I’ve seen several articles and video posts over the last couple of weeks from “high level” sources taking about grip strength. I know that most of them are just meant to catch your attention and not really deliver much serious information but I still end up shaking my head after wading through them. In my experience thumb strength is the biggest limiting factor in how well you can grip something. Modern society and keyboard use has accelerated hand and thumb weakness.
Most of people taking cover the usual exercises: weight plate pinches and hang bar variations are covered and rightly so. These are the most elementary of hand strength exercises. Most of them leave out kettle bells that, as an intermediate level, are useful for the entire hand and arm complex.
That said, the number one method and holy grail of improving your grip quickly and significantly (get your mind out of the gutter) that will help you control every tie-up situation and win more matches is an actual grip strength tool that lets you close your hand (strength through a range of motion). I find wrestlers with strength built through the range of motion have much better success when dynamic hand fighting is happening during a match.
The next thing that all these experts leave out is long-term hand health. Just working your grip can leave you with many long-term hand health problems. The muscles that open your hand need to be trained for balance or lopsided development can result and create lots of problems as well as not allowing for maximum grip strength development. These extrinsic extensor muscles of the hand are located in the back of the forearm and have long tendons connecting them to bones in the hand. You can tell how balanced your muscles are when your hand is relaxed how closed your fingers are. Most serious strength athletes have a slightly closed hand but full strength in closing and opening the hand through a full range of motion. This is critical in wrestling when grabbing to control a tie up or when trying to get out of being controlled at the hand. In the general population you can see hand closure become more pronounced as people age.
I have used Iron Mind products over the years with so much success that I can’t believe that everyone isn’t using them. Maybe the experts use them but don’t want the secret to get out without compensation. What makes Iron Mind different? They have a range of hand gripper types that have exact weights associated to them. Having true weights associated with each gripper makes training much simpler than a gripper that you have to guess the weight.
If you go down this road to get a real grip and win more hand fights follow the directions. Don’t mindlessly crank out reps on a gripper. That can cause injury and long-term health problems too.
Grip strength can actually have long-term health implications, too. The Lancet did a major study and the findings revealed that lack of grip strength is a stronger predictor for death from any cause.More medical studies suggest that lack of muscle strength, as measured by grip, is associated with long-term mortality risk, regardless of body mass index. I’m a middle-aged man with a grip better than most D1 athletes that I shake hands with. This is low hanging fruit for wrestlers and should be picked, eaten and enjoyed this season. For grown ups it’s a matter of health and longevity.