Do You Need Extra Grip Work?
The grip is one of the most important parts of your body. When it’s weak, you’re at risk of many injuries such as stress fractures, rotator cuff tears, and even carpal tunnel syndrome. If you don’t have good grip strength then you’ll be unable to perform any task requiring fine motor skills like writing or typing. It would also affect other areas of your life such as driving a car or operating machinery.
If you want to improve your grip strength, there are several ways you could do so. One way is through training with weights, which will increase muscle mass and thus strengthen your grip. Another option is to use resistance bands or machines that allow you to perform repetitive movements. Finally, if you’d rather not spend money on equipment, then just doing some simple exercises can get the job done.
Grip Strength Training Benefits:
Strengthens your grip. Improves your hand-eye coordination. Strengthened your wrist extensors (muscles) and flexors (muscles). Helps prevent injury due to overuse and fatigue. Increases blood flow to hands and fingers.
Gives you better control when using tools, such as pliers or screwdrivers. Improves dexterity, especially with small objects like coins or pieces of metal.
Types Of Grip Strengthening Exercises
We’ve all been taught the pyramid method, which involves strength training, plyometrics, and endurance. When it comes to grip strengthening exercises, however, you don’t have to follow this traditional approach. Most of your exercises can be done in any order as long as you remember the rule: progress slowly and build up your endurance gradually.
Unlike other exercises, grip strengthening should be done separately from the rest of your normal routine. Remember, we’re trying to train the muscles of your hands and forearms so they can do a specific task, so you need to get into the mindset that you’re training these muscles to do that specific task. Otherwise, you won’t see any results, so let’s get started!
Exercise 1: Wet Newspaper
The first exercise is easy enough that anyone can do it. All you need is a small roll of newspaper and some water! Start by grabbing a small handful of wet newspaper (don’t use too much water, or else it will be too soggy to work with). Next, form the wet newspaper into a ball. Try to squeeze the ball as hard as you can without hurting your hand.
Some tips on how to do this right:
Beginners should start with a smaller ball, such as a golf ball.
Wrap your other hand in a cloth (towel, t-shirt) to prevent injury.
Your fingers should be straight with your thumb opposing them; squeeze the ball from your index finger to your pinky finger.
Don’t lock your elbow when you’re squeezing the ball, as this can cause injury.
It’s a good idea to do this exercise everyday for as long as you can, but at least for 2-3 minutes each time. If you can’t finish in one session, that’s fine. Just make sure to finish the rest of your daily exercises in the next session. When you can easily form a ball and squeeze it, try making it smaller and smaller until you reach a golf ball size. Once you reach this point, move on to the next exercise.
*Pro Tip: Don’t throw out your newspaper pile, as this is a great way to strengthen your wrist while you’re reading!
Exercise 2: Paper Towel Tube
The next exercise is something you probably did as a child, and it still applies to you now! All you need is a paper towel roll and some hand strength. Simply take the tube and squeeze it as hard as you can. Once it gets too small to grip, open your hand so only your fingertips are wrapped around the tube. Next, squeeze again using only your fingertips.
Once again, continue this until you can’t grip it anymore. When you can easily squeeze the whole tube without it hurting, move on to the next exercise.
*Pro Tip: For a greater challenge, try using a heavier object, such as a metal pipe (just don’t use anything that could hurt you or anyone else).
Exercise 3: Grippers
Grippers are devices you can get at most sporting goods stores that are meant for increasing your hand strength. There are many different kinds, but the standard ones work just fine. Always start out a new gripper with an easier setting before moving on to a harder one. There are two types of grippers: spring-loaded (which close by themselves) and those that you must close yourself. Either type is fine.
Spring-loaded grippers don’t require any manual strength to close; simply open your hand and it closes. Once you’ve opened it to the point where you can’t close it anymore, move on to the next setting.
Self-closing grippers require that you close them yourself. With these, less force is better, as you don’t want to crush your fingers!
Always be sure to warm up with an easier setting before moving on to a harder one. Once you can close a given gripper a few times, move on to a harder one. If you try to jump in by opening up a difficult gripper right away, chances are you’ll injure yourself and won’t be able to use your hand for a while. Work your way up slowly!
*Pro Tip: For added resistance, put a knotted towel through the gripper so it takes more effort to close.
Exercise 4: Lifting Weights
Now that you’ve strengthened your hands and fingers individually, it’s time to strengthen them as a whole. Find some lightweight dumbbells at your local sporting goods store (or choose an equivalent weight from something else, such as large cans of food). Start out with something light so your hands and arms can get used to the new demands. Once again, start out with a lower weight and work your way up.
