Put your hands up if this applies to you:
When it comes to creating a workout program, you often forget to specifically train your grip?
Most people focus on training the chest, legs and arms. You know; the cool muscles. But without proper grip strength training, you could be leaving gains on the table.
Not to mention there are actually more grip strength benefits than you might think.
5 Grip Strength Benefits
Let’s talk about why good grip strength is important and what could potentially happen if you continue to ignore your grip strength.
A stronger grip is beneficial in a variety of life’s aspects, whether social, physical or health related.
1. Stronger Handshake
This one should be a no-brainer but we’ll lay it down anyway.
A strong grip is an obvious factor of a strong handshake. The stronger the grip, the stronger the handshake.
Why is this important?
Well, because people tend to judge you on your handshake, correlating its strength to your personality.
A person with a strong handshake is deemed confident, trustworthy and reliable (you’ll know you’ve given a good handshake if the receiver looks you in the eye and squeezes your hand in return, after the shake).
On the other hand, a weak handshake (often called a “dead fish” because it feels like you’re holding one in your hand) makes a person come across as weak, not confident and untrustworthy.
So if you’ve ever wanted to impress your boss or show someone else who’s boss, a strong grip is the way to go for a strong handshake.
2. Better Endurance
A strong grip increases your endurance as strong lower arms and hands enable you to perform more repetitions and therefore more work than someone who has weak hands.
This means more working out and more burning calories.
Or it could even just mean lesser pain and fatigue while cooking up that big family dinner at Thanksgiving or lifting and moving those million boxes into the truck while moving.
3. Better Quality of Life
As we said earlier, grip strength is used as a test of overall body strength in older people.
The two are directly correlated, which means that for men between 45 and 68 years of age, grip strength indicated whether they ran a risk of disability due to old age in the next 25 years of their life.
A weak grip is also a reflection of the possibility of heart attacks and strokes. Studies have found that a decline in grip strength by 5 kilograms could increase the risk of death due to a heart attack by as much as 17%.
Scientists believe that a stronger grip indicates more muscle mass, meaning a good amount of activity and healthiness in a person’s life, meaning lower chances of a heart attack.
4. Better Resilience to Injuries
As is the case with any muscle, the stronger it is, the more resistant to injury it is.
Even in the case of an injury, strong muscles and connective tissues lead to faster recovery; a fact that is highly important to athletes, especially those in contact sports. Injuries can be a huge pain in the bottom as well as in the injured area (obviously), hampering an athlete’s performance and preventing him or her from doing his best.
Thus, grip strength equals a very important factor to work on.
5. Why You Shouldn’t Ignore a Weak Grip
Though declining grip strength is an inevitability as you grow older, it shouldn’t be ignored for the many reasons stated above and also because it could be an indicator of more serious problems such as a pinched nerve, arthritis or nerve injury.
In addition to heart attacks and stroke, it could also indicate problems such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis and tendonitis.
Simple exercises to strengthen your grip
- Standing Cable Row With a Towel
- Reverse Curl
- Fingertip Push-Up
- Farmer’s Walk With Weight Plates
- Bottom-Up Kettlebell Shoulder Press
- Rope Pull
- Rubber-Band Exercise
- Squeezing a Tennis or Racket Ball
As we said, weak grips can be a gradual occurrence as a result of ageing or occur due to bone breaks, burns or sprains.
These can be treated to a large extent by regular sessions with a physiotherapist or consulting a physician.
However, any sudden weakness that occurs, especially if not due to any of the aforementioned reasons, maybe a cause for worry. Should this happen to you, it’s best to seek medical attention immediately.
Lastly, a better grip keeps you more stable, strong, efficient and mobile, whether at home, in the office, or your gym.