Fitness for Body, Mind and Spirit

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Fitness for the body, mind & spirit

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Thoughtful Thursday…5 exercises for training grip strength...


Welcome to Thoughtful Thursday. This GreenNote Fitness newsletter mindfully gathers and distills useful information that is supportive to our journey. It is my mission to educate, inspire, and propel you into action that moves you towards your goals and life of purpose. Take control of your journey today.

In the GreenNote Fitness newsletter, Grip strength and…mortality…, we learned how grip strength is a good indicator of risk of cardiovascular disease and also, shoulder and rotator cuff health. Additionally, many injuries could be prevented with having proper grip strength. Think of golfer’s elbow, tennis elbow, or even, injuries from typing on your computer. As legendary strength expert, Charles Poliquin points out…”these ailments are often caused by improper strength ratios between the elbow muscles and the forearm muscles. If the elbow flexors, like the biceps and brachial, are too strong for the forearm flexors, uneven tension accumulates in the soft tissue and results in elbow pain.” So exercises like bicep curls, preacher curls, tricep extensions and other arm training exercise, could potentially be worsening the problem if you are not training and mobilizing your grip at the same time. And as we discussed in the previously mentioned newsletter, studies have shown that issues with your grip could be impacting the shoulder and rotator cuff. Further, grip strength can also be used to determine athlete physical readiness. Meaning, if an athlete’s grip strength has fallen below baseline, it can actually be an indicator of fatigue or lack of optimal recovery. What does the ‘Strength Sensei’ (Poliquin) have to say about that? “…when your grip strength improves, less neural drive is needed for the forearm and hand muscles to perform other exercises. That is why many trainees report breaking training plateaus in a host of lifts ranging from dead lifts to curls, after doing a grip specialization routine.” Thank you Charles. Let’s take a look at some exercises to increase grip strength since it is so darn important. Here are five exercises to improve grip strength: #1. Captains of Crush - if you were around in the ’80’s you are probably quite familiar with these. I carry a pair in my car and while at a red light will work my grip strength, especially the weaker left side.

#2. Farmer’s Carry - one of my favorites. Basically pick up something heavy and walk for time or distance. An example would be it pick up two kettle bells and with proper form begin walking. This is also great for posture and core.

#3. Pull-ups - the key here is to use various grips: palm of your hands facing away from you; palms facing one another (neutral grip); or palms facing towards you (chin-up). The thicker the bar, better it is for your grip. If the bar is too thin, you can always wrap something around it like a towel for example.

#4. Tire flips - As the name implies, you flip a tire. Squatting down, hands gripped under the tire, and using your legs, stand and flip the tire. Repeat.

#5. Pick up something heavy - dumbbells, kettle bells, buckets, sand bags, and bars (bars are available in different thicknesses, try gripping a thicker bar).

Training your grip strength in different ways is very useful so the many, many, tiny muscles in your hands, wrists and forearms can all be utilized. Want healthy shoulders? Want to be able to break a training plateau by lifting more weight? Want to prevent injury and say good-bye to golfer’s and tennis elbow? How about improve heart health? Then by all means…get a (strong) grip. Enjoy your journey, Lisa Schaffer GreenNote Fitness You wouldn’t happen to know just one person that would benefit from this information? Please forward it to them! Did you miss last week’s newsletter on grip strength and mortality...? P.S. Check out my Facebook page for inspiration. P.P.S. Discover GreenNote Fitness recommendations for books, podcasts, and more on body, mind, and spirit.

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