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How to Improve Your Grip Strength: Does Grip Strength Matter?

Grip strength, for an athlete, is defined as “the muscular power and force that can be generated by the hands.” Every day you do activities that require dexterity in your arms and hands. Opening a jar requires a good grip. Science tells us that our health can be predicted by our grip. Let’s explore how to improve your grip strength and find out if grip strength matters.

A Strong Hand Grip and Sports

If you want to do body-weight or other bodybuilding exercises, grip strength and forearm strength are imperative. To have good control over dumbbells, you need a good, strong grip. You can improve your bench press and other lifts as well with a good, strong grip.

There are about 35 muscles in the hand and forearm that are directly related with grip strength. The muscles and tendons of your forearm, hand, wrist, and fingers all work together to perform the simplest tasks of buttoning a shirt, lacing your shoes, or picking up a fork or a pencil.

Grocery Bags, Bench Press, and Tennis

Just think of the strength and coordination you need to do biceps curls, bench presses and body weight exercises. This also applies to everyday activities like carrying in the groceries, or opening jars. Most sports like tennis and golf require a good, strong grip as well.

It is never too late to develop a hefty grip. If you are strong enough to lift safely, it will help to prevent injuries. Remember the adage, “You are only as strong as your weakest link.” So, we can also say you are as strong as your grip.

Does Grip Strength Matter?

A large-scale, four-year study monitoring 140,000 people defined their grip strength. With each 11-pound decrease they had in grip strength, there was a higher risk of these health issues.

  • Cardiovascular mortality.
  • Heart attack.
  • Stroke.

Poor grip strength jeopardizes your respiratory system as well.

There is an association between grip strength and cardiovascular health. Grip strength may be a stronger predictor of cardiovascular problems than high blood pressure.

Perhaps it is because a strong grip indicates greater lean muscle mass. An active lifestyle and good eating habits generally result in muscle growth. With that in mind, it may demonstrate how grip strength and cardiovascular strength go together.

Your grip strength can be an important indicator of your overall health. Research shows that grip strength is a predictor of muscular endurance and overall health.

Why is Grip Strength Important?

There has also been some clinical research to show that the strength of a person’s hand grip may reflect on an individual’s:

  • Risk of dying from cancer.
  • Extended hospital stays.
  • Higher disability risk.
  • Lower quality of life.

Why You Need to Strengthen Your Grip Strength

There were studies done that found that as you age, your ability to grip and the strength of your gait (mobility – walking) were related.

This study links grip strength to limited mobility as people age. The study shows how improving grip strength and function may improve physical performance and mobility. grip-strength-alone-was-the-strongest-indicator-of-slow-walking

Are You a Slow Walker?

The analysis builds on research identifying grip strength with mobility (gait speed). In men, grip strength alone was the strongest indicator of slow walking. In women, grip strength and body mass index (BMI) were the greatest indicator of slow walking. It is unclear why BMI would be more important for women than for men.

There was a seven times higher risk of developing mobility issues in men with a weak hand grip than in men with a normal hand grip.

Grip Strength and Bone Mass

Good grip strength is an indicator of strong bone mass. Strong muscles and connective tissues within the forearm and hand helps keep your joints healthy and stable.


 


How to Improve Your Grip Strength

Grip training can be done at home with little or no equipment. You can improve your grip at home by these simple exercises.

  1. Wet a cloth or a gym towel – taking each end, twist as tightly as you can to get the water out. Repeat.
  2. Wash your car by hand.
  3. Rake your leaves by hand.


Some Exercises for You to Try

  1. You can purchase a spring-loaded grip trainer.
  2. With a stress ball or a tennis ball, you can clench your fingers (not your thumb) around the ball then relax. Perform at least 50 reps per day for each hand.
  3. Play with clay.
  4. Carry a kettlebell or other weight in each hand. This will improve your balance, coordination, and work your core, thighs, and shoulders.
  5. Plate Pinch – Hold a weight plate at your side for as long as you can. This exercise targets your fingertips.

The American Heart Association and Hand Grip Exercises

Recent reports show that simple hand grip exercises may help lower blood pressure by as much as 10 percent.

A 2018 study concluded that hand grip exercises for at least 4 weeks, effectively reduced resting blood pressure measurement in both men and women, even those with varying health conditions. On average, it appeared greatest among older women.

How to Measure Grip Strength

Grip strength is usually measured with a hand-held dynamometer. The person squeezes the dynamometer with all their strength, typically three times with each hand. Using those numbers, an average score is calculated.

For Muscle Soreness

If you develop muscle soreness while trying to increase your strength, Magnesium cream infused with arnica can be helpful. It can be picked up at Walmart.

In Conclusion

As years pass, so does muscle strength. Does grip strength matter? In this post we learned how to improve your grip strength at home. With a little effort there are simple exercises to do at home, that will go a long way in your longevity. So, squeeze a tennis ball, wash your car, rake the leaves. Carry that heavy load.

Science shows us that our body will thank us if we do.

Please Leave a Comment

Did you know that how well you can grip was a good indicator of your overall health? How can you improve your health?
I would love to hear from you.


Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional. No content on this site should be substituted for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare practitioner. The information contained here is for informational purposes only. It is from my research and personal experience.

6 thoughts on “How to Improve Your Grip Strength: Does Grip Strength Matter?”

  1. Hi. Thanks for pointing out that grip strength equates to our health status. This has never crossed my mind. It makes me wonder if typing away all day long can have an effect on my grip capability.

    I love the ideas of the simple exercises that you provided. We can all easily make use of them daily. This article just goes to show that our body does function as a whole. Ignoring our body extremities can have a negative impact on our overall health.

    Thank you for this great share.

    Carol

    1. Hi Carol, and thanks for stopping by with a comment! There are many simple strengthening exercises to strengthen your hands..

      You can pick up a heavy book by its spine and walk your fingers up and down the length of the spine to increase your grip.

      We do spend many hours at the computer. Our elbows are bent and our palms are turned down. It would be good to do stretches with our elbows extended and our palms turned up to stretch in the opposite direction.

      Another good exercise for those at the computer for hours on end, is simply place a rubber-band around the outside of our 5 fingers on one hand. Open and close the hand in the form of a “C”, to stretch the rubber-band. It is super easy to do, and gets the blood circulating in your fingers and helps balance out the grip in your hands.

      All the best as you try out some of these exercises.

  2. Very practical recommendations in strengthening hand grip. 

    I personally need these tips. My left hand has a very week grip coming from mild stroke.

    I have been doing some of these. I used to lift and toss a 3 pound dumbbell, do pressing on the wall, pull a rubber string tool and transfer mung beans one at a time from one plate to another. I had been inconsistent doing those after a year. Instead, for just a short distance, I am lifting a grocery bag and pails of water with 3.5 dipper content with my left hand, wash my undies by hand and do some flexing exercise. And not to forget, I have included typing with my left fingers just recently. Kitchen duties is a normal activity to me.

    Reading your post, particularly the health impact of the exercises for strengthening hand grip motivated me to get serious and be consistent with my exercises. Thank you for posting this article. It is very helpful for me as well as my mother who is now 84 years old.

    1. Hi Rose, I am sorry to hear about your stroke. There are a few exercises you can do with your hands at home.I hope you can find some benefit from suggestions listed in this post. I found it interesting that walking is related to grip strength. People who do a lot of walking are often healthier for getting this type of exercise. Staying as active as possible goes a long way in staying healthy. All the best to you and your mother.

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