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The Best Exercises to Improve Your Grip Strength

Grip strength is key to better health and faster muscle gain, our complete guide is the first rep to improving yours

There’s a reason why grip strength is so important: you require it for almost every activity.

Let’s put the weights to one side for a moment. When you pick up a box, when you move a chair, when you’re vacuuming, frying an egg or even driving, you’re calling upon your grip strength. Cricket, golf, tennis, rugby – they all require good grip, too. Yep, and before you ask, badminton does as well, if that’s your thing…

It’s also – and don’t tell everyone or they’ll all be at it – one of the quickest ways to bigger lifts, faster muscle and serious training gains. Think about it. Your bicep curls, your hanging leg raises, your farmer’s walks. How often has it been your grip that’s let you down? How many times have you been chest pressing, only for your wrists to ache? They give up or ‘pinch’ because they’re unable to cope with the loads you’re putting on them, which means you have you stop your reps or, worse case scenario, run the risk of injury.

In fact, weak grip strength has been proven to be a predictor of shoulder health. A 2016 study, published in the sports science journal Shoulder & Elbow, concluded that there’s a strong correlation between grip strength and lateral rotator strength.

Research has also shown a positive correlation between grip strength and overall health.

In 2015, the international Prospective Urban and Rural Epidemiological (Puree) study followed the health of 140,000 adults over four years. The results showed a significant relationship between a decrease in grip strength and an increase in the risk of cardiovascular disease. Using a dynamometer device – something you squeeze really hard to asses strength – the researchers concluded that: “Each 11-pound decrease in grip strength over the course of the study was linked to a 17% higher risk of dying from heart disease, a 9% higher risk of stroke and a 7% higher risk of heart attack.”

This isn’t an isolated study. There’s a body of research that strengthens the relationship between grip strength and health. Another paper released in 2015, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, concluded that those with a lower grip strength were more likely to be diabetic or record a higher blood pressure.

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