Get a Grip

How’s your grip? Not your grip on reality but rather your grip on objects.

One of the things I learned when I was studying for my personal trainer certification is how important your GRIP is. People always think to work out their arms, legs, shoulders, core, etc. However; not a lot of people pay much attention to their grip. If you fell off the side of a building, how long could you hang on? Hopefully that never happens. Regardless; your grip and your ability to HANG on as well as grab things, is important. It’s a basic skill that often gets ignored.

Have you ever heard of finger grips? Check this out.

Strongman bodybuilder doing exercise to lifting the book illustration.

Image source: Directions from Molding a Mighty Grip (1932) by George F. Jowett:

You may be surprised to find out how weak the fingers will prove to be providing, of course, you use a book of fairly good weight, as shown above. You will notice that the book is placed upon the fingers only and is not even touching the hand. You may also note that the hand is not resting on the table. These two points are important. Surely, you will understand you must use a book of sufficient weight but not so heavy as to make the exercise impossible. A straining movement has no value to you. It is the several movements – which are executed properly – that count. Keep in mind; if you allow the back of your palm of your hand to rest on the table ~ then the major value of this exercise will be lost.

Notice how far the book is placed on the fingers and that the thumb has no part in the exercise. Your first effort will be to raise the volume as high as possible with the index finger as shown. When you have thus raised the book to your limit, lower back to the original position and employ the next finger and so on until every finger on both hands has exercised with the exception of the thumb.

You may practice raising the book with each finger several times in succession before passing on to its mate. This is really a better practice.

As you pass on to the little finger you may find it somewhat difficult to juggle the book. The far side of the book may touch on the table, but do not let that concern you. It is perfectly fine as long as you feel the resistance.

When you have satisfactorily concluded the individual exercises, as just explained, try raising the book with the fingers one after the other, quickly, in the manner used to play a piano. This will create speed for your fingers; as well as strength.

Nimble as your fingers may be under ordinary circumstances; you will find they will acquire an awkwardness when called upon to operate quickly and strongly as required in the piano movement. If you have a volume sufficiently heavy you will find operating all the fingers of the hand at once a very good exercise also.

Finger exercises of all kinds have a very stimulating and gratifying influence upon developing the difficult muscles of the forearm which, at the same time, will naturally tend to increase the thickness of the wrist.

Reverse Finger Lifts

Strongman bodybuilder doing exercise for finger lift illustration.

Image Source: Directions from Molding a Mighty Grip (1932) by George F. Jowett:

To practice this exercise you simply reverse the position of the hand with regard to the table as the illustration shows. This will be a little more difficult to some than to others, but you must not be dismayed, the exercise is not so difficult. This exercise will bring into action the forcep muscles of the thumb and of the little finger. As these two forcep factors operate you will notice the difference in both control and power. Control will be better and power will be more evident.

You go through the same process as explained for the first exercise, exercising the fingers individually and quickly in piano play fashion. The only action in this exercise requiring more care than in Exercise 1 [Finger Lifts, above] is when the little finger becomes involved. As your fingers travel individually to the small finger a natural inclination will be felt to operate the thumb, commencing with the third finger and becoming more pronounced with the little finger. This last member has a certain amount of forcep action which, with the thumb, plays the major muscular action in closing the hand and gripping an object.”

Now if all of this seems too much for you … start with simply trying to grip things and see how you do. Find a jungle gym or playground and see how long you can “hang” on. Let me know how you’re doing.

As always, make champion choices!
The Healthy Habit Lady

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