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How to Improve Your Grip Strength

Grip strength is a significant factor for different sports such as tennis, baseball, rock or wall climbing, and mixed martial arts. As such, casual exercises and sports pros alike are always looking for the best ways to improve grip strength.

Some sports require serious grip strength, such as baseball, tennis, and lacrosse. Your level of hand strength can make or break your performance in these activities.

Below, we’ll provide actionable tips on how to improve grip strength. We’ll also take a closer look at what types of exercise you can do at home.

How to Increase Grip Strength with Exercise

Perform these exercises to increase your hand and finger strength:

1. Wrist Curls

If you’ve ever asked someone how to improve grip strength, the first they’d tell you is to probably try wrist curls. 

Wrist curls are one of the most common exercises for hand strengthening because it targets specific muscles in your forearm. Just like any other exercise, wrist curls should be performed with proper form and precision. You’ll also need dumbbells or weighted barbells to get started. 

Here’s how to do this exercise safely and effectively:

  • Prepare dumbbells or weighted barbells and a bench or chair. If you’re a beginner, use dumbbells so you can focus on one forearm at a time.
  • Grab the weights, assume a seated position, and hold them with your palm facing upwards.
  • With a straight back, place the weights on your knees so that your wrists are hanging.
  • Slowly lift the weights up and down to engage the muscles on your forearms. Each movement should be slow and controlled to avoid straining your wrists with the weights.
  • Exhale as you lift your wrists upwards and inhale as you flex them downward. Your movement should only be focused on your wrists. Be careful not to move your forearm when flexing.
  • Perform a single set of 10 or 15 reps. After that, take a short break then perform another set. 

2. Pinching Weight Plates

Performing pinching weight plates is a great exercise to improve hand grip strength. As the name suggests, what you’ll be doing is grasping weight plates between your thumb and index fingers.

All you need are a couple of weight plates and a pinch grip to perform this exercise. The exercise will target your fingers and forearm. Follow these steps:

  • Start by choosing a weight plate with a weight you’re comfortable to grab onto and lift with your fingers and hands.
  • Grab the plates and hold them on their rounded edge with your two index fingers or thumb. Lift the plates slowly and hold them in front of you or on both sides of your body.
  • Hold this position for 30 seconds. 

If you can hold the weight plates for 30 seconds without difficulty, increase the weight of the plates and hold the position for longer. You can also increase the number of reps.

3. Use a Hand Grip

Hand grips are lever-type devices you squeeze to strengthen the muscles on your arms. Specifically, it’ll increase your “crushing” and “support” grip strength. They’re the same muscles at work when you’re making a fist.

To perform a hand grip exercise, follow this simple guide below:

  • Position the hand grip’s handle at a 45 degree angle on your palm.
  • Place your thumb above the handle and your fingers on the bottom part of the handle on the other side. Keep your pinky finger slightly hanging below the handle.
  • Tighten your fingers around the grippers. Try to close the space between the grippers to work your forearm muscles.
  • Try to get both handles to touch with each rep. 

The number of reps will depend on your preference. You can perform around 15 to 20 reps if your fingers can handle it. If you’re still starting out, you can try around 5 to 8 reps for each hand. 

Another thing you can do is prolong your grip when you get both handles of your gripper to touch. If you can, try to hold the position for about 15 to 20 seconds before letting go. 

4. Perform Finger Extensions

To perform a finger extension, you’ll need a resistance band. Wrap the band around your fingers then extend your fingers as far as they can until they’re fully spread apart. Perform 10 reps.

Once you can easily flex your fingers and the resistance isn’t doing much anymore, add another band or a thicker one. This will make it harder for you to fully spread out your fingers.

5. Deadlift holds

Deadlift holds are great for improving grip strength. Here’s how to do it:

  • Grab the bar with a shoulder-width grip. Bend your knees until your shins touch the bar.
  • Lift your chest, straighten your lower back, and lift the barbell.
  • Hold for 5-10 seconds and perform 3-5 reps.

Improve Grip Strength Through Consistency

As with many forms of exercise, consistency is key if you want to improve grip strength. Even though it may seem difficult at first, you’ll need to put forth the effort to keep getting stronger. When that happens, you’ll notice the difference with your iron grip. Just always remember to be careful to avoid injuring your arm.

Want to learn more tips on how to build your strength and stay fit? Feel free to explore the LifeClinic blog.

Dr. Reza Alizadeh

Dr. Reza is the visionary behind LifeClinic. His leadership is the foundation for the patient and team member experience, and overall direction of the LifeClinic. As the creator of IMJT, Dr. Reza continues to be the primary teacher on this technique.

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