Here are some grip exercises that will work your entire hand. You can do them at home, and they're really cheap, too.
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They're perfect for improving your rock climbing, martial arts, wrestling... Anything where you need strong hands!
As with all exercises, I caution you to start slowly. Hurting yourself anywhere is bad, but your hands...
I like my hands. They're important to me. I bet you like your hands, too. So start slowly, fatigue your grip, and don't go too far too fast. You've got plenty of time to get stronger.
This is an interesting one that I found in The Grip Master's Manual by John Brookfield. It develops strength through the full range of your grip as you roll up a weighted towel.
For this, you need a sturdy towel or piece of fabric, a short length of rope, and a bucket. Also, some weight to put in the bucket for when you get stronger is good too.
Brookfield recommends a golf towel, which comes with a small hole in one corner, as ideal for this. All in all, it might cost you $15 - $20, at most, for the equipment at most.
Take the towel and, using the rope/string, tie one corner of it to the handle of the bucket. Then, hold the other end of the towel in one hand and roll up the towel into your grip - thus lifting the bucket.
You've probably guessed the gist of this exercise buy now ;-)
First, see if you can roll up the towel with just one hand, with the bucket as weight. When this becomes easy, put some gravel/sand/earth/water/lead shot/rocks/whatever into the bucket to add weight.
And then, just keep rolling the bucket up.
This is one of the best grip exercises for developing finger dexterity and strength through the whole range of your grip. And cheap, too.
The sandbag toss is another great grip training exercise. And the equipment is, again, cheap and easy to get.
All you need to do is get a small cloth sack, ideally canvas or something else sturdy. Fill it with sand at first (you can fill it with lead shot or something heavier later).
You should be able to hold the bag in one hand.
Simply hold the weight in one hand and toss it up into the air, and then catch it with your other hand. When you catch it each time, squeeze the bag before throwing it again.
The throwing and catching trains fast gripping, along with the weight of the bag. Also, as you get better you can fill the bag with heavier fillings - just to keep things interesting.
If you don't want to make your own bags, you can go to a snorkeling or diving store and buy diving weights. These weights are usually small, heavy bags which are perfect for when you start this exercise.
This is a variation on the sandbag toss. For this one, you're tossing solid weights and not sandbags.
For this exercise you need block weights. Either buy them, or get hold of some dumbbells and saw off the weight on one end and - bingo! - you've got your block weight.
Even if you're really strong, try starting with a 20 or 25 lb. weight (ex: The end of a 40 or 50 lb. dumbbell). Using your lower body to boost the weight, throw the weight up and catch it in your other hand against your body.
And then toss it back to your other hand. And keep doing that until you're just wasted.
To make it harder, increase the weight or just toss the weight higher. This will really train explosive arm strength and unified body power, and it is a different gripping action than catching the sandbags.
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The Grip Exercises You Need
1. Brookfield, John. 2002. The Grip Master's Manual. Nevada City, CA: IronMind Enterprises. Pp. 31-2.
2. Ibid. Pp. 28.
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