I always had an amazement with training my grip. You could see all these amazing athletes doing weird feats of strength like tearing decks of cards, bending nails, ripping phone books, and even turning frying pans into rolled up newspapers. This fascinated me immensely and drove me to do what they did, or at least try to.
Training my forearms became a daily thing not because I was doing it for a sports performance benefit but because I wanted to do these circus-like activities. However, a by-product of this training was extreme increases in my performance on the football field.
There was nothing that could break my grasp and I later found out that a strong grip is directly related to overall strong performance on the football field. This further peaked my interest when it came to training your hand for sports performance increases.
Types Of Grip Strength
There are two types of crushing grip strength, passive and active. Your passive crushing strength is your hand crushing down on a kettlebell handle or on a barbell. And active crushing strength is when you are crushing down on a hand gripper or when you are crushing someone into submission during a handshake.
Pinch strength is when you are limiting the movements in your finger knuckles and actively moving your fingers toward your thumb and vice versa. This style of grip strength can be seen when you try one hand pick up a stone or paver. It can also be seen when you pick up places that are put face to face.
Support strength is also called open hand strength. This is when you can hold onto something thicker such as thick handled barbells, or thick pipes etc. Support strength is also used when you are doing things like farmers carry, or having to engage your grip for long periods of time, thus the name supporting strength.
Train Your Extensors
A lot of coaches and athlete forget entirely about the muscles that open the hand. These muscles rarely get the attention they deserve. The extensor of the hand is responsible for keeping your hand from staying closed. You can always tell when someone has an overactive flexor because they have a very hard time opening their hand.
This restriction of movement is only opening up the opportunities for injury. These muscles are going to help keep the wrist, and the elbow healthy as well as act as good antagonist muscles for the flexor muscles.
An easy way to train your extensor muscles is to simply get a really thick rubber band, one that you can find on broccoli at the grocery store should work just fine. Put it on the fingernails and simply open and close your hand for 3-5 sets of 20. Simple and effective way to keep your extensors awake and healthy.
Stretch It Out
As the flexors help fight against the constantly active flexor muscles a good way to keep them at bay is to stretch them out. We are always using our flexor muscles and sometimes we need to loosen them up. Stretching out your forearms is going to help keep them from being over tonic (active) and also help stave off injury.
The muscles in the forearm cover some very important nerves to the hands and having sticky, tight muscles around them can cause some nerve issues in the hands. Take the time to stretch out your flexors by bringing the hand toward your face and vice versa your palm for your extensors.
Take care of your forearms, just like you take care of the other parts of your body. Your forearms are extremely important. If you have ever been through an injury in your hand or forearm you know that it is hard to get anything done properly. You can’t train the same and you can’t get work done that you would normally get done.
Take the time when you are getting work done to hit your forearms. Do self-massage, foam rolling, and even take the time to do some active recovery exercises. Do not just assume that your forearms do not need the same work the rest of your body does. They are an important aspect of the human body and they serve a vital role in athletes.
Do not allow your forearms and your hand strength to fall by the wayside. Take the time to strengthen them and take the time to make sure they are healthy. A strong and healthy grip strength will help your performance on the field. Learning just a little bit about forearm strength will allow you to become somewhat well rounded.
You are only as strong as your weakest link. And a large percentage of people, their weakest link generally speaking is their grip strength. If the grip is strengthening then they will become more well rounded as an athlete.