Usually a wolf in the gym, I accepted an experienced fitness trainer friend’s offer to work out with me last week because she would be doing “chest and forearms” work. While it’s always good to combine splits and your muscle groups to offer something different to your body, this wasn’t a combination I’d done before and I was immediately curious as to what exercises we would be doing. If it weren’t for the pumps, working the forearms would at least allow me to work on grip strength—all of them -an important factor in how long you can sustain any weight.
Grip strength can be increased by exercising your forearms, hands, and wrists. The research most often cited is a 2016 study on grip strength in the US population, published in Journal of Strength And Conditioning Research. It found a direct correlation between grip strength and human longevity.
The study used machines to quantify grip strength and concluded that it was “inversely related to all-cause mortality”, and that each five-kilogram decrease in grip strength was associated with a 17% increased risk of death. Other studies, summarized by Cardiology Nature Reviews in the article entitled Handgrip Strength Predicts Cardiovascular Riskstates that from “data for nearly 140,000 people who signed up [the] study, grip strength was found to be a good predictor of cardiovascular-related mortality such as systolic blood pressure”.
Both studies have been found to have limitations, and are not a comprehensive measure of how susceptible a person is to cardiovascular disease or death. However, these findings can be used as a marker of overall muscle strength which is reflected in grip strength. However, the benefits of having strong forearms and a stronger grip are enormous. Whether you’re in the gym doing deadlifts and the bar slips, or pull-ups where the first failure starts not from the back, but at the fingers, or if you’re serving on a tennis court or rock climbing, these small, intertwined muscles of the hand are very important. important.
Which brings us to the best exercise for working your grip. That day at the gym, we did three different pulls on the cable machine with a small belt gripped: 5kg, 10kg and 15kg. The exercise is short pulls at different angles to hit different parts of the forearm with the main force coming from the grip. But before doing more complicated exercises, just try the simplest: the farmer’s sling. As demonstrated in the video below, gripping two dumbbells or kettlebells and keeping your back and shoulders straight and strolling across the gym is the best starting point.
The dead hang is the next exercise on the list that’s easy to do, and its benefits go beyond just grip strength. Both the farmer’s carry and the dead hang offer an easy route to calculating how strong you’ve gotten through the amount of time you can spend doing them. With a farmer’s sling, you can also increase the amount of load you carry.
You’ve probably seen people do forearm curls in the gym with a bar, but fitness gurus believe that keeping your elbows bent is what relieves the biceps and adds more force to the forearms to move the weight. That said, the standing exercise with the straps on a cable held against the inside side of the hammer handle while only the wrists are moving up and down is another thing to try. The video below has a series of basic to intermediate exercises for working your forearms.
For those who are open to learning more advanced moves, the power sled pull is an exercise that also has an excellent spillover effect. For this, your gym needs to have a power sled that you stack your weight on, along with attachments to pull it toward you. Mind Pump TV has a perfect demonstration in the video below, and it’s an exercise I plan to do the next time I work out my forearms.
One of the best videos for beginners who don’t have access to weights or sleds or hanging bars is the one posted by Yatinder Singh on his channel which has almost 5 million subscribers. Singh slowly takes you through the exercises, some with dumbbells as light as water bottles also available at home.
Before trying any of these exercises, make sure you have warmed up your wrists and done some strength training to get your muscles ready for different types of stimulation. Hopefully after some practice, those jam jars will be easier to open.
Pulasta Dhar is a football commentator, podcaster and writer.
#stronger #forearms #improve #grip