“My hands hurt.”
“I need more chalk.”
These are all common phrases you’ll hear thrown around a Crossfit gym on a daily basis. What seems to be the common denominator with these statements? You got it–grip strength (or lack thereof.) Learn how to get a better grip and you’ll see an increase in strength at the gym.
Your grip is determined by the strength in your fingers, forearm and wrist. You may find yourself breaking up your pull ups or even deadlifts not because it’s too hard or heavy but because your grip is too weak. Your grip strength is important because it can prevent pain and injuries caused by overuse, and when weak, can result in “golfer’s elbow” and carpal tunnel. The pain can travel from your wrist all the way up to your elbow and cause fatigue in many of your Crossfit movements.
Improving your grip strength doesn’t take a ton of skill but rather persistence, repetition, and of course, time. Performing movements and exercises like farmer carries, tire flips, pull ups, bar hangs and even sledge hammer hits will all improve your grip. Using a thicker bar and varying your grip will also help and target different areas to strengthen. Switching from neutral to reverse grip will give part of your hand a break while strengthening the other.
Chalk will help prevent slipping, but it won’t make your grip stronger. Spend a little time working those muscles and soon you’ll have the strongest handshake in town.