There are many valid reasons to make training your hand strength a priority. Improved self-defense ability, being able to open any jar, and increasing the strength of a handshake for a pending job interview are only a few. These are all important and are just a few of the reasons many people list for beginning to train their hand strength.
Just as there are a multitude of reasons to begin hand strength training, there are also many methods of training your hand strength that sometimes don’t even require the purchase of specialized equipment.
For any hand strength training program to be most effective, it has to be personalized for the person who’s going to be performing the workouts.
A law-enforcement officer does not need to perform the same hand strength workout as a professional hockey player. Nor should a recreational martial artist be doing the same workout as a professional strongman competitor. A concerted effort needs to be made to identify the types of grip strength that are necessary for improved functioning in whatever sport or task specific to each individual.
The three basic types of hand strength are:
You use a crushing grip to close the handles of a hand gripper – like the ones found in sporting goods stores or Wal-Mart.
Supporting grip is used to hold onto an object like a chin-up bar.
Pinch grip is when the thumb opposes the fingers and both are trying to squeeze together to pinch something between them.
The type of hand strength most suited to self-defense improvement is the supporting category. This includes training with thick-handled bars, instead of the usual 1″ diameter bars that are in most gyms around the world. A thick-handled dumbbell with a diameter of 2.5″ is great because it simulates grabbing a man’s wrist.
Perform holds for maximum time or deadlifts for singles or reps. Those who want to ramp up their supporting strength to the highest level possible should start using thick-handled bars exclusively in their training programs. You can perform your standard weight training exercises that involve holding onto a bar. The only difference is that you’ll be using a thick-handled bar.
Training your crushing grip with hand grippers will also enable you to grab and hold onto clothing – like in a self-defense situation – with more strength and strength-endurance, which will greatly improve your chances of emerging unscathed. Holds for time – where the hand gripper is closed and held shut for as long as possible – are a good method of training for the beginner.
Intermediate and advanced trainees buy progressively more difficult hand grippers with more tension than the beginner-model hand grippers and use more varied methods of training. Performing multiple sets of multiple reps, using only three fingers to close the hand gripper – instead of four, and performing forced reps are a few ways that more advanced trainees mix up their crushing grip training.
Pinch grip can be trained in a gym or at home. Take two 10lb weight plates and place them with the smooth sides facing out. Now position your thumb on one side of the plates and your fingers on the other side. Squeeze the thumb and fingers and try to smash them together even though the weight plates are inbetween them. You can hold the plates for maximum time or do multiple lifts with them. Add weight by increasing the number of 10lb weight plates that you pinch or tie weight plates to the other weight plates with a heavy-duty belt or rope.