Grip strength is probably something you don’t pay all that much attention to, but it can be more important than you realize — especially when it comes to your workout. Though you might blame weak muscles for your inability to do certain exercises, it could be your grip strength, and it’s not something that should be ignored.
“When your grip is strong, you’re able to lift more and pull more, which can help you get better results in the gym,” says Michelle Lovitt, CSCS, fitness expert, and trainer in Los Angeles.
Having a good grip can help you with exercise like deadlifts, pull-ups, high pulls, and rows for starters. Even rope climbs and dead hangs from a pull-up bar are impacted by grip strength. Think about it: You generally end up dropping because your grip gives out before your other muscles do.
Like most of your strength, if you don’t work on your grip, it will diminish over time. “As we age, especially women, our bone density starts to decline — even more so post-menopause,” says Amanda Butler, NASM, trainer at The Fhitting Room in New York City. “So it’s very important to keep exercising, including grip strength, in order to stay agile and be capable of doing daily activities such as vacuuming, picking things up off the floor, and more.”
Old or young, grip strength is essential to overall fitness because it affects the way you pick up or pull things in both the gym and in everyday life.
Joint issues can also impact how strong your grip is. Why? “Joints are directly impacted by the muscle, tendon, and ligament attached to them,” Lovitt says. “Weakness or muscle imbalances caused from overuse can therefore have a negative affect on your grip strength.”
In order to keep your grip strong and even improve it over time, Butler recommends these exercises:
- Farmers walk (use different types of weights like kettlebells, sandbags, dumbbells, etc.)
- Pull-ups (use various grips)
- Dead hangs (use different grips)
“Old or young, grip strength is essential to overall fitness because it affects the way you pick up or pull things in both the gym and in everyday life,” reminds Lovitt.
Want to tone and tighten your arms and more? Download the best exercises for women over 50.