It is no secret that a stronger grip correlates with lower mortality risk, improved quality of life, and lower blood pressure, amongst many other benefits.
Also, there are many grip variations; for example, a pinch grip or crush grip are rarely used in muscular strength training but have many added health benefits that shouldn't be neglected.
As a certified personal trainer and experienced strength training practitioner, I have conducted a 27-hour research to discover the most relevant grip strength benefits.
After reading the article, you will see significant improvement and a change of perspective regarding grip strength training and its benefits, and you will uncover the most important grip strength exercises to increase your quality of life and overall athletic performance.
- Benefits of grip strength include lower mortality risk, improved quality of life, improved cardiovascular health, boost in athletic performance, ability to lift heavier weights, and more endurance on the pulling pattern exercises such as pull-ups and rows.
- You can easily build better grip strength by incorporating carrying and holding activities, reducing the chance of getting golf or tennis elbow.
- The best exercises for a firmer grip and stronger muscles for improved grip strength include deadlifts, farmer’s carries, and dead hangs.
6 Benefits of Strong Grip Strength
The 6 benefits of grip strength include:
- Lower mortality risk
- Improved quality of life
- Predictor of cardiovascular disease
- Lift heavier weights
- More endurance on the pull-up bar
- Improved sports performance
In this context, that means continually adding more weights you hold when performing isometric holds or contractions or stripping weight plates on your back when performing dead hangs.
However, like with every other training method, you must carefully incorporate proper rest between strength training workouts.
Sticking with 48-72 hours of rest between workout sessions targeting the same muscle groups is recommended .
This is mainly to prevent overtraining syndrome, which decreases your overall performance and raises the chance of injury .
"Believe it or not, the most limiting factor in your workout may be your grip strength. If you’re looking to increase the weights you’re lifting and can’t seem to do so, focus on exercises that strengthen muscles in your wrists, forearms, and hands."
- Bree-Anna Burick, Certified Personal Trainer
Lower Mortality Risk
A study conducted on Korean adults that lasted for 10 years aimed to predict the risk of all-cause and premature mortality by assessing handgrip strength .
The study's primary goal was to investigate the effects of grip strength and muscular weakness on various diseases and premature death.
The results confirmed that all-cause mortality is negatively associated and correlated with the level of grip strength.
Muscular strength was another factor observed during this 10-year Cohort study, and the results suggest that both muscular weakness and lower handgrip strength raise the chance of premature mortality in middle-aged and older adults.
Improved Quality of Life
Grip strength is also positively correlated with subjective but also objective improvement in quality of life.
The objective improvement in quality of life is due to improved functioning with everyday tasks such as lifting the bag of groceries, moving furniture from one side of the room to the other, carrying children, and similar activities.
These are all considered functional movements and activities necessary for everyday normal functioning, and almost all are positively affected by the improvement in forearm and grip strength.
Also, the subjective part of the improved quality of life is more notable in males since forearm width and strength is seen as a positive trait in relationships and dating.
Predictor of Cardiovascular Disease
Numerous studies, including the one from the first benefit on the list, show that poor grip strength is an excellent predictor of cardiovascular diseases, and high blood pressure.
It would be smart to incorporate enough levels of both anaerobic and aerobic activities during the week to enhance your body's energy systems.
It can also avoid cardiovascular and bone-related diseases.
In addition, grip strength training will also be a positive factor for further improvements in lifting and cardiovascular exercises such as elliptical, air bike, assault bike, and low-intensity battle rope training.
Lift Heavier Weights
By improving your grip strength, you can easily lift more weight during exercises such as weighted pull-ups, barbell rows, farmer’s carries, deadlifts, and similar.
This is important because you can lift more weight with heavy compound movements that require substantial grip strength if you lack forearm strength and endurance.
More Endurance on the Pull-up Bar
Pull-ups are hard, especially for men with long bones, women, and older adults.
One of the key factors for performing easy pull-ups is improving your grip strength and getting stronger forearms.
This can be easily achieved through consistent isometric training or exercises such as dead hangs.
Related Article: Pull-up Bar Exercises
Improved Sports Performance
Grip strength is closely related to improved sports performance.
In sports such as competitive wrestling, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, judo, sambo, arm wrestling, rowing, and similar activities, having excellent grip strength and forearm endurance is crucial.
Suppose you don’t build anaerobic resistance to forearm training and improve your grip strength to easily grab, throw, or overpower your competitors. In that case, you will fail to achieve maximum performance in your sports.
Training Grip Strength in the Gym
Here are the best grip strength exercises you can include in your training regimen.
Deadlift belongs to the bending movement pattern and mainly targets your erector spine, hamstrings, and glutes. It is also excellent for improving your grip strength.
How to Perform Deadlifts
- Place the barbell on the floor and load it with the appropriate weight so you can perform at least 6 consecutive reps without resting.
- Assume a shoulder-width apart stance with your feet and place your shins close to the loaded barbell.
- Grab the barbell with a pronated or combined grip, based on your preference, and ensure your back is flat while you are bent with your torso.
- Start the exercise by initiating the triple extensions - extend your ankles, knees, and hips simultaneously.
- When you reach the top position, hold for one second and drop the barbell on the floor.
- Repeat for 6 reps, 4 sets, and rest between 2 and 5 minutes between the sets.
Related Article: How to Perform Romanian Deadlifts
Farmer’s carry is one of the most functional core exercises, significantly improving grip strength and forearm endurance.
- Pick two dumbbells or kettlebells of appropriate weight so you can walk 15 meters up and down for two sets without stopping.
- Take the kettlebell, for example, in each hand and assume a normal standing position with your knees slightly bent and back flat.
- Start the exercise by walking down the gym until you reach the 15-meter mark.
- Return back and repeat one more time.
- Perform farmer’s carries between sets of resistance exercises as part of active recovery or do them separately for more than 4 sets with as little rest as possible.
Dead hangs are one of the most useful exercises you can do to improve your grip and pull-up game.
- Assume a hanging position on the pull-up bar with your elbows fully extended and feet not touching the floor.
- Hang on the pull-up bar with a pronated grip for 15-30 seconds.
- Repeat for a couple of sets and rest for as little as possible between the sets.
Related Article: Dead Hang Benefits
Why Is Grip Strength Important?
The grip strength is important because weak grip strength is associated with bad health, decreased muscular endurance, and impaired ability to easily perform everyday tasks.
You should strive towards a stronger grip because an impressive grip is closely related to healthy and strong forearm muscles, which are necessary for performing weightlifting exercises such as pull-ups and everyday tasks such as carrying groceries.
Can Grippers Build Muscle?
Yes, grippers can build muscles. Grippers can build forearm muscles, but to a certain extent, you must progress with different grip strength exercises and grip training methodologies to further increase your carrying and holding strength.
Is It Ok to Use Hand Grippers Everyday?
It is okay to use hand grippers every day. Hand grippers are good for improving your overall grip strength, but to build impressive grip strength, you must incorporate more complex grip strength training with progressive overload and exercise variation in mind.
How Can I Build Grip Strength Without Developing Calluses?
You can build grip strength without developing calluses by purchasing weightlifting gloves.
They are essential for people training for grip strength and performing exercises such as rows, pull-ups, and farmer carries.
You can easily avoid hard calluses and ugly-looking hands by purchasing high-quality weightlifting gloves that will serve you for years.
Read our guide on the best weight lifting gloves to pick the ones that suit your upper body strength training the most and allow for more grip strength benefits.
Let me know how you plan to support grip strength and develop strong forearms for better athletic performance and muscle strength training.
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