- Exercise & Fitness
Improve Your Health by Exercising with Hand Grippers
The Benefits of Hand Exercises
Exercising the muscles in your hands develops both your hands and forearms. With practice, you can develop a powerful, crushing grip. This is not only good for your health, but also useful for sports, work and recreation.
- High blood pressure. Studies at McMaster University's Department of Kinesiology in Canada suggest that hand exercises can reduce hypertension in people on blood pressure medication. In tests, hand exercises three times a week for eight weeks increased blood vessel flexibility and reduced systolic blood pressure.
- Hand cramps. Regular hand exercises can reduce cramping for people whose activities strain their hands, for example, Blackberry addicts.
- Self-defense. Holding your opponent in an unbreakable grip is an effective defense measure in wrestling, martial arts or boxing.
- Sports. Powerful gripping is an important success factor in many sports, including weightlifting, rowing, biking, racket sports, and rock climbing.
- Physical work. Construction workers, electricians, chefs, and writers use their hands constantly in their work. Stronger hands are more resistant to strains and fatigue.
- Playing musical instruments. Guitars, violins, trumpets can also be demanding on hands.
Strong hands are also useful for opening jars (which impresses your spouse) and for firm handshakes (which impresses people at work). If you learn to rip phone books, you'll be a hit at parties and will get free drinks at any sports bar.
How to Exercise with Hand Grippers
Before starting, be sure to stretch your hand muscles by pushing back on your fingers and thumbs, or by clasping your fingers together and pushing your palms outwards. Then try one or more of the following basic exercises:
- Repetitive squeeze. Hold the gripper in one hand and squeeze from 5 to 25 times for about two seconds per squeeze. Change hands. Continue for three sets.
- Crunch. Squeeze the grippers as hard as you can for up to 10 seconds. Change hands and repeat. Continue for three sets.
- Negative. Using powerful grippers, hold shut for as long as you can. You may need to use your free hand to close the grippers when you start. Change hands and repeat. Continue for three sets.
You can vary the exercises depending on the tension of the grippers and your strength. As your hand muscles strengthen, you can increase the duration of your exercises and switch to higher-tension grippers.
Beginners can start with basic plastic-handled grippers available in any sports shop. When your hands are stronger, switch to heavy-duty grippers, starting with a tension of 100 lbs with aluminum handles. Low-tension grippers can still be used for warm-ups. Remember to stretch your hand muscles again after your exercises.
Other Hand Excercises
Hand grippers aren't the only way you can strengthen your hands. Improve pinch strength by doing push-ups on your fingertips or by holding weights between your thumb and a single finger. Work out your fingers by slipping a heavy rubber band over your fingertips and extending them. Squeeze a tennis ball or a hand exercise ball. These exercises are a good complement to gripper training.