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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Wrist Wraps And Grip Strength - What's The Deal?

You see a bunch of people in the gym using all sorts of wrist wraps when they lift weights. It allows you to lift heaviers weights which is always cool. But the issue is that depending on the type of training that you are doing, wrist wraps are good and bad. If you are bodybuilding and you are working on say back for example, wrist wraps allow you to get in heavier work on lat pulldowns, seated rows, chinups, and any barbell/dumbbell work. To get more intense work from the targeted muscle is the goal and wrist wraps allow you to do that.

But if you are doing general physical preparedness training or total body functional training, wrist wraps are not good. The wrist wraps prevent you from developing wrist/forearm and grip strength. I don't recommend using wrist wraps at all unless you are doing a specific type of training where it can be a benefit like bodybuilding. Everything I train clients with uses core and grip / forearm strength. A heavy sandbag has no handles or straps and is very hard to pick up. It makes you work your forearm and grip strength with every rep. Ultimately, your grip strength dictates how much weight you will be able to lift. It is the weak point especially with females. By not using any straps or wrist wraps, you must work those weak muscles and they will get stronger and be able to allow you to execute functional movements with greater weight.

So when I make you lift odd objects with no pretty handles and your forearms get smoked, you are doing the right thing. It is intentional. Not only will your forearms and wrists get stronger, your grip strength will increase and you will be able to lift heavier things. Then one day, when your out and about and something happens, you will be able to pickup or move an object without the fear of your grip failing you.

Practice grip strength drills by picking up odd objects and heavy kettlebells, barbells and dumbbells. Work on squeezing the object or crushing the weight bars. In time, you will notice the improved performance as your grip strength improves. In addition to traditional barbell / dumbbell wrist curls you should use a variety of odd objects like sandbags, rocks / stones, sledgehammer, rope and crushing tools like weight plates, pliable balls, grip squeezers and anything heavy you can pick up with one hand.  Train grip work specifically at least once a week.

Combined with the rest of the program like bench press and deadlifts, your grip strength will improve and your personal record will go up. So make grip strength part of your weekly plan and it will benefit you ten-fold.

Dempsey's Resolution Fitness   
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