F&N Offical introduction to Hand and Grip Strength

Discussion in 'Fitness & Nutrition Archives' started by Grouch, Jan 21, 2005.

  1. Grouch

    Grouch Guest

    OT F&N Guide to grip strength. This is an attempt to give people new to grip specific training an introduction to it so they can develop a strong foundation in their training using CoC Grippers and equipment already at there gyms.

    I'd like to thank Ceaze for his help in gathering much of this information. And b-stevens for hosting some of the pictures. If there is anything anyone wants to add or has questions on please feel free to post.

    First there are 4 different types of grip strength. Naturally excelling in of form does not nessicerily mean you will naturally excel in another.

    The 4 types of grip strength are.

    CRUSHING STRENGTH:

    Often measured by using squeezable "grippers", this type of strength uses the fingers and the palm/base of hand. The thumb does not play a significant role in this type of grip. The advantage of this type of strength is the ability to squeeze something very tightly.

    PINCHING STRENGTH:

    It involves the use of the opposition of the thumb and fingers, and relates to the gripping of larger objects. Many trainees with good crushing strength are disappointed to find that their pinching strength is quite weak. This is because they have not trained their thumbs effectively! The thumb contributes the same amount of force to this grip as do the fingers.

    HOLDING STRENGTH:

    This is the type of grip strength that I think most of us here are most familier with.This type of strength involves the holding of weight without hand motion.

    WRIST STRENGHT:

    While it may not directly impact grip strength, having a strong wrist is an essential part of lower-arm strength

    Reasons to train grip:

    Beginners need grip strength to develop the lats and traps. Advanced trainees need it to re-balance size, symmetry and function (a competitive edge). The smaller your wrist circumference, the more grip strength specialization you'll need.

    Studies on bodybuilders indicate that your lower arm must be at least 75% of your upper arm circumference (the average girth is 12.5" amongst contest winners). Additionally, studies have proven that strength is highly correlated to the cross sectional area (CSA) of the muscle and the lower arm flexors have greater mass potential than the extensors. This is opposite that of the upper arm where the extensors (triceps) have greater potential.

    Crushing Pinching Supporting Wrist/Forearm

    Powerlifters: med low high med

    Olympic lifters: med low high med

    Highland Games: med-high low high high

    Arm wrestlers: high high med high

    Strongman: high low high high

    Grip masters: high high high high

    Martial artists: med-high high low high

    Police officers: high high low med

    Firefighters: med med high high

    Musicians: med high low low

    Rock climbers: med high high med

    Rodeo riders: high low med med

    Golfers: high low low high

    Tennis players: high low low high

    Wrestlers: high med med high

    Baseball players: high low low high

    Football players: med high low med

    Boxers: high med low high

    Track & field throwers: med high med high


    Training the Various forms of Grip Strenght


    It is always a good idea to warm up the hands and fingers before training them. Personally I like to hold a tight fist for a few seconds, repeat that a few times. Then while still in the fist slowly and with a little isometric force extend each finger individually and do small circular rotations. I also like to massage my hands a little before, and in between sets.

    Hot/cold contrast baths - I work my grip hard and this is the main recovery tool I use. In my opinion except for rest, this is the best thing you can do for your hands. Fill two buckets with water, the first as hot as you can stand it, the second with cold and some ice. Put your hands in the hot water first, work your joints a bit 1 - 2 minutes. Then put your hands in the cold for about the same amount of time. - k9style -



    Crushing Strength:

    With the resent OT F&N crazy about the use of the Captains of Crush Grippers I will be putting a little more detail and tips in about their use.

    This is a Captain of Crush Gripper. It is a very high quality gripper unlike most others you will find in your average athletic store.
    [​IMG]

    There is a “proper” way to hold a gipper. First thing to do is to find the “dogleg” of the gripper. By looking at the spring you will notice that one side where the spring is attached to the handle is a little straighter than the other. This straighter side is the dogleg.

    Not the dogleg side
    [​IMG]
    The dogleg side
    [​IMG]

    This is the side that you want to rest in the palm of your hand. Doing this gives you a little more leverage on the gripper.

    You also do not want to hold the gripper to close to the spring as that takes away the leverage you get on the handles. Holding farther down on the gripper so that your pinky is nearly falling off is a good place to start when finding your comfortable position.

