Focusing on Grip, An Important Asset to a Climber.
Grip; “A firm hold; a tight grasp or clasp.”
“One of the number one causes of climber fatigue is your grip”
Lately I have been reading up on the benefits of really working those muscles in your hands and fingers that sometimes get overlooked, so I decided to focus this blog post on how you can work out your grip and help yourself to climb more efficiently and proficiently. It’s not the only thing you can do to help yourself in your daily actions but it is an important part of being the best at your job, so here we go!
When you think of grip what do you associate with it? At first thought I bet you would think of a handshake you shared with someone that felt as though it would crush your hand; this is accurately called a “crush grip”, it involves all of your fingers as well as your palm and typically is best used when pressure upon something is called for such as a handshake full of respect or breaking an egg.
A “pinch grip” is a grip that involves only your fingers, usually you would use this for picking things up or grabbing things off the floor etc. This grip is one of the more likely to cause hand cramping and so must be very carefully executed, especially at height when a hand cramp could mean the difference between being able to descend or not.
Additionally, the “support grip” is also another grip commonly used in our line of work as this grip is used for long periods of time and requires stamina and muscular endurance to execute properly.
Leaving any of these grips out of your training can lead to all sorts of issues, so when training your hand strength don’t disregard any of the areas that require regular training, from a fitness standpoint you wouldn’t train legs more than upper body because it would leave you disproportionate, the same is true for your hands, keep that in mind while reviewing the exercise’s that are included in this post!
Training Techniques for Closing Grip: Deadlifts, pull ups and the farmers walk are all great ways to train support gripping, you are using your hands as the main leverage to lifting the bar, your body and carrying a heavy weight for a short to long distance in these exercise’s. If the weight you desire to use is too heavy, you can incorporate wrist straps to redirect that weight positively so as not to injure yourself. Grippers, AKA Hand Grippers, are also a great way to strengthen the closing grip and can be done in your spare time at your desk or even whilst watching a movie at the end of the day, you would be surprised at how quickly your closing grip will strengthen with regular use. Wrist curls and extensions are also another way of really working on those load bearing muscles and ensuring that they are being strengthened against damage.
Training Techniques for Opening Grip: Extensor’s help to build the differing muscle groups in the hands, try putting your fisted hand in a container of rice or coffee beans and slowly open your fingers, or putting rocks in a coffee can and placing your hand in there and lifting the can with your fingers flexed against the sides. Those same wrist extensions you used for your closing grip will also work the finger flexors for your opening grip. For more advanced exercise, you can do push-ups using a fist instead of a flat hand to really strengthen those finger flexors even more as they will not cause hyperflexion of the finger joints like a flat hand might, make sure your fist is very tight when attempting this exercise as your fingers will be stronger if they are supported by the heel of your palm.
Stabilization is a very important part of training your grip as well and is best trained through using a plastic or metal rod with a weight attached, this is one of the best and hardest exercise’s to execute. The video’s at the end of this post is going to walk you through each of the grip exercising techniques so you can gain the most out of what has been gone over in this post.
The biggest hope is that through this article and the others to follow in the next few months that you learn how to stay safe at work, get the most out of your job training, and have questions answered that you hadn’t thought of before or have not had addressed before. I hope this article was informative and that you learned how to strengthen your grip to help you work at heights more efficiently.
Videos to continue your learning on the subject of grip:
Dr Robert Fenell-How to Use Grippers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YAWTMzZnIM4&noredirect=1
Michelle Trapp-How to do wrist curls: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iMrgVl-2tnc
Sportsinjuryclinic.net- Wrist extensions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQLMz8-KpgU
Our Very own, Brittany Lewis-Forearm Blaster: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFX655cNhXo