Grip Strength and Longevity: How to Train Grip
Grip strength throughout time has been an impressive feat. Strongmen of old used to rip apart phone books and bend wrenches with their bare hands. Although most people will never be able to achieve these levels of grip strength, the general population can receive huge benefits from grip training. Studies have shown a direct relationship between grip strength and longevity. Grip strength at any age can reveal clues to overall health, flag potential future risks, and help predict your longevity.
In fact, grip strength training can increase your ability in sports all the way to simply preventing falls when you get older. No matter your age, you can benefit from some work on your grip.
There are several ways to train grip strength, but in general you can receive benefits simply by doing full body exercises. Although it is possible to dial in to specific exercises, using the correct tool for any given exercise can help immensely. Let’s take a look at ten grip strength exercises you should be doing, whether you want to hit the golf ball farther or hold onto your dog’s leash.
Exercise 1: SandBell Grip Grabs
Grip Grabs are one of the most effective exercises for developing grip strength. It isolates the muscles in the hand as well as the forearm for a great workout. Start by grabbing the edge of the sandbell and slowly rotating. Find a weight that you can do with your arms fully locked out and turn the bell in a circular motion. Make sure to go both clockwise and counter-clockwise.
Exercise 2: SandBell Standing Circles
Training grip is more than just holding weights over a long period of time. Try doing small circles, really emphasizing the declaration of the movement. By using a quick motion with a sudden stop, you will force your arms to fire like crazy to slow down the SandBell. This is a great way to simulate those sudden moments where you need to quickly hold on to something as well.
Exercise 3: SandBell Overhead Lunges
Despite the previous exercise comments, holding weights can still train your grip strength. Be sure to squeeze the sandbell as tight as possible while maintaining an overhead grip. Complete these lunes for about 30 yards and see how much your whole body can work!
Exercise 4: Kneeling Position Overhead Press
Isolating the upper body is another effective strategy for grip strength. Traditional kneeling presses are performed with a dumbbell, but this does not allow you to work your grip as much a sandbell would. Instead, the shifting weight will add another layer to the exercise as you slowly press overhead.
Exercise 5: SandBell Lateral Throw
One of the most overlooked portions of training as we age is power development. It becomes almost a taboo subject to discuss. But ultimately playing with kids or grandkids will involve you throwing things around. So in this exercise, grab your sandbell and throw it as hard as you can into the nearest wall. This will help you keep some power in your arms and also relieve some stress.
Exercise 6: Single Arm Wind Up Slam
Sticking with the theme of power in grip strength, a wind up slam is also effective. One thing that can make this even more challenging is the motion itself. It takes a fair amount of grip strength simply to complete the circular motion with the arm. To be able to finish off the throw with a slam at the end is even more challenging. Fair warning this may take a couple reps to perform correctly.
Exercise 7: SandBell Bird Dog
In addition to good grip strength, a strong core is essential as we age. The bird dog will allow you to work on both. Start in a tabletop position and slowly bring the opposite hand to the opposite foot. For an extra challenge try to move as slow as possible. This will increase the time under tension, resulting in more significant gains.
Exercise 8: SandBell Squat to High Pull
No matter how much you try to get around it, at some point you will need to move load in order to increase your grip strength. The high pull is great because you can load the exercise up pretty heavily while doing so safely. Make sure to get a good grip on the SandBell, squat and then explode up bringing the bell to your chest.
Exercise 9: SandBell Wood Chops
Although wood chops may look like an odd exercise for grip strength, they are actually a great skill to develop it. This movement is very similar to daily tasks such as putting grocery bags on the counter from the ground. Squeeze the SandBell tight and rip down. Once again focusing on deceleration to engage the core and forearms.
Exercise 10: SandBell Cross Over Abs
A more advanced technique, this exercise will train both your core and grip strength in a fun and challenging way. Start in a C-Sit position, making sure to engage your core fist. Then slowly lift the SandBell up and pass it through your legs. Start with a lighter weight, as this can challenge your coordination significantly.
Overall, grip strength will decrease over time if we do not use it. We see all the time how much harder it becomes to do simple tasks such as opening a stuck jar as we age. Heck, even holding a water bottle over time can become fatiguing. In order to prevent this, be sure to train your grip strength early and often for grip strength and longevity! Get your SandBell training sandbags and start your strength training journey to heathy aging.