    You’ll also notice that the handle of my gripper that goes into the fingers is coverd in electrical tape. This does make for a slightly slicker surface but really saves the skin on the fingers which is on of the things that prevented me from being able to get the most reps I could out.

    There are a variety of training techniques that can be employed using the grippers. These include partials, negatives and forced reps. Strap holds have proven popular in working up to closing the next level gripper. If you want to be able to perform many sub-maximal squeezes; train at a lower intensity with that goal in mind. Likewise if your goal is to generate great power in one squeeze, plan your training accordingly.

    Two of the popular methods of training to complete a close of a gripper that is currently just a bit to hard; are negative reps and strap holds/pinches.

    Negative reps are where you close the gipper with both hands then hold it for time with a single hand. Strap hold/pinches get is name from using a weightlifting strap and putting it between the ends of the handles and squeazing the gripper in the is. Here is a variation of it using a towel.

    http://www.ironmind.com/ironcms/opencms/IronMind/GripTips/griptip30.html

    Here is more information on gripper training with a sample routine too.

    The Set
    “Setting” the gripper basically means that you are using your other hand to help position the gripper in your hand. You are also closing the gripper far enough so that you can wrap your pinky around the handle and put it in a good position to close the gripper. It may take you a few days or a few weeks to completely grasp the “feel” of setting the gripper but once you do you will reap the benefits immediately. You will soon find a ‘sweet spot’ in your palm for the handle to rest. That allows you to get the best possible leverage. When I set a gripper in my right hand, I use my left thumb to press one gripper handle firmly into my right palm, while at the same time using my left index finger to pull the other handle closer so my pinky can wrap around it better. Despite having 8” long hands, I have relatively short fingers and don’t have an easy time closing grippers without a set. See Figures 1 and 2 below, and Figure 3 of the “set” gripper.



    Figure 1
    [​IMG]


    Figure 2
    [​IMG]

    Figure 3

    [​IMG]

    Under no circumstances would you want to set the gripper any further than parallel, and in fact if you were interested in certifying on the HG400 or HG500, you would only be allowed to set the gripper enough to get your hand around it a little. That is, you don’t want to use your other hand to help you squeeze it so far that the handles are nearly parallel with each other like in Figure 4. It makes the rest of ‘the close’ easier because you can get some added leverage. Why not do it then, if it’s easier? Because it doesn’t develop stronger hands, and didn’t you buy the grippers to develop stronger hands in the first place?

    If you want to develop truly strong hands, work on using a very shallow set and practicing ‘no-set’ closes. ‘No-set’ means you don’t use the other hand to set the gripper at all and you squeeze the gripper completely closed using one hand only. These types of squeezes are much tougher and will make your hands strong. But if you don’t have large hands, this can be difficult. Figure 5 is a video of a no-set close of the HG300. However, don’t use hand size as an excuse for you not to use ‘no-set’ closes in your training. If you can no-set close the HG100, then you have the hand size to no-set close the HG150, 200, 250, and 300. All feats of grip strength rely on hand strength, not hand size. One of the unique things about Heavy Grips™ is that all the grippers have a standard handle spread of 2.5”, allowing more people to be able to close the gripper with a shallow set or no set at all.

    The Squeeze
    After the gripper is set, the other hand is taken away and you begin to crush the handles together. There isn’t much explanation necessary for this part and the best advice I can give is squeeze hard! The closer the handles get to touching, the more your pinky and ring finger come into play.

    Anyone familiar with the use of dynamic resistance in weight lifting, such as using large rubber bands or chains to add additional tension on a barbell, will recognize that gripper springs are also a form of dynamic resistance. The idea behind using bands and chains is that it teaches you to lift the weight explosively to blast through sticking points that you would normally encounter. As such, a gripper should be closed as fast as possible. If you don’t explosively squeeze the handles together, you will not get nearly as close to closing them than if you had crushed them quickly and will find yourself at the same frustrating sticking point.


    Inverted Closes
    Because squeezing the gripper in a standard position with the spring pointing up as shown above really works those last two fingers, if you want strong hands you should make it a point to include some ‘inverted closes’ to focus on strengthening your index and middle fingers. Inverted just means that the spring is pointing towards the ground. Setting a gripper in the inverted position is a little more tricky than a standard position, but take your time with it. No-set inverted gripper squeezes are also great. Figures 6 and 7 show an inverted set and close

    Warm-up:

    6-8 repetitions on a very easy gripper each hand. I do this just to get a little blood flowing to my hands. Those cheap store bought grippers work fine for this.

