Crushing is defined as squeezing an object to the max. This may be in the form of a hand grip- I recommend the heavy ones, a tennis ball, or bending nails. This mainly works out the muscles of the digits, palm, and thumb, but some muscles of the forearm are active in crushing, such as the flexor digitorums and some others. I recommend training these as heavy as you can and pushing yourself to move up. If you do not have access to heavy grippers then tennis balls and nail bending will work just as well.
Pinching is defined as holding an object with fingers straight. This is similar to crushing in that it works the muscles of the forearm and hand; however, more emphasis is placed on the forearms and muscles of the thumb due to the change in the fulcrum. This is best incorporated on the same day as crushing due to the similarities. This can be done with a block with weight attached or by simply placing two plates facing each other and pinching with an individual hand or both.
Holding is, put simply, grabbing a weight and not letting go. This is very easy to work out because it is active on almost all pulling lifts. To train this I recommend not using straps and forcing yourself to hold on tight. If you want to train this, but don’t feel like just standing there, then farmer’s walks are a great full body holding exercise. You can put more emphasis on your holding muscles by adding tools like Fat Gripz or using a towel around the handle. Here at Solid we also incorporate the use of holding multiple kettlebells and bag carrying. Try to mix it up and be creative.
Flexion/extension and pronation/supination are both exercises mainly involving the forearms. These are probably the only grip/forearm exercises that are seen in the gym, but rarely. To work flexion you can do wrist curls off the bench or do behind the back barbell wrist curls (can be worked in with holding). To work extension you can do wrist extension off the bench (holding the weight with forearm on bench, try to take your knuckles to your forearms). Finally to work pronation/supination(rotation) you can hold some dumbbells in a half curl and twist the weights. If a hammer bar is available then use it, you’ll feel the difference. These exercises can all be made more effective by wrapping a towel around the handle.
These lifts do not exhaust the body very much and will not affect your hormones or overall recovery so you can do them very frequently. It fits in well at the end of a pulling or arm workout. It is also easy to do while sitting around or driving if you have a hand gripper. Stop in Solid and see some of our other unorthodox grip workouts.
Written by Ben Eisenmenger