In the previous article, we looked at the basics of how to start a fruitful exercise program for building the overall grip strength of your hands. This article describes how to use the barbell plates you have been using for pinch grip exercise to further develop your hand’s extensor muscles, as well as the exercises that develop your wrists as an adjunct to your grip training.
Remember that with hand grip exercise, as with other types of exercise, following a regular program and observing the following general rules will help to make the whole process more effective:
- Exercise regularly, at least three times a week, and perhaps as often as daily.
- Start out with a number of exercises that you can handle and increase the number of repetitions, the weight or resistance strength of the exercise devices, etc. over time.
- If you start experiencing noticeable pain, stop for a while and rest your hand before continuing.
More on Crushing Grip Training
The muscles that clench the hand into a fist can be developed further by using a pair of pliers and a bucket of sand or water with a leather belt looped around the handle. Add a weight of sand or water to the bucket, grasp the leather belt with the pliers, and lift the whole assembly with the pliers. Do not fasten the belt – the two ends should be held together with the pressure of the pliers, which is where the gripping element comes in. The advantage to this method is that you can very easily and cheaply add more water or sand to increase the weight of the bucket as your grip improves.
More on Pinch Grip Training
10 pound plates are a good starting weight for fairly athletic people who are beginning their pinch grip training. Use progressively heavier weights as the strength of your pinch grip improves. Note that 40 to 50 pounds per plate represents close to the human maximum for pinch grip development except for a few genetic anomalies, so there is an upper limit to the weights you will be using to build your pinch grip.
For an alternative challenge that will help to build your hand’s extensor muscles (those responsible for opening the hand), thrust your fingers into the central hole in the barbell plates you are using as weights and press outwards, lifting the plate with its flat surface parallel to the ground. You will be using the outward pressure of your fingers alone to keep the plate suspended in midair, so do not attempt the exercise until you have already spent several weeks building your hand muscles.
Exercising to Build the Forearm and Wrist
Not all forearm and wrist exercises are created equal when it comes to building muscles that help with grip strength, but fortunately, those that do help are not very obscure. Find a thick bar or a set of dumbbells with an exceptionally stout grip, which makes it necessary to grasp the object hard with the hand in order to keep it from slipping loose.
Then, perform regular wrist curls with this object. Start off slow and build your repetitions gradually as this is considerably more demanding than using ordinary, easy-to-grip dumbbells, and seriously injuring your wrists by working too hard, too fast is not a good way to strengthen them.
As a supplement to this technique, you can use ordinary dumbbells as well, focusing on wrist lifts, wrist flexing of various kinds, and rotating the dumbbells, which will develop both the wrists and the forearm muscles most heavily involved in strengthening the basic grip of the hand.
Exercising the Extensor Muscles
The final piece of the puzzle when you are working at boosting your grip strength is to develop all the muscles of your hand, and not just those involved in curling it closed. This is achieved by buying some heavy-duty exercise rubber bands at a fitness store, placing them around your fingers and thumb while they are pinched closed, and then opening them as far as you can.
As soon as it becomes easy to open your hand with one rubber band in place, add another. Note that you should have the rubber bands tight enough to offer plenty of resistance, but not so tight that you cut off circulation in your fingers or risk snapping a joint trying to pry the rubber bands off your hands. The goal here is to gradually improve strength in your extensor, not injure yourself trying to be macho the first day.
Originally posted 2017-03-07 12:41:40.