    6-8 repetitions with a very easy gripper each hand, but this time do it inverted.

    HG100 Closes – 3 each hand, and 3 attempts inverted

    Workout:

    HG150 (goal gripper) Attempts – 5 each hand, and 5 inverted too

    Negatives* with HG200 – 3 negatives each hand, holding for 3-5 seconds each time

    Braced or Choked Attempts* on HG150 – 3-4 each hand depending on how tired your hands are

    *Negatives and Braced/Choker Attempts are explained in the Intermediate/Advanced article

    Cool-down:

    Contrast baths – one bowl filled with hot water and another with cold water. Put your hands into one bowl, slowly stretching and flexing your fingers and then put them into the other bowl and do the same. Repeat several times.

    Routine Notes and Progression

    If you are feeling “off” and not up to 100% strength, you can reduce the number of squeezes during the warm-up so the bulk of your energy and strength go into the goal gripper squeezes. I take no less than a minute in between gripper squeezes so my hands can recover a bit. Keep to this program 3 times a week for 3 weeks, then add in another workout so you are using the grippers 4 times a week. The next week, add in another day per week. From there, use your best judgment as to how often you should train. If you are an advanced grip enthusiast, you may choose to work your grip every day for a week and then take a week off. I’ve done this many times after slowly working back up in volume and it has helped a lot. As you increase the number of workouts you do per week, also increase the number (volume) of gripper squeezes.

    Closing your goal gripper can be very rewarding and can take your hand strength to new levels. As you get more experienced, don’t be afraid to experiment with any ideas you have on training. And if you get stuck at that last 1/8” and aren’t making any noticeable progress, take a week off and then close that sucker




    Pinching Strength:

    The simplest way to train your pinch grip is to grab two wide-rimmed plates and put them together with the smooth sides facing outward. Now, put your thumb on one side, fingers on the other, and lift.
    [​IMG]
    I have no clue about that messed up finger btw. :eek3:

    Another is to grab the inner hub of a 25lbs and up late and try to pick it up from there.
    [​IMG]

    If you would like to be a little constructive you can build a small device from a 2x4 (or other sized lumber). Cut a sort length of 2x4 and attatch a eyebolt to the thin side and hold on to the board with weight hanging off of it.

    Holding Strengh:

    This is the form of hand strength that I think most of us here are most familier with due to its nessesity for deadlifting and shrugs.

    Using a thick bar is often used for training of holding strength. This maybe a problem for many of us because we do not have access to any bars outside of standard Olypmic bars.

    In order to make your own thick bar, you can buy a 7' length of cold-rolled steel (hot-rolled steel is weaker) from a local steel supplier. By centering a 5' length of steel pipe with a 2" inside diameter over your 7' bar, you'll create a thick bar with a 2 3/8" diameter and 12" sleeves on each end for your Olympic plates. If you aren't into making your own thick bar, check out www.ironmind.com or www.fractionalplates.com for a variety of thick bars and thick dumbbell handles.

    If using a thick bar is out of the question, deadlifts without straps, static holds and or farmers walks are great exercises to improve this strength.

    Wrist Strength:

    The last portion of building complete, powerful hands is building wrist strength. You can work your wrists well with the conventional wrist curl, but I suggest that you do wrist curls using a thick bar or thick dumbbells if at all possible. The extra thickness of the bar takes this exercise to a completely new level of difficulty. For purely building strength, I'd suggest doing no more than 6-8 reps per set. Brooks Kubick recommends doing heavy singles, but I would ease into these gingerly.

    Another simple method for training the wrist without unusual equipment is to simple load one end of a dumbbell and perform exercises like rotating the hand right, left, up and down while not moving the elbow. You may want to support your forearm across you leg or a bench while doing these in a seated position. For these, anything from medium to high repetitions would be fine. I personally don't think heavy singles or extreme low-rep work would provide benefits outweighing the potential for injury during this exercise. I would stick to sets of at least 6 repetitions

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Overview:

    Now this is obviously just a brief introduction to wrist and grip training. Not every person is going to like every exercise and some may find that their own rep and set sceams. There are dozen of exersizes not listed here that all will improve your hand and grip power.

