GRIP STRENGTH: How to Improve Yours on a Chin-up Bar

While the most common cause of injury in a gym is overexertion of the muscles leading to muscular strain and sprains, research suggests that the second most common reason is crush injuries caused by falling weights. Now don’t get us wrong here; we’re not saying that you need to step away from lifting heavy weights and only stick to the ones you’re comfortable lifting.

We’re simply saying in this article that even though many injuries are caused by slipping of weights or falling off of bars, you should still try to lift heavier weights but with caution because pushing limits will help your muscles and strength grow.

The most important thing you need to take care of when lifting heavy weights or doing chin-ups is to make sure you have a strong grip. Wondering how you can enhance your grip? Well we’ve done all the thinking for you! In this article, we’ll tell you how you can identify a weak grip and how you can improve it so that you can enjoy a strong grip along with its benefits in GRIP STRENGTH: How to Improve Yours on a Chin-up Bar!

Why Is Grip Strength Training Important?

You’ve probably heard people saying over and over again that “you’re only as strong as your grip.” This statement could not have been truer; let me tell you why.

First and foremost, if you have poor grip strength, you will never be able to push yourself to lift heavier weights. This inability to lift heavier will lead you to stay stuck on a limited weight forcing your body and muscles to hit a growth plateau.

The stronger your handgrip, the heavier you’ll lift, the more reps you’ll perform, and the more muscle you’ll grow.

Secondly, training your grip muscles will help you improve your connective tissue. When you’re training your grip, the blood flow in your tissues will increase, enhancing muscle function.

Furthermore, training your grip strength will help increase bone density, like when you are strength training. This increased bone density, especially in the wrists and elbow joints, will help you avoid any injuries, otherwise if your bones and joints are not used to at least some pressure, it will lead to injuries and chronic pain.

Lastly, having a strong grip bodes well in everyday life. Whether you have to open a jar or play tennis, having a strong grip will help you up to your game in life.

Grip Strength Benefits:

Here are some benefits that you will enjoy by training your grip strength.

Grip Strength Can Prevent Tendonitis

The muscles of your entire body are connected to the bones by thick fibrous cords, called tendons. When these tendons swell up, they causes tendonitis, which results in pressure and tenderness outside the joints.

You can suffer the pain of tendonitis in your elbows, wrists, shoulders, knees, heels, etc. Fortunately, if you train your grip strength correctly, you can avoid this painful problem.

Reduces Chances of Arthritis

When there is swelling and sensitivity in more than one of your joints, it is because of arthritis, which worsens with the passage of time and growing age.

Strengthening your grip will help you enhance your hand strength and improve your motor skills helping to prevent arthritis.

Better Resilience to Injuries

Suffering injuries to your wrists and elbows is a major turn-off for athletes and gym enthusiasts because most of the numerous activities that require you to use your grip.

Having a firm grip and strong connectivity tissues makes your joints and tendons more resilient, helping you avoid injuries.

You Can Perform Better & Bigger Lifts

Doing rows, deadlifts, chin-ups, pull-ups, etc., requires firm grip strength. To perform better and bigger lifts, you need to train your grip strength, particularly your finger grip, so that you can grab onto bars etc firmly without getting hurt because of a weak grip.

Signs & Symptoms of a Weak Grip

Before we move on to exercises for a strong grip, let’s evaluate whether you have a strong grip or not.

The following six indicators will help you assess your grip strength, so you don’t end up injuring yourself by lifting and dropping weights.

  • To get a good grip on the grocery bag handles, you have to keep putting them down every few minutes.
  • You have to put away barbells and dumbbells frequently when exercising.
  • Your palms and hands start cramping when lifting too much.
  • You start feeling a lot of pressure on your palms when you lift heavier weights to avoid growth plateaus.
  • Your forearms and hands start to hurt when doing the most basic tasks like opening a jar, shovelling sand or snow, or holding a tennis racket or golf club for any length of time.
  • Even a simple a task like typing leaves you feeling tired.

Exercises to Improve Your Grip Strength

Since you’re reading up this, you’ve probably determined that either one or all of the above indicators apply, prompting you to red flag your grip strength.

