doubt will increase your performance in the Strength Game or with Sports.
If you are serious about strength and performance, then check out The Grip Authority. All aspects of lower arm strength are covered, in order to take your grip strength from being a liability you worry about to being an asset you are glad to have.
All the best in your training.
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