Hands are a special part of the human anatomy. The hand comprises of a bone structure, nerves and muscles. This all works in synergy to help pick up, write, type, pull and push. It’s your number one tool! That’s why you should take care of your hands and forearms with hand grip exercises.
It should as no surprise the hands are prey to injury. Those working in manual labour roles and fitness or bodybuilding enthusiasts are even more prone to hand or digit injuries. There are clear benefits to keeping the hands strong and fit. It can prevent injury and keep them functioning for a long time. Hand grip exercises are recommended, as they are simple and effective. However, they should form part of a regular practice in order to strengthen the hands effectively and dynamically.
A good strong hand offers a firm and confident handshake. It shows that initial encounter as one of confidence. A firm handshake is associated with warmth and trustworthiness.
Bodybuilders benefit from strong hands as the weights they lift can be heavier and the grip firmer. It also benefits cricketers, tennis players and golfers – all sports that demand a strong hand. Mountain climbers and rock face ascenders need an excellent hand grip. This gives the rest of the body a chance to climb easily. A good hand grip is imperative to support the weight of the body. This prevents other parts of the body from burden.
Why Hand Grip Exercises Also Benefit the Forearm
The forearm flexors are engaged every time a hand grip is exercised. Practising hand grip exercises, gives the forearms a muscular tone too. Strong hand muscles also mean the level of endurance is improved. If carrying luggage, shopping or parts in a warehouse throughout the day, hand grip exercises will help. There is less fatigue when carrying or moving objects, if the hand is strong and muscular.
There are five main hand grip exercises that can be practiced every day. All of the following can be achieved at home or the local gym. Some of the apparatus needed can be bought cheaply online, which means the entire program can be achieved from home.
The apparatus needed are a pair of hand grippers, a barbell and two lightweight dumbbells. There are essential exercises that should be practiced before the hand grip exercises begin. It is important in any exercise routine to warm up and flex the hand muscles before carrying out these simple tasks.
- Raise the hands in front of the body. Keep the shoulders down. Make sure hands are parallel to the floor, then raise both hands so that the palms are facing the front. The fingers should be straight and pointed upward.
- Hold this position for 30 seconds. Breathe in and out slowly and easily, and then allow the arms to collapse. Shake the arms and hands to lower the tension.
- Hold hands in a fist and point toward the ground for 30 seconds. Shake away the tension as before.
- Make another fist with both hands. This time the thumb should be tucked inside the fist. Twist the hand and hold them straight ahead. The left hand should be drawn in to grab the right fist. The left hand should then pull in the right fist. This sequence should be repeated by swapping the hands over.
Grippers are small devices with two handles and a tension in the centre. Hold the gripper in one hand, and clamp down on it as hard as you can. When you’re ready, pass it to the other hand. The exercise can be repetitive or involve holding in a closed position for a specific time period. Just give it a go and see how you feel.
Where timed hold exercises are concerned, hold as long as possible and try to repeat that period with the other hand. Speed repetition exercise can also be beneficial to hand strength using the gripper.
Ball Squeezing Exercises
Holding a ball in one hand and squeezing is a good way to strengthen the hand. To begin with, try squeezing for one minute. The hand can be raised above the head or held directly out in front of the body. Pass the ball to the other hand and repeat the exercise. This is a great way to exercise your wrists and forearms, but it’s cheap too. You don’t have to buy any specialist equipment like a gripper. Even so, the gripper will give you an edge. It’s a good piece of kit that you can pick up from Amazon or other online stores for cheap, and will exercise your muscles more vigorously. But if you don’t have the money to spare, squeezing a rubber or fabric ball is a good alternative.
Dumbbells help build the muscles in the forearm and the hands simultaneously. This exercise is fairly easy and requires 2 x 5 kg (11 lbs) dumbbells. Pick up both dumbbells and hold at a 90-degree angle. Arms should be bent in front of the body.
The elbows should be positioned by the side of the body and shoulders relaxed. This stance helps to reduce injury or muscle tear during any sudden jerk and lift movement.
At the next point, the dumbbells should be twisted away from the side of the body. Caution should be taken not to place too much strain on the wrist. Once there is sufficient experience in performing this exercise, the wrists can be rotated the opposite way.
Static Barbell Hold
The next hand grip exercise to be reviewed is the static barbell hold. The barbell should be grabbed at the lift area and hoisted up. The arms should be bent and form a 90-degree angle. Keep the upper arm by the side of the body.
The barbell should be held in position for two minutes. Wrists must be kept straight. If this exercise if too difficult first time around, the barbell hold duration should be limited to one minute.
As the exercise advances over weeks, try to wrap a towel around the barbell lift area. This makes the hand grip even tighter. It helps to emphasise the importance of a strong grip. A powerful hand grip is important in sports like wrestling and judo.
Incorporating Other Muscles Leading Down to the Hands
Shoulders and forearms should also be exercised to keep the hands strong. Press-ups and cobra poses are important to build muscles in the shoulders, arms and forearms. The entire range of muscles leading to the hands will help with dexterity and strength across the upper body. Many yoga poses are also dynamic for upper shoulder and forearm strength. As always, mix and match so that you get a varied workout and train as many muscles as possible.