a Grip! The Benefits of Grip and Wrist Training, and How to Do It
by Sárka-Jonae Miller
See more articles by Sárka-Jonae Miller
(The Best Years in Life)
Only the most dedicated exercisers
consider working out their hands and forearms, but wrist and grip training
offers many benefits, most that have nothing to do with bodybuilding. For
example, you'll be able to open jars without asking for help. If that isn't
enough, these exercises will allow you to give better shoulder rubs and will
reduce the chances of injuries like carpel tunnel syndrome.
wrists don't actually have muscles, you have to strengthen the muscles in your
hands and forearms. A simple way to do that is to get a flexible resistance bar,
which is a short, lightweight exercise tool that is actually a lot of fun.
exercise you can do with a resistance bar is the flexion and extension wringing
motion. You effectively pretend the bar is a wet hand towel you've rolled up and
are now wringing water out of. Alternating wringing the bar in one direction and
then the other causes each wrist to flex and then extend, strenghening your
muscles and tendons while also improving grip strength.
If you happen
to have a basketball you can improve forearm strength by dribbling. This works
standing up or even seated in a chair. If you want to give your core a workout
at the same time, dribble the basketball while sitting on an exercise ball. It's
harder than you think, but the point is to get your wrist moving up and down,
which builds strength through flexion.
your wrists in the opposite manner as dribbling, use very light dumbbells or
even water bottles to perform wrist curls. Holding a dumbbell in each hand with
the palms facing up and your elbows bent, curl your wrists without moving the
rest of your arms.
If you feel
at all uncomfortable, sit down and rest the back of your forearms on your
thighs. Also, consider using a lighter weight.
complete forearm exercise you can't just do exercises that require your wrists
to move up and down. You also have to strengthen them in a side to side motion
against gravity. Using dumbbells as if they were hammers improves strength where
you need it.
Simply hold a
light dumbbell in one hand with your thumb on top as you would hold a hammer.
Bend your elbow and place your arm against your side. Then, move the dumbbell up
and down as if you were hammering something. Switch arms when you're tired.
Most of the
above exercises focus on forearm strength with only a little challenge to your
hands for improving grip strength. Although your forearm muscles work in
conjuction with the muscles in your hands and even your upper arms, it's
important to also perform exercises like squeezing a tennis ball to target the
muscles responsible for gripping onto something and holding tight – like the lid
of a jar.
tennis ball as hard as you're able for 3 to 5 seconds. Relax momentarily and
then squeeze again. Switch hands after doing this a few times.
Rubber Band Extensions
ball squeeze builds strength by flexing your fingers, but to strengthen the
fingers and hand with the opposite motion simply bring the tips of your fingers
and thumb close together on one hand, place a rubber band around the digits, and
then spread your fingers wide. You can adjust the difficulty of the exercise by
lifting the band higher toward your fingertips.
exercises done as a unit should greatly increase the strength of your hands,
fingers, and forearms overtime but as with any new type of exercise don't overdo
it. You might only want to do a few repetitions of each and then see how you
feel. Gradually increase the duration or number as the exercises feel easier.
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About the Author
Sárka-Jonae Miller is a health and fitness expert. She began working in the
fitness industry in 2000 while pursuing a BS in journalism at Syracuse
University. She became certified as a personal fitness trainer and group
exercise instructor in 2003. She has also received training in massage therapy.
Sárka also writes fiction. She is the author of the chick lit novel,
Boyfriends. Get more health and wellness tips on Sárka's
Natural Healing Tips
blog or join her on
Sarka-Jonae Miller's "Between Boyfriends eBook"
When "the one" breaks her heart, Jan vows
to change. Read the book
Hollywood & Vine magazine says "presents a unique
twist on the chick-lit genre."
Click on the image above for more details.
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