Carpe Iron

Grip strength is handy.  A powerful grip is incredibly useful for both everyday and fitness-specific tasks, from turning wrenches & opening pickle jars to throwing nasty uppercuts & deadlifting big weight.

Conversely, a weak grip is often the limiting factor when trying to increase weights and intensity in workouts.

So, if you want to strengthen your grip (and you should), here are some suggestions for simple exercises you can perform at home:

1. Fingertip push-ups: excellent for finger and hand strength.  Fingertip pushups are very, very difficult, so start with just single reps (or even half push-ups) and work your way up to performing sets of 5 or 10.  Doing pushups from your knees is fine.

2. Knuckle push-ups: great for wrist strength and stability.  Position your fists parallel with your body beside your chest, and – as with fingertip push-ups – work your way slowly to full sets of 5-10 reps.

3. Door holds for pinch-grip strength:  Get into a squat position and grab the edge of a door (pinch it between your thumb and fingers), then slowly lean back until you feel your grip really kick in.  Try to hold for a set of 30 seconds.  Alternately, you can oversqueeze some really fat, heavy books (think Riverside Shakespeare or a beastly dictionary).  Squeeze as though your life depended on it…for sets of 30 seconds.

4. Use a high quality gripper to build crushing strength.  We use (and love) grippers called “Captains of Crush” from the company Ironmind.   Here’s their link: http://www.ironmind.com/ironmind/opencms/Main/captainsofcrush.html  The name may be corny, but the grippers are superb.  These grippers come in a huge range of resistance weights, so you can work your way up as your grip strengthens.  If you’re new to gripper training, consider their “guide” and “sport” models.  Only 5 humans have ever closed their #4 model….so, maybe avoid that one…but serious props to you if you can close it.

5.  Do towel pull-ups for hand & forearm strength.  Drape a strong (non-frayed!!) towel over a pullup bar, grab each end of the towel and perform your pull ups.  Note that this is an advanced exercise.

Mix these exercises up for a mini grip workout:

Fingertip push ups 5-10 reps
Knuckle pushups 5-10 reps
Door and/or book hold for 30 seconds (right/left)
Grip closes 5-10 reps (right/left)
Towel pullups 5-10 reps (this is an advanced, optional exercise).
Do three rounds of the above circuit 2 or 3 times a week and you’ll soon develop a tremendous grip.

* Also, if you’ve got some time to kill after a bootcamp class, consider burning the hell out of your forearms by doing Farmer’s Walks using both the rubberized bumper plates & FatGrip handles.  Ryan, Natalie or John can show you these  brutal awesome! exercises during some down time