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The secret to getting stronger

Want to lift more? Want to do more pull-ups? Heavier weights? Well, here’s the secret. Get your grip stronger. What usually gives out when you are doing heavy lat pulldowns? That’s right, it all starts with the grip. So what are some exercises to improve it?

First, is the farmer’s walk. The exercise where you carry weight and walk a certain distance slowly. The point of this exercise is to challenge the hands and keeping the body from tilting. If you don’t use a weight that is challenging, then it would defeat the purpose of the exercise, so use an appropriate weight. The goal is to walk a distance that your grip will get challenged.

I cannot tell you how many times people have said, “if it wasn’t for my grip, I can lift more.” Well, that’s the whole point.

Secondly, any exercise that requires hanging. Pull-ups is a great exercise for the grip. If you cannot do a standard version, then I recommend the lat pulldown, assisted machine pull-ups, or a TRX version. When you hang, it requires you to lift 100-plus pounds. I cannot tell you how many times people have said, “if it wasn’t for my grip, I can lift more.” Well, that’s the whole point. So go out there and hang on to something. Hah.

Thirdly, rock climbing. I have tried this many times and let me you, it is incredibly HARD. I’m not the strongest guy by any means, but I am confident in my strength, but oh boy, I got humbled. There are many levels on an indoor rock climbing platform (ie. Level 1, level 2, level 3, level 4, etc), and my fingers could only handle certain entry-level. The different angles challenge the fingers in ways that weight training doesn’t. The hardest grip for me was where there aren’t any handles and you have to cup your fingers around it. If you think your grip is strong, try rock climbing and challenge yourself.

Lastly, is to lift heavy. Adaptation happens when you keep doing it. Deadlifts are a great exercise because generally speaking, it should be your strongest lift. If you lift heavy on deadlifts and use an alternate grip, make sure you switch after each set. Think of it as if you bat right-handed, you want to bat left-handed as well to balance out the grip.

So there you have it, ladies and gentlemen. The secret to getting stronger is to improve your grip strength. If you need other exercises or advice, comment below and I will answer them. Hope you enjoyed this week’s blog. Stay tuned for more next Wed…………..Kei

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