    If you want to look into grip training further check out these links and enjoy our new found hands of iron.

    http://www.ironmind.com/ironcms/opencms/IronMind/GripTips/griptip.html
    http://www.mmaringreport.com/columns/lee_6_gripstrength.htm
    http://www.veganbodybuilding.org/martinwhittredtraining.htm
    http://www.mindandmuscle.net/content/page-104.html
    http://www.t-nation.com/readTopic.do?id=459981
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 17, 2005
  2. Ilyusha

    Ilyusha Guest

    :bigthumb:

    I love reading stuff like this.. as well as the magazine that comes to my door from IronMind :)
     
  3. pt

    pt New Member

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    Awesome fucking post. I wish more of OT F & N was posts like this :coold:

    Grouch, do you think it's accurate to say that grip strength is absolutely crucial for powerlifters and slightly less crucial for bodybuilders or no ?
     
  4. Perkwunos

    Perkwunos Dog Bones OT Supporter

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    good read
     
  5. Ilyusha

    Ilyusha Guest

    Grip strength is crucial for both, as well as for many other facets of the ahtletic world.
     
  6. Grouch

    Grouch Guest



    Well I'm still just in the very beginning of my grip training so I'm not an authority by any means.

    The Iron mind catalog has a great chart that rates what type of grip strength is most important to what sport. I can't find it on the web site and I don’t have a copy of the catalog here. So if anyone does they could post it that would be great.

    But IMO I think grip strength is far more important for the powerlifter than the body builder. On one of the sites I found in the last few nights one of them made references to taking the grippers to the Arnold and none of the body builders who tried it could close the 2. Though I can’t tell you how true that is.
     
  7. SteveO

    SteveO Guest

    Location: Gilroy, CA
    Posts: 9,999
     
  8. armond

    armond New Member

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    yes I concur, great read!
     
  9. Leo95SE

    Leo95SE The OMINOUS one

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    very good article.. :thumbsup:
     
  10. Grouch

    Grouch Guest

    sticky :x:
     
  11. cavefish

    cavefish You ain't a crook son, you just a shook one

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    Consider it stickied.

    Good information here, hopefully people can continue to add to it.
     
  12. Grouch

    Grouch Guest

    ahhhh sure. Though I dont think that would work pinch strength. At least not in the way im picturing it.
     
  13. Ceaze

    Ceaze https://hearthis.at/DoYouEvenUplift Moderator

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    also if you're going to purchase a Captains of Crunk gripper, the majority of people will want to start off with the Trainer, seriously
     
  14. PurEvl

    PurEvl going out gassed and not half assed...

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    BB'ers dont care about grip, although mine is crazy since I did alot of non strap work. But nowadays most use straps so they dont fatigue the forearms before the muscle there working. We would rather have 100% on say the back then the bi/forearm going out first on us.
     
  15. Ilyusha

    Ilyusha Guest

    Crushing strength.
     
  16. Perkwunos

    Perkwunos Dog Bones OT Supporter

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    people who try to crush ur hands when shaking them are :greddy:
    nice and firm> crush
     
  17. nukegoat

    nukegoat New Member

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    I agree. I started with the number 1 and to begin training with it was arduous. I could barely close it...

    you need to be able to work through the dynamic range for it to be effective at all...

    I can hold onto 405 but its still not easy to close the #1. I can get only 2-3 reps from the left hand (though i can get close to 10 with the right)



    Great thread, overall
     
  18. Filmboy44

    Filmboy44 Guest


    :werd: you are only as strong as your weakest link. Last night my grip gave out on SLDL's with only 335...

    this is why I would prefer grip strength
     
  19. Grouch

    Grouch Guest

    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 26, 2005
  20. SteveO

    SteveO Guest

    somebody that has money to spend, please buy these and compare them to COC!
     
  21. mtnbike4522

    mtnbike4522 CelicaTech.com

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    I have one of thoes cheap plastic handle grippers at work that i can do about 40 reps with. Should i get the 140lb coc?
     
  22. Ilyusha

    Ilyusha Guest

    Yes.
     
  23. Grouch

    Grouch Guest

    I'd get the trainer.
     
  24. mtnbike4522

    mtnbike4522 CelicaTech.com

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    so one yes and one 100lb
     
  25. Ceaze

    Ceaze https://hearthis.at/DoYouEvenUplift Moderator

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    definitely start with the trainer
     

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