Monday 12 July 2010

Get a Grip: Warm-Up (1)

My first introduction to hand strength was when I, as a 13-year old, joined an Olympic wrestling club. Grip strength in Olympic wrestling is massively important and the coach used to start each training session with a good grip workout. Often my hands would be so exhausted after a session that I would get cramps in my palms during the night.

A strong grip is always an advantage as it improves control of hand tools and is a key component in sorts as diverse as golf, wind-surfing, skiing and climbing.

In the jungle a good grip is necessary when moving outside established footpaths, where you have to hack your way with the machete

In this series of postings I will be showing several hand strength exercises that I use and have had good results with.

I will cover warm-up, stretching and main workout.

Warming Up

Normal Grip - Open.
As with all body parts I always try to warm-up before my main hand work-out. One of the tools I use for that is a pair of hand grips. People often don't realise how versatile these things are and that they can be used in a variety of ways to achieve the desired result. 
Normal Grip - Closed.
I start by using a "normal" hold using my whole palm and do a few reps with each hand. This exercise favours the fingers further from the thumb so I then reverse the grip to work  index and middle fingers. 
Inverse Grip - Open
Inverse Grip - Closed.

I then move on to work the thumb itself. Note the modified grip I use.

Thumb - Open

Thumb - Closed.

Then I begin to isolate the top two or bottom two fingers like so:

Top Two fingers Only - Open

Top Two fingers Only - Closed

Bottom Two Fingers Only - Open

Bottom Two Fingers Only - Closed.
There are different "strength" hand grips on the market and I make sure to use the appropriate strength for a warm-up, i.e. not too challenging.

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