Bulletproof Your Grip Strength: How To Build Muscle And Lose Fat Naturally
By David J. Epstein, Ph.D., CSCS
Grip strength training can improve your performance in many sports and activities. If you are interested in increasing your grip strength, then you need to learn what type of exercises will work best for you. You may have heard about the various types of grip exercises available online or in books. However, these are all variations of one basic exercise – the wrist curl.
The wrist curl is probably the most common exercise used to increase grip strength. The wrist curl involves gripping a barbell with both hands at shoulder height and pulling it upward while keeping your elbows bent and your wrists straight. It’s a simple movement that requires little skill and can be performed by anyone without any special equipment or experience.
However, there are several drawbacks to using the wrist curl as a grip strengthening exercise. First, it doesn’t build much strength in the muscles around your fingers because you’re only working them from one angle. Second, it’s not very effective when trying to develop maximum grip strength since you aren’t really working your forearms (where your real power comes from) and instead just focusing on the biceps portion of your upper arms. Last but not least, it can be dangerous for your joints if you don’t perform the exercise properly.
To avoid the dangers of the wrist curl and get the most out of your grip strengthening routine, you should use a variety of specialized grip strength exercises to work different muscle groups in your forearms and hands. Here are some exercises I have used with my clients that have had great results and are very safe.
Barbell Reverse Wrist Curl
If you want to develop your grip strength for sports like rock climbing, tennis, baseball, or javelin throwing then this is the exercise for you. It’s very similar to the traditional barbell curl except you’re gripping the bar from underneath with your palms facing up (supinated grip) rather than gripping it with your palms facing down (pronated grip).
Make sure you perform this exercise correctly. To do this, sit down on a weight bench with a barbell and grab it with your hands slightly wider than shoulder width. Position your feet on the ground to give you balance and keep your back straight. Slowly roll the bar upward until your arms are extended then slowly lower it back to the start position.
This exercise is great for developing strength in your fingers. All you need is a sturdy towel and a solid railing or pull-up bar to hang on to. First, tie the towel over the railing or around the pull-up bar with enough room so that you can easily grab each end of it with each hand. You want the towel to be taut so that it supports your full body weight when you hang from it.
To perform the exercise, hang from the towel with your arms completely straight. This will be your starting position. Slowly pull yourself up while keeping your body straight until your chin reaches above the towel. As you lower yourself back down, make sure you don’t let your arms bend or swing back to help you- -the towel must do all the work.
Once you can easily do two sets of 15 reps, it’s time to move on to a stronger grip exercise!
This exercise is great for developing grip strength while also working the forearm muscles. All you need is a bucket full of 5-10lb weight plates and some floor space. I prefer using metal plates since they’re more comfortable on the hands, but you can also use small rubber gym bumper plates if you want.
To perform this exercise, hold a plate in each hand and spread your arms out to the sides. Bend your elbows and bring the plates as close to your chest as you can. Then straighten your arms back out so that they are extended directly out from your shoulders. Next, twist your wrists inward so that your palms face each other and bring the plates back to the starting position- -this is one rep. Do five reps and move on to the next exercise.
The beauty of this exercise is that you don’t need to measure out any weights. As long as you increase the weight and keep your reps in the five-10 range, you’ll continue to see growth.
This exercise is exactly like the towel pull-ups discussed earlier except it targets your biceps and forearms. To perform this exercise, grab a thick towel and tie each end over a rafter or bar in your garage or shed. Make sure you’re high enough that when you hang from the towel your arms are fully extended.
Then simply perform pull-ups as usual. As you get stronger, you’ll want to increase the weight of the towel by adding more towels or even bungee cords to the rafter. The great thing about this exercise is it can be done anywhere since all you need is a rafter to hook the towels on.
That’s all there is to it! As your grip strength and forearm size increases, you’ll have to improvise by wrapping towels around the rafter or using bungee cords to provide enough resistance. You can also perform other types of pull-ups such as wide, narrow, or hammer grip.
Expect your hands and forearms to hurt the first few times you perform these exercises, but this is normal. Like with any exercise, practice patience and persist and you’ll soon grow accustomed to the pain.
To sum everything up, here are the key points to remember:
Wear a thick sweatshirt or at least wrap a thick towel around your neck when performing these exercises.
Perform high rep sets until you feel the burn in your muscles. Then, rest for a few minutes before performing another set.
When you can easily perform 15 reps of an exercise, it’s time to move on to a more difficult exercise.
Perform the exercises 2-3 times per week with at least one day of rest in between sessions.
Add these exercises into your current routine and you’ll soon see a dramatic change in forearm size and strength as long as you put in the time and effort. Remember, don’t get discouraged if you don’t see immediate results. Keep at it and you WILL see results!
What other forearm training techniques have worked for you?
Tell me about it in the comment section.
Sources & references used in this article:
Bulletproof: Accessing the Favor and Protection of God in the Secret Place by J Rostocil – 2013 – books.google.com
Defending Your Castle: Build Catapults, Crossbows, Moats, Bulletproof Shields, and More Defensive Devices to Fend Off the Invading Hordes by W Gurstelle – 2014 – books.google.com
The Secrets of the Bulletproof Spirit: How to Bounce Back from Life’s Hardest Hits by A Khamisa, J Quinn – 2009 – books.google.com
Becoming Bulletproof by E Poumpouras – 2020 – dln.jaipuria.ac.in
Bulletproof Buddhists and other essays by F Chin – 1998 – books.google.com
Strength Uncovered by JWM August, JWM June, JWST May, JWM June… – strengthuncovered.com
Bulletproof Spirit, Revised Edition: The First Responder’s Essential Resource for Protecting and Healing Mind and Heart by D Willis – 2019 – books.google.com
The Batman Handbook: The Ultimate Training Manual by P Wade – 2016
Traction: Get a grip on your business by S Beatty – 2005 – books.google.com