Don’t worry though, read up and start training your grip with the following exercises:

Using a Forearm Strengthener

This is one of the most basic exercises that you can do to enhance your grip strength – with a forearm strengthener, which works your grip, wrist, and forearms altogether. Whether you want to use it with the side handles or without, this forearm strengthener allows you to practice twisting and turning movements while being able to intensify the workout by adding weights.

All you need to do is attach a suitable weight plate on the nylon rope end with the steel hooks and start twisting and turning. Even though it seems to be a simple workout, it will effectively improve your grip strength while exercising your forearms and wrists.

Weighted Exercises

When we talk about weighted exercises, various workouts can come under this term, such as a hex hold using dumbbells, the bottom’s up with a kettlebell, deadlifts using barbells, Farmer’s Carry, etc.

Hex Hold Exercise

For this exercise, neoprene dumbbells work best, as they’re sweat proof and anti-slip, and if you drop them, they won’t damage the furniture or floor either.

All you have to do in the hex hold exercise is, hold the dumbbells from their heads. Once you’ve closed the fingers inwards and have gripped the head properly, lift the dumbbell and hold it for 30 seconds and repeat it on the other hand.

Bottom’s Up with Kettlebell

In this exercise, stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart and your toes facing outwards.

Hold the kettlebell from the handle and lift your elbow to your shoulder height, with the bottom of the kettlebell up in the air (literally bottom’s up).

At this position, you should be making a 90-degree angle of your upper arm with your body, a 90-degree of your forearm with your upper arm, and the kettlebell should be as far from your head as the length of your upper arm.

Once in the position, raise your hand over your head and hold it in this position for 2 seconds and then slowly return the kettlebell down to the ground, completing the first rep. Repeat the exercise on your other hand.

Deadlift Holds Using Barbell

For deadlifts, you’ll need to use lifting hooks or lifting wraps, so you can easily lift heavy weights and develop your grip strength.

Standing hip-width apart, hold the barbell with both your hands opened shoulder-width apart. All you have to do now is bend your knees a little, and lift the barbell a few inches from the ground, and hold the position for 5-10 seconds. Perform the exercise 3-5 times.

Farmer’s Carry

The Farmer’s Carry is another easy workout. Lift two dumbbells in each hand with weights that are sufficiently heavy for you. Once you’ve gripped the weights properly, stand up straight and start walking 20 steps in a forward direction and then slowly put the weights back on the ground. Repeat this for 2-3 sets, and see if you can increase the weights and steps to intensify your next workouts.

Pull-up Bar Hangs

Bar hangs are where you hang your entire body from a bar using your hands. This puts pressure on your hands and forces you to use your grip strength to keep your body in place. If you haven’t done much in the way of lifting exercises before, you must use lifting straps or lifting hooks, so you don’t end up hurting yourself.

Pull-ups can be performed using various holds, all working to enhance your strength. Moreover, doing pull-ups is the best exercise to enhance your grip strength while making your arms stronger.

All you have to do is, hold the bar with palms facing inwards or outwards, and try to lift your chest over the bar.

Once you’ve developed greater grip strength, and are looking to challenge your grip, you can add variations to your lifts without thumbs or just three-fingers, and you can even go as far as doing pull-ups with just two fingers.

Grip strength is one of the most underrated exercises performed by individuals, despite that the second most common injury in gyms are due to weights falling (because of compromised grip ability).

Using gym equipment like weight lifting hooks and lifting straps can assist you in these lifts perfectly. You can also use everyday gym gear such as dumbbells and kettlebells to enhance your grip strength so that you can not only avoid injuries, but also build superb, real-world functional strength.

How’s your grip these days? Does it need some work? Let us know in the comments below, and join in the conversation on FacebookTwitter & Instagram!

Juha Pentinpuro

Juha is a gym enthusiast with Finnish roots and a strong interest in fitness and health related subjects. He's also keen on motorsports, tennis, cycling and beach volleyball in the summer months. He's particularly interested in bodybuilding and the nutrition that makes that possible. He believes that a healthy lifestyle is key to happiness.

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