Curl the dumbbell as if you’re curling a hammer. You should be able to lift it fairly easily at first, but the movement should be slow and controlled. Curl it until your arm is completely straight, but don’t try to swing it around or throw it above your head. Slowly lower the weight back down without letting it touch your body (this part is important; don’t rest at the bottom or you won’t get the full benefit).
Straighten your arm out in front of you and then bend it so your hand goes towards the back of your forearm. This motion is called a reverse curl. Do this with the same control as the regular curl, making sure to go slowly up and down.
Stand with your elbows slightly bent, then bend your arms so your forearms are parallel to the floor. This is called a hammer curl. Remember to only go down as far as you can without letting your arms touch the floor (this is very important if you don’t want to get hurt).
Rest a moment and then repeat the four exercises above on the opposite arm.
Optional: If your local sporting goods store doesn’t have any dumbbells that are light enough, you can also do this exercise using large cans of food. As above, it’s important to start out with a lighter weight and work your way up slowly.
Exercise 5: Platforming
Now that you’ve strengthened your hands and fingers individually, it’s time to strengthen them as a whole. Find some small, flat rocks at a river or stream (or choose an equivalent weight from something else, such as large nuts). Pick one that’s light enough for you to pick up and hold in your fingers without too much trouble. If you picked up a large rock that’s too heavy, find a smaller one. This is about building up strength, not getting crushed!
Hold the rock in your hand and squeeze it as hard as you can. Hold it for a few seconds and then relax. Repeat this motion three or four times in a row. If you can hold the rock for thirty seconds at a time with no problems, pick up a heavier rock.
Optional: If you don’t want to keep going to the river or stream every time you want to switch rocks, you can also make your own exercise rocks! Start out with a larger rock than you think you’ll need, then file it down slowly over time. This is a great way to keep records of your progress!
Exercise 6: Hunting (Optional)
Once you’ve mastered the six exercises above, move on to the next level of training. Find some rocks that you can easily pick up and throw such as small cobblestones or river pebbles. Pick up one rock and go hunting!
You can hunt a number of creatures, but the best ones to start with are small birds or squirrels. You need to be able to make a kill with one shot. If you miss, it’s important that you can still get another shot. For the first few weeks, just practice aiming at rocks and other inanimate objects. Each day, try to improve your accuracy and distance.
Soon you’ll be more than ready to hunt for real.
Once you’ve made a kill, tear the animal’s stomach open and eat the entire stomach and liver. This is not only a great way to replenish your energy, but it will help you absorb some of the animal’s strength and cunning. While it might seem counter-intuitive to eat the very thing you just killed, predators have been doing this for centuries!
Optional: While there are many animals out there that can be hunted, remember that you need to have the skill to catch the animal. If you’re a beginner, stick with the small birds and squirrels until you’ve mastered the skill of killing with one shot and bringing your kill home. Once you can do that, move on to larger and faster prey such as rabbits and hares.
Optional: For a real challenge, try to hunt deer. While it might take dozens of shots to bring one down, the meat will keep you fed for a long time! Wherever you decide to hunt, avoid settlements and other places with many people. It’s always best to stay off the beaten path and do your hunting alone. While hunting around the Rask frontier can be quite safe, that hasn’t always been the case!
Congratulations! You’ve learned the ways of the rogue from the books and teachers at the Academy, and from the masters of the trade themselves: the animals of Rask! With these techniques you should have no trouble surviving your time in Rask. Whether you’re hunting for food or for fun, always be prepared and watch your back, because out there…
…anything can happen!
Section 4: Creatures of Rask
You’ll find that the creatures in Rask tend to be a bit more vicious than their counterparts elsewhere. While many are no doubt dangerous in their own ways, learning how to identify them can help you determine which are the most threatening and how best to survive their attacks.
The smallest and least dangerous of the lot are the infamous blood ants. These tiny red ants are named so for their habit of attacking anything that disturbs their nests. The bites themselves aren’t poisonous or diseased, but the ant itself dies during the process. Worse, they seem to have no regard for their own safety and will sacrifice themselves by the hundreds as long as it enables them to latch onto their victim long enough to cause a significant drop in health.
These ants typically nest underground in small hills and burrow near or under most structures. They can easily be spotted in the sand around Rask since they appear as a dark red splotch. It is unwise to walk without boots in such an area since you might not notice a small hole or depression that could lead to an ant hill.
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