How to Improve Your Grip Strength

Strength Train

How to Improve Your Grip Strength

Getting a handle on how you hold weights will make your workouts more effective.

Words By Colleen Travers

If you’ve been strength training (which you should, as it has loads of benefits to help you become a better athlete), the way you hold your free weights may not cross your mind. But having a strong enough grip to complete your workout is important. In fact, how firmly you’re holding the weights can have a big effect on when you start to feel fatigued during your reps. “If you feel like your grip is giving out before your larger muscles or if you can’t keep a dumbbell aligned in a proper position, then your grip form needs to be improved,” says Peloton instructor Andy Speer.

Here, a few simple ways you can build your grip strength to increase your strength training stamina and help you get the most power out of every workout.

Step 1: Start Strength Training

For many of us, all we need to do to literally get a grip is to start—or continue to—strength train. “If you are regularly strength training, grip strength can develop naturally,” Andy says.

However, there is some targeted training you can do to get a stronger grip faster.

“Hold a pair of dumbbells and march in place,” Andy says. “If you have room to walk, you can do that. The goal is not to cover ground; it’s to hold the dumbbells for a certain amount of time, keeping proper posture with your body.”

Using the heaviest pair of dumbbells you can, start with two or three sets lasting one to two minutes each. Do this two to three times a week, adding 10 to 15 seconds each week as you progress. After about a month, you’ll notice a significant shift in your grip.

Be Firm, but Don’t Squeeze

There is such a thing as too strong of a grip. Holding the weights very tightly can make your form suffer the same as not holding the weights tight enough. Andy suggests this routine to master the perfect grip: Using a light dumbbell (try five pounds to start), hold your arms out at 90 degrees (think about the halfway point in a hammer curl exercise). Rotate the palms up and down, tilting the dumbbells and flexing and extending your wrists. Do this until you start to feel fatigued.

Pro tip: If the weights you have at home are too heavy for the above exercise, use household items like water jugs, ropes or even a towel to start. “You just want to work on keeping the wrist in a neutral position, so it doesn’t fall out of an extension or tilt your dumbbells side to side when doing a chest press,” Andy says. If done correctly, these items can have the same impact as free weights.

Ultimately, you want to do two to three sets of this move twice a week. It’s a great way to warm your hands up before a 10-minute strength class. But if you feel like you can’t handle a strength training session on top of grip training but still want to get a workout in, opt for a bodyweight strength class instead to give your hands a break while still working your muscles.

Your Grip and the Bike

Practicing the proper grip can also pay off on your rides. If you grip the handlebars too tightly, you’re not utilizing your core as well as you should be (especially when you’re jogging or climbing out of the saddle). On the flip side, constantly shifting your hands or taking them off the bars completely will interrupt the flow of your ride, according to Andy. “Being able to maintain proper grip position for an extended length of time on the Bike can be thought of as grip strength training as well,” he says. Work on your form by taking a beginner ride so you can make sure you have the proper grip needed to get the most out of your rides.

Whichever kind of strength workout you need today, you can find it on the Peloton App—or for exclusive strength programs, check out our first-ever connected strength product, Peloton Guide.

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Colleen Travers

Writer, editor, content creator, and digital consultant with a focus on health, wellness, food, and lifestyle topics.