The Basics of Grip
What's grip all about?
'Grip strength' is our interest, and grip strength for contest, exhibition and sports means fingers, hand, wrist and forearm strength/fitness. Prior to specific grip contests appearing in 1991, feats of finger, hand and wrist strength were exhibited in shows and on the vaudeville stage. Feats such as nail breaking, coin bending and card and book tearing were the ultimate demonstration of this strength. These household objects presented an element of reality and its evident difficulty to the public, hence their enduring popularity. 1991, however, saw the birth of the first grip contest 'the British Grip Championships', and from this start the popularity has grown worldwide. There are now website forums where like minded individuals talk 'grip', and most sportsmen who need stronger hands now utilise many of the exercises and events that I have invented and re-found over the years.
This ‘grip thing’ will develop stronger hands and wrist, but will not make you a strong man. Try to be a good person, and true, then people will see that you are indeed a strong man. Life is a short journey so enjoy it, and enjoy it with others.
The basics are;
Finger flexion and extention.
Thumb abduction, adduction, etc.
Wrist flexion, extension, Ulna and Radial deviation.
Pronation and Supination.
Here is a link to a very useful site http://www.eatonhand.com/index.htm
Basic training routine
Firstly you should have reasons why you are training on certain exercises, and a goal that you want to achieve short term at the end of your 12-16 week programme.
Always train all your body, it's not benificial to your body to have a strong grip, but a weak unhealthy body. Two to three days a week training on the rest of your body is sufficiant, and use the basics, i.e. some kind of squat, deadlift, press, bench press, dips, chins, and curl.
Recently I was asked about a program for beginners.
Here is that ‘First Workout For Beginners, Gain a strength base with no injuries’ post. I seem to be seeing a lot of beginners jumping into all sorts of feats of strength, including bending before they have got any real base strength in the hands and wrists. This is what I would advise to the pure beginner to start with, for a good few months before he/she decides on the path they want to choose. I think this will stop a lot of injuries that are happening due to imbalances between certain areas.
1. Two Hands Pinch Lift for holds, also use work gloves to protect your skin.
2. Finger curls with an Olympic Bar, overhand grip. Hold it on the last set when you can't do anymore finger curls.
3. Two Hand Wrist Curl. Normal, with a comfortable range of motion. Do not let the bar go into your fingertips like some bodybuilders do, also do them with your thumb under the bar as you are training your wrists and don't want to fight against the thumb digit on top of the bar.
4. Two Hands Reverse Wrist Curl.
Do the Pinch holds for 10-15 seconds, and the other exercises for 15-20 reps.
These were some questions I got asked.
1. How often?
I would do them 3 times a week if you can, but twice a week if struggling with this.
2. How many sets of each?
I would say 3 sets per exercise, which you should easily do quickly. If this is a struggle then go down to 2 sets.
3. What about crushing?
The 'crushing' exercise is Finger curls with an Olympic Bar, overhand grip. This is an easy exercise to learn for the beginner and doesn't have the techniques of setting, etc. Grippers can be brought in later when they want to excel at this implement.
4. Why the gloves with pinching?
You can easily tear the skin in between the index finger and thumb, which would put you out of action, especially since you will be pinching 3 times a week. This initial program for the beginners is all about strengthening, and the gloves will make it a tougher exercise, but safer for the skin.
5. Should you do all these exercises on one day?
Yes. In the order I stated.
Hopefully this will help some beginners out there, it’s also a good routine even for advanced athletes.
Copyright David Horne 2006