Whether carrying a load of grocery bags, walking the dog, or quickly reaching out and grabbing your kid before he or she dashes across the street without looking – grip strength is very important to every mom!
Simply put, grip strength is a measure of how much force or power you can create with your forearm and hand muscles.
Having a strong grip is a good indicator of upper-body and overall strength because you need to be able to hold onto weights in order to increase muscle strength. Weak hand and wrist muscles are super common, though, according to Liana Tobin, CSCS, a personal trainer educator for the National Strength and Conditioning Association. “When you’re doing a workout with challenging weights, grip strength is often the first thing to fail,” she says. “That’s because it involves smaller muscles that tire quickly, and they’re typically trained less frequently.” All the more reason to spend time strength training your hands and forearms if you aren’t already.
In fact, Tobin says that even the most active women, and those who work out regularly, often ignore the value of improving grip strength. She says that improving grip strength is “all about strength training those tiny muscles in your hands.”
I can relate. I do workout regularly, more than 2 hours every day, and I remember developing tendonitis, and having to wear hand and wrist braces, when our daughter now 17, was born, and I was carrying around a baby and then a toddler for many years.
Why Is Grip Strength So Important to Women?
Toning those micro muscles is beneficial outside the gym too. Here are five benefits of have a strong grip.
- It can help prevent tendinitis
- You’ll reduce your chances of getting carpal tunnel syndrome
- You will decrease the risk of arthritis
- You’ll improve your fine motor skills. This will make everyday things—hooking your bra, throwing or catching a ball—easier.
- You’ll get stronger at the gym because you’ll be able to lift heavier weights
How to Improve Grip Strength
There are several specific exercises you can do in the gym to improve grip strength. However, there are also some simple exercises you can do at home. Tobin suggests:
- Stress-Ball Squeeze – Squish a stress ball (a tennis ball works too) with your entire hand for 5 to 10 pulses. Repeat using just thumb and pointer finger. Progress through each finger. Switch hands and repeat sequence.
- Wrist Rotation – Grasp an unopened wine bottle or the handle of a cast-iron pan, keeping upper arm by side and elbow bent 90 degrees. Rotate bottle or pan toward your midline, bring it back to center, then rotate in the opposite direction. Do two or three sets of 20 to 30 reps. Switch hands and repeat.
- Book Pinch – Using two books of the same size (preferably coffee-table books or textbooks), grip one in each hand, arms at sides. Squeeze with fingers for 30 seconds, then relax for 30 seconds. Do three to five sets.
Do you add routines to your workouts for grip strength? What kind of exercises do you do to improve grip strength? Please reply using the comments below.