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Here’s the thing: your ability to lug weights without palm or wrist pain plays a big role in ensuring your sweat sessions are effective enough to get your biceps to pop.

“Most women (and men) who do weights at the gym would know the feeling of trying to push out some final reps but faltering because their wrists and/or hands begin to give out. Often, in these instances, the bigger muscles are able to keep going, but the little muscles (which support our grip) can’t endure. What this commonly signals is a lack of ‘grip strength,’ explains Kate Kraschnefski, effectiveness of generic diovan Head of Training at the Australian Institute of Fitness.

To find out more, Kate breaks down what we should be doing to improve our grip strength, and why.

So what is ‘grip strength’ and why does it matter? 

Grip strength refers to the level of strength we have in smaller muscles like fingers, hands, wrists and forearms to grip and, in turn, support heavier and more complex lifting and movements. Think about doing a heavy deadlift: we are looking to work the muscles of the glutes and legs, which are the biggest in the body, but we also need our grip to hold onto what will invariably be a heavy weight. 

While most people don’t train specifically to increase grip strength, there are a number of compelling reasons to do so. Boosting your grip strength will not only allow you to more effectively progressively overload muscles (enabling you to become stronger and fitter!), but it will also help you complete functional movements more easily – think opening jars, carrying boxes and turning door knobs! While we might not always realise it when we’re young and healthy, functional fitness (or lack thereof) becomes more and more important as we age. 

Solid grip strength will also enhance your ability to perform quality movements with good technique, resulting in less chance of injury.

Why do some people have better grip strength than others?

Some people may be predisposed to developing muscles that are better suited to short, powerful bursts of heavy lifting; some may be more suited to endurance efforts; and others may have a mix of both! 

Those that lean towards endurance or a mix of both may have better grip strength than others. Some studies also suggest that grip strength can be an indicator of overall health, so less-than-average grip strength could be a result of other factors.  

The Most Effective Workout Move You’re Probably Not Doing

Benefits of having a strong grip

Toning those micro muscles is beneficial outside the gym too. Here are five benefit of have a strong grip:

How do I improve my grip strength?

Here are 5 key exercises:

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