How To Increase Grip Strength In Calisthenics?

How To Increase Grip Strength In Calisthenics

Most people do not think about working out their lower arms. At the end of the training, a lot of people are often too lazy or just do not do any grip strength exercises. But let me tell you this. Your wrist and forearm muscles are probably the most underrated muscles out there. They do so much more than just make it look you got bigger arms.

The importance of grip strength

Like I said earlier, wrist strengthening is much more than getting just bigger arms. It will also affect your performance, having strong wrist and forearm muscles are equals to more grip strength. Good grip strength can make a difference between failing or doing one more extra repetition. It is therefore so important to also focus on your lower arm muscles. Wrist strengthening but also wrist mobility and flexibility is important. 

Some benefits of having well-developed grip strength,

  1. More endurance, I already mentioned before but I will say it again, Good grip strength can make a difference between failing or doing one more extra repetition. You will out-rep people with weak wrists. If you have strong wrists you will engage more muscles. This allows you to more reps in a row.
  2. Harder exercises, Good grip strength prepares and allows you to do more difficult exercises. Think about a handstand, this move is all about balancing with your wrists. performing the handstand with weak wrists will be so much harder. Another example is the one-arm pull-up. A lot of people think this exercise is all about bicep and lat strength, But again the underrated muscles here are the lower arm. Some time ago I really struggled to achieve the one arm pull up. I knew I had enough lat and bicep strength but I still could not do it. Until I found out that my writs were too weak. After focussing on my grip strength some time I was finally managed to perform my first one-arm pull-up.
  3. Injury prevention and faster recovery, an injury is something that always could happen. Due to overtraining or incorrect form. Recovery can take some time. Strengthening your wrist and forearm muscles will not only making the chance of getting injured smaller, but a strong connective tissue will also recover faster. If an injury still ends up happening. 

How to improve grip strength

Okay, we have talked about the benefits and the importance of having good grip strength, but what are some ways to increase grip strength if you have weak wrists. There are a couple of things you can do to improve your grips strength. Ranging from exercises to equipment to strengthen up your wrists. But things such as doing pull-ups with a thicker bar or squeezing your wrists harder during the exercises will also help to increase your grip strength. 

Important note, Healthy wrists do not only exist out of strength. It is necessary to also take some time and focus on mobility and flexibility. You will need this in order to do certain skills like the handstand or the planche when training on the floor.

Simple grip strength exercises

The best way to get a better grip strength is by doing wrist strengthening and forearm exercises. I made a list of the best grip strength exercises. Most exercises can be done just with your bodyweight but some of them do require you to use some free weights. Try these simple exercises and implement them at the end(recommended) of your workout routines. You will see progress as a matter of days.

  • Dead bar hangs, The first wrist strengthening exercise is very straight forward. You basically just hang with your hands on a bar or another structure. Your goal is to maintain this hang position for as long as possible. Ways to progress in this exercise is to eventually hang with only one hand. Squeeze the bar as hard as possible and again the thicker the bar the better.
  • Towel pull-ups, The next one on the list of grip strength exercises are the towel pull-ups. Normal bar pull-ups will also target the forearm and wrist muscle, but with towel pull-ups, you will get the job done much quicker. The purpose of the towel is to make the grip thicker, therefore make it more challenging for the wrists. Just hang your towel around the bar and start doing your towel pull-ups.
  • The farmer walks, This is a very familiar exercise for weight lifters and it does require you to use some weights. Grab two dumbells lift, stand up, and keep your back straight. Start walking around. The more weights you use the stronger your wrists will become.  
  • Finger pull-ups, another very straight forward exercise as the finger pull-up. I do not recommend this exercise if you just started with working out, This exercises can hurt quite a lot for people with weak wrists. The purpose of this exercise is to do pull-ups using only your fingers and not your whole hand palm. You can progress in this exercise by simply using fewer fingers. Until you can do it with only one finger.
  • Palm extensions, Probably the best wrist strengthening exercise for the handstand is the palm extension. In this exercise, you lean with your hands against a wall and simply push your palms away from the wall. You can make this exercise harder by making the lean bigger. 
  • Wrist curls, in this exercise you are going to need a dumbbell and an object where you can lay your forearm on, a bench for example. See the picture for a demonstration. The next thing you do is just start doing curls only using your wrists. Squeeze as hard as you can and start doing your reps. With this exercise, you are also able to other variations. You can rotate your hands or just hold it sideways. It is important to train all these different variations.
  • Wrist twists, This exercise looks a bit like the wrist curls and it requires you to also use a dumbbell. To perform this exercise you need to twist your wrist while holding a dumbbell in your hands. This exercise has two different variations, straight arm, and bent arm. Do both variations to target most muscles.
  • Wrist rolls, The last grip strength exercise is the wrist rolls. Looks a bit like the push-up tricep extension. You start on the floor, put your hands together and start doing this look-alike tricep extension like how it is showing in the image. You can start on knees if it is too hard doing it like a push-up position

These were all the wrist strengthening exercises to increase grip strength. I made a video tutorial of all these exercises mentioned above. You can use this video as a demonstration video if you need help with the exercises.

Watch on YouTube

Grip strength equipment

Besides exercises, there are also other things you can do tho obtain a better grip. Some calisthenics equipment items can make your grip strength stronger or make it easier. These items are not only meant for beginners but advanced athletes as well. So let’s take a look at what we got.

Wrist strengthener, The first grip strength equipment is a wrist strengthener. I think this item is pretty self-explanatory, but this piece of equipment intends you to do squeeze exercises, This grip strengthener item will help you build more wrist strength, obviously. Although, the best feature of this product is: it is easy to do other things while exercising your wrists. For instance, reading a book or watching television. This handgrip strengthener comes in different levels of resistance, so everybody no matter what level of wrist strength you are at can use this item.

Chalk, a lot of the times whether you watch gymnastics or people who are doing a heavy lift, you will see that they are using (liquid) chalk. This is not without any reason. Chalk does actually makes you stronger. Using chalk will give you more grip during your exercises. It will keep your palms sweaty free and a greater grip equals more strength. Therefore, chalk can help you do harder exercises and will make you stronger eventually.

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Wrist wraps, whether you have a wrist injury or just have weak wrists. A pair of wrist wraps can help you in this situation. I made a complete article on why you should wear wrist wraps. Click here to see the article.

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Conclusion

In this post about grip strength, we discussed all the things you need to know about grip strength. The importance of grip strength and why it will make you stronger. We also talked about some simple exercises to improve your handgrip strength which everybody can do. At last but not least we spoke about some equipment to help you with your grip strength and make it easier.

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