Grips! What are they and how to stop grip strength from holding you back

Grip Strength by Grace Brown on Strong Words | Image by  Christy White Photography  | Grace Brown Fitness London

“My muscles feel fine but my grip is going”

I hear this all the time. In the end, often you’re only as strong as your “weakest” link and sometimes this is as simple as your grip.

Grip strengthening is an essential part of strength training and that means incorporating exercises that require a variety of grip types in your program.

What muscles are involved?

Flexors and extensors in your forearms help you move your fingers and varying the grips you use helps work different points. Then you have the many small muscles in your hand and fingers. They might be tiny but they are essential for everyday functions.


How can I improve my grip strength?

Exercises that are specifically for your grip, such as fingers exercises, can help with your focus in the mind/muscle connection, but it’s important to include exercises with grip requirements into your schedule rather than just doing grip work on its own.

Dead hangs, chin ups, deadlifts (any form), dumbbell rows and heavy carries are all great.

Back exercises often have a big grip component and keep an eye out for exercises that can have different grip variations, such as cable rows, which will give you a well rounded way to build out your grip strength.

What are the different grips?

Pronated GRip on Strong Words by Grace Brown.JPG

Pronated Grip

Overhand Grip

Pronated is the most advanced and difficult of the grips. You'll see this grip if you are looking at chin up videos online when people with big muscles show off their skills. It mostly hits the muscles in the back, making it more difficult as you aren't able to use the strength of your biceps in the movement.

Semi-Supinated Grip on Strong Words by Grace Brown.JPG

Semi-Supinated Grip

Neutral Grip

Semi-supinated grip will be used for some of the dumbbell exercises. It is neutral as it is halfway between under- and overhand. It's a great way to strengthen slightly different areas of your upper body.

Supinated Grip on Strong Words by Grace Brown.JPG

Supinated Grip

Underhand Grip

Often the easier of the grips, as it involves the biceps (bigger muscles compared to triceps, for example)

Supinated is the easiest grip as it allows us to use the biceps more than just your back. For anyone doing chin ups in a gym or a park, you'll most likely have access to a straight bar and supinated grip will be your best friend.

If you’re just starting out with weights, I would recommend mastering supinated, then semi-supinated and then pronated as you progress.

By consistently challenging your grip with all of the variations, over time, your strength will improve. This isn’t just about in the gym, even things like opening cans will be easier!

By identifying your weakness and working on it as part of your normal regimen, you’re actively moving the bar for yourself and lifting restrictions. W

How have you managed to move the needle in your training?