Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Get a grip

I used to be absolutely shocking at kettlebell snatches, a few months ago I'd hang from a bar like a dead fish, and doing one rep of a deadlift (correctly) was something I always struggled with.  Training for hours every week made me physically strong and fit, no doubt, but I just wasn't performing as optimally as I knew I could.

Doing high repetition drills were nightmarish, I felt like I had the physical strength, but my hands just couldn't keep up with the pace. The same goes for my pull up power, I could pull off one rep of a chin up, on a narrow bar while kipping, but the chance of me completing a strict wide hand pull up on a 2" bar was as believable as Bill Clinton's statements surrounding Monica Lewinsky.

It just made me realize that there really is no such thing as a person with weak hands and a strong body, it just does not work that way.

The sad reality of the situation is that very few people actually work on this area of strength, and we can only put that down to ignorance.  If you are going to attack the gym day after day with no guidance from a professional, its an area you are going to think very little about.  Improving your grip strength has a positive correlation on your over all strength.

Try flipping a tire or grabbing a sandbag and actually pressing it, running with it, rowing it, or throwing it.  If you cant hold the damn thing, how are you going to move it? Weak hands are going to effect your potential in so many areas.  Weak hands, wrists and fingers are only going to limit your potential.

Improving this strength is not only for enhancing your lifting potential but is essential for combat athletes too.  Weak hands are disastrous for performance in battle, your hands are what generates and transfers your strength throughout your body.  Weak hands produce very little force and strong hands do damage.  Weak hands equal weak fighters.

A strong grip improves your dexterity, enables you to lift heavier, builds endurance in your hands and builds injury resilience.  Then again its also not what you do, but how you do it.  There are so many gadgets on the market today for improving your grip strength, but if you don't want to get your ass handed to you its going to take a lot more than some mechanism to enable you to bend horse shoes.

When using kettlebells probably one of the best things you could do is juggling, and anything that involves bottoms up moves and pinch gripping, otherwise incorporate bar hangs, rope work, rope pull ups, wrist rolling (I was recently introduced to this, and it has already done wonders for me) otherwise if you with a trained professional work on levering and plate pinching.

I still have much to learn about grip strength, but with the little work I have done improving this area I can already feel the vast difference and have already broken more personal records having incorporated it into my training.

So come to grips with your weaknesses and get a grip on your strengths.

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