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Sunday, April 03, 2011

The Common Thread - Grip Strength

Squat, Bench, Deadlift, Muscle-ups, Snatch, Clean, Jerk, Curls, Ropes, Pull-ups, Push-downs, Climbing.

What is the common thread between all of these awesome ways to train, get stronger and build muscle?

The Common Thread is your Grip

If you are lacking in the Grip Strength department your performance in any of these lifts will suffer.

While it may be clear to see why Grip Strength is important in lifts such as Deadlifts and Pull-ups where your hands have to Grip something and be able to hold on well enough execute the movement, it may not be as obvious for other lifts, such as Squats. After all, your upper back is taking the brunt of the load when you Back Squat, right?

Let’s look closer.

What is Grip Strength?

Grip Strength is often referred to as just Hand Strength, but really it is much more than that. Yes, the hands are involved, but they are only a part of the equation. Really to have a truly strong grip, you must look as Grip as everything from the elbow down.

Here’s why.

Many of the muscles in the hands actually originate above the elbow
at the medial epicondyle (some flexors, pronator) and the lateral epicondyle (some extensors, supinator). And since these muscles cross the elbow joint, they also influence the joint. Remember that point.

Because so many hand muscles start so far up the arm, it really expands the acreage that we have to consider when we set out to train for Grip Strength effectively.

Not only do we have to include training for the hands, but we also have to include work for the wrist, forearm and elbow.

Why Grip is Important for Your Training

Most trainees would agree that strong hands would be an asset for strength training and muscle building. After all, if your hands are strong, that means you’ll be able to pull more weight in many exercises, you’ll be able to do more repetitions, and you’ll be able to train longer if need be, right? Yes.

Now, let’s connect a few points
. When your hands are strong you will see better results in the weight room because it will transfer to better performance when performing pulls like deadlifts, rows, and pull-ups.

But what about all the other lifts that do not involve pulling? Is Grip Strength important in those lifts as well?

Yes it is.

A strong Grip, or in other words, a strong and balanced hand/lower arm unit will also provide better stability during lifts where the hands are pressing against the bar, dumbbell or other implement. For instance, when performing the Bench Press, Jerk, Kettlebell Press, etc, you will be better able to execute these lifts when your grip is strong because you will have better control over the implement.

So is Grip Strength important for lifts like the Bench Press, Jerk, Kettlebell Press? Yes it is!

But what about other lifts like the Back Squat? It might seem like the hands are just sitting there going along for the ride, but if you are doing them right, they are doing much more than that.

You see, the hands are also capable of producing what is known as Radiant Tension. In other words, when you squeeze your hands, the tension begins to radiate inward toward the body. By doing this, you can actually increase the intensity of other contractions in the body.

The Back Squat is a perfect example of this. When performing this lift, you should apply appreciable tension to the bar by squeezing it prior to decent and continuing to apply this tension throughout each rep. By doing so, your upper body will remain more stable, thus allowing you to Squat more weight and do more repetitions.

So, now you can see that there are many benefits to be gained from Grip Strength training, right? So the next question is how are you going to get your hands on some equipment that will help you build Grip Strength and do so by hitting the lower arms from all angles?

Here are some examples of equipment you can buy to build Grip Strength…

Grippers – These things are obsessive and people really love training with them. They give you serious Crushing Grip and provide hours of training fun. Cost – about $20 apiece.

Sledge Hammers – These are great as well because they not only work the lower arms and hands, but they also incorporate a load of upper body and arm involvement, also contributing to your core training and cardiovascular health, especially if you use them to hit tires or other dense objects. Cost – about $30.

Thick Rope – These take your Grip, Arm and Shoulder training up another level of intensity, while also dropping bombs on your conditioning. Fantastic training tool. Cost - $90 or more.

Unfortunately many people these days are on a limited budget and it is tough to invest in tools like these and even though many pieces of equipment can be used to train for Grip Strength and other outstanding strength and conditioning benefits, their costs prohibit many people from purchasing them.

Here is the solution => Home Made Strength II: Grip Strength Edition. This on-line DVD is downloaded to your computer along with the bonus manuals and reports so that you can start building affordable pieces of quality grip gear that you can use to get a better grip and thus improve all of your other lifts.

As you can see Grip Strength is the common thread for many lifts. Don’t let it be the weakest link in your chain of strength.

Jedd Johnson