In order to burn fat, boost your metabolism, and prevent plateaus, it’s important that you’re not just lifting weights, but constantly challenging yourself with the weights that you’re lifting during your workout.
Studies show that heavy weight training workouts result in increased fat burning hormone production and metabolic boost that lasts long after the workout is over. (Read more about hormones that impact your metabolism here).
But what do you do when you WANT to challenge yourself during a workout, but can’t get a grip?
How to improve grip strength is one of the most frequently asked questions among our BeyondFit Life ladies who lift. The truth is that having a strong grip isn’t just beneficial for giving a firm handshake.
Improving your grip strength is crucial for lifting heavier weights during your workouts. That means improving your grip a translates into boosting your metabolism and building more muscle at any age.
When it comes to improving your grip strength, here are some tips:
1. Exercise your grip.
It sounds silly, but exercising your grip is something that you can and should be doing. Just like when you exercise other muscles like your biceps or quads, when you begin exercising the muscles that allow you to grip your weights, you’ll notice that grip strength really will improve over time. Here are a few grip exercises you can begin incorporating:
- Crush Grip: crushing is the action of closing your hand around something and squeezing. This would be what you do every time you hold onto a dumbbell.
- Supporting Crush Grip: this is the act of supporting an object with a crush grip where you support most of the load with your fingers. Common examples are carrying a dumbbell, deadlifting or even carrying your grocery bags by the handle.
- Open Crush Grip: this is when you are using a crush grip but your fingers don’t quite touch or overlap. Fat bar or awkward object holds are great to train open crush grip. The real life carry over here would be an easier time opening jars (among other things) when your fingers are spread open. Having a strong open crush grip really comes in handy!
- Hand Extension: this technically isn’t a grip exercise in every sense of the word but it trains from the synergistic muscles to the ones you use for grip. This keeps a healthy muscle balance in your hands and wrists, which aids in preventing injury and overuse of those muscle groups. They will also help your actual grip strength improve!
2. Lift heavy.
In addition to the exercises above, you can train your grip at the same time as the rest of your body by using heavy weights for any push/pull movements like deadlifts, rows, presses, etc. Even things like walking lunges while holding dumbbells provide a opportunity for building a strong grip. Just be sure that you’re actively squeezing the dumbbells with your hands during your workout. This leads to greater grip activation and thus, an improvement in grip strength. Avoid letting the dumbbells drop towards your fingers during your workout, but instead focus on keeping it held firmly in the palm of your hand and wrap your thumb around the dumbbell to hold it in place.
3. Don’t promote weakness.
There are some grip aids (think hooks, etc) that do nothing more than promote a weaker grip. It sounds great on the surface to have a hook help you handle that heavy weight, but these type of products do nothing to improve grip strength over time. Rather than challenging your grip to become stronger, using those tools ends up encouraging your body to rely on help and may actually weaken your grip strength over time.
Are sweaty palms an issue?
Need some extra help as you work on lifting heavy weights and improving that grip strength?
I was recently introduced to “Awesome Chalk,” a new product designed specifically to prevent nasty rips and blisters when lifting heavy weights. If you’re working to improve your grip strength but find that the weights are still slipping, this grip spray will quickly become your secret weapon.
Here’s how it works… When you exercise, you sweat. However, sweaty palms can be detrimental when you want to lift heavy. Not only will you be able to get a grip (literally) with this grip spray, but you’ll also avoid the nasty bacteria that lurks around the weight room in chalk buckets or in dirty, germ breading lifting gloves.
Here’s how to use grip spray for your workout:
- Shake well before each use. Hold can approximately 6-8” from skin and spray until hands are coated for roughly 2 to 3 seconds.
- Experience comfort and control during your workout thanks to our fast-drying formula.
- The alcohol-free and antibacterial formula helps prevent and heal skin abrasions
- Keeps hands conditioned and germ-free without feeling dry.
- This grip spray has all the good stuff and they’ve eliminated the rest. This product is formulated without parabens, sulfates, and GMOs. And of course, no testing on animals ever—just on active people, like you!
SW Encapsulated Defense Technology – The proprietary formula contains antibacterial elements to prevent harmful fungus and skin irritations.
Hyaluronic Acid – Dubbed as the “skin’s hydrating building block,”Hyaluronic Acid has no shortage of benefits. We love its restorative abilities that range from boosting moisture content to soothing irritation—not to mention, an antioxidant barrier against continuous environmental assault.