Name a bodyweight or gym exercise that doesn't use forearms or grip strength. From pull ups and hanging leg raises to dips, the amount of reps and sets you are able to complete often depends on the strength of your forearms and grip. Since the muscles in the forearm and hands are smaller than the larger muscles used in many Freeletics exercises, such as triceps and back, without adequate training, they often become the first to fatigue and the reason we struggle or give up. Time to find out more, we say.
Get a grip...but which one?
The strength of your grip depends on which grip you use and how often you train it. The strongest grip during hanging and pull-up exercises is usually a neutral grip, where your palms are facing each other. Other grips include pronated (palms facing away) and supinated (palms facing towards you). All grips should be trained, not only for grip strength, but also shoulder health as they stretch and strengthen your shoulders in different ways.
Stronger grip, stronger core
Gripping creates the effect of “Irradiation”. This means that you generate full body tension as well as harder abdominal contractions when you grip firmly. Try to squeeze the bar during pull ups and you might be able to bang out a few more reps than usual. The same principal works well for whilst doing bench press.
In strength and conditioning, as well as in the functional training world, we love to work on grip strength by doing a variety of hanging exercises. Pull Ups and Passive/active hangs are the most popular, and should be done with different types of grips as to holistically train the muscles in the forearms and hands. Toes-to-bars and gym exercises such as heavy deadlifts work the grip effectively as well, which translates to functional strength during everyday activities.
Grip training can be done multiple times a week. Grip training is on the low end of the spectrum when it comes to central-nervous-system fatigue. That means that your body (brain, motor units and muscles) recover fairly quickly (24-48h) after a hard training session of working your grip. Since adding a grip-focused session to your workout routine two or three times a week can lead to serious rep and set gains, we’ve added this valuable exercise to some of our brand new workouts, such as Erebos.
Take on the challenge. It’ll have you hanging on for dear life.