- Sports and Recreation
Building Powerful Forearms
How To Build Powerful Forearms
Improving the strength in your hands and forearms can be very important to you if you compete in sports and also in your everyday activities. Having a strong grip could potentially get you out of trouble or give you that extra edge in your favorite sport. If you are a weight lifter, having a stronger grip can enable you to lift heavier weights.
There are different muscles in your forearm that you can exercise to improve your grip strength. The different grips you can target are called the crush grip, support grip and the pinch grip. You can target the muscles that you use in these different grips to strengthen them and it is best to work all three areas so you develop a balanced muscle group. Read below for further explanation and some sample exercises that you can use.
How To Improve Your Grip Strength
You could consider this site as just a beginners guide to help you get some basic idea of how to get started strengthening your grip. If you really want to develop serious grip strength in your hands your goal is to target those muscles that control your hands. I am going to show you some of the techniques that can be used to achieve your goal.
There are tools you can use such as the grippers you see in the sporting good section of stores and there are other tools you can make yourself or find laying around your house.
If you are just getting started with this take it easy at first so you do not over work your arms, especially if you are already working out with weights. You also should not work out every day, give your muscles time to rest and strengthen, 3 to 4 days a week should be enough. Remember your forearms get used a lot so you do not want to overdo it.
As with any exercise you should properly warm up before working out. You can do this by doing some easy warm up reps to get the blood flowing into your forearms. Use a variety of exercises, reps and intensities to hit your forearms from all angles. For your safety, when holding something heavy, especially in a pinch grip, watch for your toes if you drop it.
Grip Strength Exercises
Weightlifting will definitely help your grip and is what you need for all over fitness and strength. But, you must do exercises that will target your gripping muscles. One way would be heavy carry. Simply picking up Dumb bells in each hand that are heavier than what you normally carry and holding them at your sides for a count of 10 or 20 or until you have to drop them would be a simple exercise.
You can also hold them and do what is called the Farmers Walk; this will target not only your forearms but your back, hips and legs. You should be able find odd, heavy stuff lying around that can also be used; things like Concrete Blocks, Large Water or Gas Containers filled with liquid make good alternatives. Try pinching two steel barbell plates together and holding on tight. Just use your imagination.
Using Forearm Leverage For A Powerful Grip
Another exercise you should try is a leverage type of workout. For example you would be holding a sledgehammer in your hand with your arm hanging down at your side with the elbow locked. Now rotate the sledgehammer up using only your wrist, keeping the arm straight. You can do this holding it to the front of you and to the back so you target different muscles. Depending on your strength level you would hold the handle at the point that would let you lift it (closer to end of handle would be more difficult). Do these exercises for reps or just hold for time.
Of course you do not have to use a sledgehammer; any long item that has some weight to it will work such as a broom or piece of pipe etc., it depends on your current strength level. As you can see in the picture, one test of strength is to lower the hammer to the face then back up again.
Grip Strength Training On The Radio
Check out this radio shows from the Diesel Crew on training and competition.
Grip Strength Radio
Pinch Strength Exercises
Using what's called pinching techniques with your fingers is another great method you must take advantage of. This would simply be holding an object between your finger tips for time or until you must let it drop, or pinching two objects together like Barbell Plates and holding as mentioned earlier is great exercise. Stand a dumbbell on end and grip the the end with your fingertips. Lift it and hold or lift for reps. Again you are only limited to your imagination. As you do these exercises vary the way you do them. Use a lighter weight but many reps and fewer reps with a heavier weight.
More Grip Strength Exercises
You can hang from pull-up bars or hang from rafters, hold on for as long as you can. Hang by finger your tips instead of full grip for extra effort. Do finger walks - you lean into a wall supporting yourself by your fingertips like you are doing fingertip push-ups then walk your fingers side to side or up and down while leaning in to increase pressure, you will feel it working your forearms.
Don't neglect the muscles involved in opening your hands! This will help in keeping the muscles in balance. Try using a small diameter, heavy duty rubber band, place it over your fingertips. Just spread your fingers as far as you can, if it's too easy use two rubber bands or more. You can do reps or static hold for time, best would be to do both ways. Another exercise would be pushing your fingertips into sand and trying to open them against the resistance of the sand.
And don't forget the always popular rope climb. The rope climb is an outstanding arm and back workout.
This is a full set of grippers in increments of 100, 150, 200, 250, 300 and 350 pounds resistance.
Hand Grippers Training
Hand grippers are probably the most popular tool that is used for grip strength training. You do not want to rely solely on grippers, but mix them up with the other workouts we discussed above. If you are not sure of your strength start out with one of the inexpensive store bought kind. If it is too easy to use you then you should go ahead and buy one of the really good ones like the Captains of Crush grippers. You can get them in progressively difficult tensions which are great for when you get stronger and the one you have gets too easy for you.
Of course there are different exercises you can do with the grippers. One would be to just do repetitions with each hand. Another would be to do negatives which are when you would use a gripper that you normally would not be able to squeeze shut. With the help of your other hand, squeeze the gripper closed then try to hold on as you let the gripper slowly open with your one hand. You can also squeeze a gripper shut and just continue squeezing as hard as you can for 5 to 10 seconds. To work on the thumb, try holding a gripper between the thumb and forefinger and squeeze.
Remember to mix up these workouts and you will be able to work on all the muscles in the forearm and hand.
The Pro Hand Exerciser that lets you isolate each individual finger for strength.
Do you have any training technique that would benefit us? Leave a comment or suggestion.