One of my favorite gym exercises of all time is the dead lift. You can work almost every muscle group and walk away feeling like a beast. However, I have always had one problem I could not overcome…my grip. My legs and body were able to handle lots of weight, but my hands were always the weakest links. I tried the straps, but it felt like cheating.
I was, and still am, very motivated to work on my grip and have found a few exercises I love.
The first is an oldie, but still a goodie. The hand grip squeezers that are almost cliché to anyone with a weight bag, but they are great for the office or on long drives.
Next, I have found that adding soft bulk to the chin up bar helps too. For example, take a towel and wrap it around the bar before you grip it. You are forced to squeeze harder to keep from slipping off of the bar. It is a great method and my forearms are always burning after doing this. To make it even more challenging, use a tennis ball in each hand and then go from there. It adds more challenge because you can’t fully grip the bar. This was stolen from an MMA workout I saw and it is very hard to do.
The last two exercises are ones my brothers and I used to do when we were kids playing with the sand filled weights in our basement. Take a broomstick and tie a thin rope (clothes line) around the middle. Then tie the other end around a small (five or ten pound weight) and twist the stick. Wrap the rope around as you twist and bring the weight up off of the ground. You need to make sure you have a lot of slack in the rope to start so there are a few good wraps before you actually begin to pull the weight. If not, the weight will twist the knot and work against you. Get the weight up to the top and then twist it back down to the ground. This
The other exercise is a poor man’s version of the other. Take a hand towel and soak it in a sink. Then wring out all of the water. You will find you have to put a lot of effort into getting it all out of the towel. Then do it again and again until you are exhausted. For added fun, after you think you have every drop out, hand it to a friend to see if they can get any more. The competition will drive you even more.
Grip strength is one area many people struggle with, but these exercises will really help in the long run.