If you are planning to try and go RX today, you might notice that your grip will give out a little bit. Not only is grip a limiting factor for a lot of people, but people don’t undsterdand the important of a strong grip. Not only do some of the strongest people on the planet have a strong grip (Brian Shaw, look him up, insane feats of strength) but the write up below gives some greats points as well and how to improve the grip if you struggle with it!
Get A Grip by Ben Greenfield
Quick question: which of your muscles did you use the most over the past hour? The past day? The past week?
If you’re like most people on the face of this planet, the answer is this: your fingers, hands, wrists and forearms.
Just think about it: not only does nearly every sport that exists, from swimming to wrestling to golf to tennis to football to basketball to baseball to climbing to obstacle course racing and beyond require extremely high activity levels of the thirty-five tiny gripping muscles in your forearms and hand…
…but most common activities of daily living also rely upon adequate strength and endurance in these muscles too, including typing, moving the trackpad or mouse on your computer, doing the dishes, carrying laundry, turning a doorknob, vacuuming, driving, and even sex (seriously, just try to get it on in the bedroom with your hands tied behind your back or your fingers clenched in fists the whole time).
So in this article, you’re going to learn more about why good grip is so important, the top techniques for not enhancing grip but also eliminating wrist and elbow pain, and some of the top grip strengthening secrets from my personal fitness coach Yancy Culp.
Why Good Grip Is So Important
If your grip and forearm muscles are not conditioned with mobility, strength and endurance, then the result winds up being the frustrating chronic repetitive motion injuries that plague both office workers and athletes alike. For example, without adequate grip and forearm strength, tennis players develop tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis), which is debilitating and disabling pain on the outside of the elbow. Golfers, climbers, CrossFitters and obstacle racers who don’t have adequate grip and forearm training often develop the opposite issue, a problem known as golfers elbow, climbers elbow and medial epicondylitis, which is basically pain anywhere on the inside of the elbow and forearm. People who work on a computer often get one or both of these same issues. And you can undergo all the deep tissue work, injections, massage, and anti-inflammatory remedies on the face of the planet, but until you address the underlying issue of grip and forearm conditioning, these problems will continue to plague you.
It actually baffles me why many physical therapists, physicians and chiropractors don’t more often prescribe grip strengthening strategies for recovery from issues such as tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow or carpal tunnel syndrome. For me personally, the elbow pain that I’ve gotten from the combination of copious amounts of pull-ups and rope climbing combined with ungodly amounts of time spent typing away on my Macbook Pro has only really been remedied with the type of grip exercises you’re going to get later on this article, and not via remedies such as injections or topical ointments or curcumin or ginger or anything else that would normally work for injuries on other parts of my body.
Fitness training legend Charles Poliquin backs this up when he says…
… “these ailments are often caused by improper strength ratios between the elbow muscles and the forearm muscles. If the elbow flexors, like the biceps and brachialis, are too strong for the forearm flexors, uneven tension accumulates in the soft tissue and results in elbow pain”.
Yep, that means that all the bicep curls, preacher curls, barbell curls, tricep extensions, and any other “traditional” arm training exercise you may be doing could actually make your problem worse not better if you’re not training and mobilizing your grip at the same time.
Heck, issues with your grip can even radiate out to other areas of your body and cause even more injuries that you’d never guess would have had anything to do with your grip. For example, the health of your shoulder and rotator cuff has been correlated to the strength of your grip. One study found that grip strength has a significant correlation with the muscle strength of shoulder abduction and external rotation, and another study has revealed increased prevalence of rotator cuff weakness and injury on the same side of a hand injury or disorder.
But grip strength goes above and beyond just injury prevention.
15 minutes find heaviest complex:
Deadlift + Hang Power Clean + Front Squat + Push Jerk
7 Deadlift 115/75
7 Hang Power Clean
7 Front Squat
7 Shoulder to OH
*RX is doing the whole round unbroken