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Getting A Grip On Things

Most people agree that combative sports require training your hands to reach your maximal potential.

Little agreement exists among research studies on the optimum position of the wrist to facilitate optimal grip strength. Knowing the exact position would certainly aid in hand strength development.

Standardizing how you hold your wrist when applying force and how you deviate your ulnar or radius is a factor in replicating results.

Radical Deviation and Ulnar Deviation Extension and Flexion

What researchers are in agreement upon, is that  standing and testing your grip strength is the strongest position to be in. Some studies have showed that there is not much different in sitting or supine gripping strength, all acknowledge that in a  supine position the grip is the weakest.

There is no real consensus whether gripping with your arm at 90 degrees or 180 degrees or somewhere between is the best.

Pendulum Grip Machine

Yet 90 degrees of elbow flexion is the recommended testing position by the American Society of Hand Therapists for grip strength measurement.

Wrist position is another factor that affects grip strength. Wrist  extension somewhere between 15 and 30 degrees of the 70 degrees of movement with very little radial and ulnar deviation, seems to be the strongest position and most repeatable.

The bottom line is this: in order to maximize your hand strength you must keep your wrist extensors extremely strong to fixate the wrist providing a stable base for squeezing the hand closed.

Three excellent movements to maximize hand closing strength.

1). Start with a great gripper that allows you to stand. A gripper allows you to be systematic and progressive so you ‘overload’.

2). Follow the gripper with wrist extension. Order of exercise is important in this series of exercises as you need the wrist extensors to remain strong when doing the gripper to maximize hand closing.

Wrist extension is the upward movement of the hand. The wrist movement starts and returns only a few degrees or so below parallel and extends upward.  Your forearm should be at  a 45 degree angle below parallel relative to the upper arm while seated. Start this exercise with a very light dumbbell. Slowly adapt to the movement.

3). The wrist roller is a great finisher to augment wrist extensions. Wrist rollers are notorious for being inaccurate in trying to be progressive. There are so many muscular groups that enter into the movement. You must have very strict form during this exercise.

Grip ExerciseFirst select a thin wrist roller. Thin wrist rollers require a great deal of wrist extension.  Stand with your arms full extended with the roller directly in front of your chin. Select a weight you can roll up and down twice without bending your elbows or deviating from your beginning position. This means that your arms must remain straight and not drop or raise above parallel and your body must remain still with the exception of the movement of your hands.

Pendulum Grip Machine

Train the hands to Get Strong.


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Livonia Franklin High School
2024 CSCCa

A morning workout on the Pendulum Rack System at the College Strength and Conditioning Show in Fort Worth, Texas. The strength coaches are Staying Strong. The Pendulum Rack System