Let's be honest. The stress ball or the funky pair of squeezable clamps you purchased to improve your grip strength are sitting on your shelf. They were fun and novel at first, but you didn't really use them enough, nor did they increase your grip strength.
To the untrained eye, they seem like a great way to develop intimidating forearms and a crushing grip. However, there's no measurable element of progression, and they are just downright boring to use.
Also, if you have the grip strength of a 9-year-old schoolgirl, it isn't only because you have weak hands. To develop a truly stronger grip, you must identify potential deficiencies elsewhere and address each one.
It's time to amp up your grip strength by giving this critical attribute the same level of attention as other parts of your body. Follow these three tips, and you'll be on your way to bone-crushing grip strength.
Building a Stronger Grip
1. Do Loaded Carries
A loaded carry requires that you hold heavy objects securely in your hands or arms while walking. If you belong to a standard gym, all you need is some space (a corridor works best) and the heaviest pair of dumbbells you can hold in your hands. The next step is simply to walk as far as you can while carrying the weights.
There's nothing wrong with walking quickly, but try to maintain good posture. Use either time or distance to gauge your progress. A good place to start is by carrying dumbbells equal to half of your max Deadlift. If your max Deadlift is 300 pounds, carry two 75-pound dumbbells.
2. Increase the Surface Area
Don't confine yourself to the thickness of a standard Olympic bar. A thicker bar forces your hands to work harder to hold on and increases the challenge to your entire upper body.
Some high performance gyms have fat bars, but if you belong to a standard gym, chances are you are out of luck. If that's the case, buy a pair of thick grips, such as Fat Gripz—i.e., rubber sleeves that slip over standard barbells or dumbbells.
You'll be surprised at how little weight you'll be able to lift due to the greater surface area of the bar in your hands. A back workout with Fat Gripz will leave your hands and forearms screaming for the rest of the week!
3. Work with Irregular Objects
Atlas Stones, battling ropes, truck tires and towing sleds are great tools to blast your grip strength. The irregular shape and form of these objects gives your hands a whole new challenge, requiring a strong grip in a totally different configuration.
One More Thing
If you haven't guessed by now, it's good to attack your upper back through standard training. The increase in tension through the pulling muscles in the arm, shoulder and back increase the contractile force of the muscles in your hands. I don't know anyone who can crank out 20 or 30 Pull-Ups with a weak grip.
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