Get A Grip – Survival Fitness
Grip strength, believe it or not, is directly associated with all cause mortality. What does that mean? It means the better your grip strength, the less likely you are to die early in life. The worse your grip strength, the more likely you are to die earlier in life.
BUT before you go training your grip and thinking it will make you super human, you should know that it doesn’t really work like that. Having a stronger grip won’t prevent you from dying from a heart attack, developing some terrible disease, or falling off a cliff … well maybe it might help you with the cliff thing, if you can hang there long enough to pull yourself up.
Having a higher degree of grip strength correlates with a more active daily life, and higher degree of physical fitness. Basically, if your grip strength is good you’re probably moving your body more than most people.
But, any way you look at it – maintaining your ability to grip tight is linked to over all health and longevity. Your grip is tied directly to your ability to survive!
So lets look at some ways you can maintain your grip, both in life and in the gym.
Outside The Gym
Carry Your Groceries: Instead of loading your groceries in the car, if possible, carry them home. I know not everyone lives close to their grocery store, but if you do – carry your groceries home. This simple act can add up over time and help maintain your grip strength.
Gardening / Yard Work: Using your hands to garden, pick rocks, shovel dirt/snow, turn dirt, haul brush, and more are not only great total body strength and mobility activities – they’re also great for maintaining grip strength. Get outside and be more active in your yard.
Inside The Gym
Hang: The simple act of hanging from a pull up bar or gym rings is incredibly taxing on the grip. Try hanging from a pull up bar for 10 – 15 seconds, for 2-3 sets. From there you can build up to 20 sec, then 30 sec, and eventually 1 min hangs for 2-3 sets. This is a fantastic way to train your “sustaining/supporting grip”.
Use Grippers: Yeah, those things. You know the ones you can buy in every Wal-Mart or sports store ever. They may seem like nothing, BUT don’t knock them. Grippers can be a cheap, effective, way to train your “crushing grip”. You can often buy them in a variety of tensions, or even buy ones that adjust in difficulty. The nice thing about grippers is that you can perform them at a variety of tempos, sets, or even use them with isometric holds embedded. Try adding in a few sets with some at the end of your workouts, or throughout the day.
Pinch Grips: Pinch grip exercises are simple and easy to do. Perform them by gripping onto the fat ends of dumbbells or the sides of weight plates using only your finger tips. You simple stand there, and hold the weight – EASY. Well, not really … it’s incredibly taxing on your grip. You can also walk while you do these, turning the exercise into a “carry” which will also tax your core. You can grip for time, or distance if you’re walking. Up the weight as it becomes easier.
So there you have it! Simple ways to train your grip and not only get stronger, but also live longer.