The grip is often a weak link in weightlifting. Dr. Alfredo Herrera, a renowned weightlifting coach who holds a Doctor of Science degree from the State Central Institute of Physical Culture in Moscow, Russia, has some insight on this subject.
In a seminar held on April 16, 2011, in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Dr. Herrera said that lifting straps allow an athlete to apply 100 percent of the force of the legs and lower back to the barbell. He also said that for many athletes, using a hook (thumbs under fingers) enables a lifter to apply 75 percent of the force, and with a conventional grip, 50 percent. Therefore, it is important to improve grip strength in order to increase strength and to demonstrate strength in a weightlifting competition.
One excellent way to build grip strength is to use thick-handled barbells and dumbbells. However, to put minimal stress on the wrists, such implements should have revolving sleeves. Another method is to use gripping machines; in that case, rather than counting reps, I prefer to use these machines for a predetermined time. For example, squeeze the handles for three sets of exercise bouts lasting 60 seconds.
Check out Coach Poliquin's video series on grip strength:
Copyright ©2011 Charles Poliquin