Grip strength… it’s not as sexy to talk about as stronger abs, or a bigger bench press, but it can very well be a big determining factor of your health and longevity. Grip strength is an often overlooked part of the training. Regardless of what your goals are, improving your grip strength will help propel you closer to your end result. At Next Generation Training Center, we finish a lot of our workouts with some sort of heavy carries, such as a kettlebell farmers carry. This is because we understand the importance of grip strength, not only for strength gains but overall longevity of health. You don’t need to be on the American Ninja Warrior show to care about strengthening your own grip.
Get a Grip on Life
As I mentioned earlier, grip strength isn’t just about getting stronger. A study from the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research shows that grip strength is a predictor of overall strength and muscular endurance. Other research has also shown that a stronger grip also has correlations with a lower risk of heart attack, stroke, and cardiovascular disease. This research shows that there is a direct correlation between muscle strength and heart health. The international Prospective Urban and Rural Epidemiological (PURE) study measured the grip strength of about 140,000 adults in 17 different countries and followed their health for an average of four years. Each 11-pound decrease in grip strength over the course of the study was linked to a 16% higher risk of dying from any cause, a 17% higher risk of dying from heart disease, a 9% higher risk of stroke, and a 7% higher risk of a heart attack. After adjusting for other factors such as smoking, exercise, and age, it was found that grip strength was actually a better predictor of death or cardiovascular disease than blood pressure.
How do you get a stronger grip?
There are many ways to incorporate grip strength training into your routine. Implementing any type of heavy carries into your workouts will help increase grip strength. By heavy carries, I suggest grabbing two dumbbells or kettlebells that equal about 50% of your body weight, and either holding them or walking with them for 3 sets of 1-minute intervals. Don’t have dumbbells or kettlebells? You can purchase a stress ball, or various other hand strengthening products that can be found easily on the internet. However, you always want to make sure you are balancing your training, even with grip strength. So, don’t just focus on your squeezing strength. You also want to strengthen your extension muscles in your hand, along with pinching strength as well. If you want some more tips on getting a stronger grip, send me an email to [email protected]