Let’s get real: the first step in training for Tough Mudder events is to build up your grip strength. Grip strength is more important than most people give credit and requires taking a closer look into. When setting up a resistance training plan, grip training is probably not a go-to lift or set of exercises that may come to mind, but it’s worth incorporating to some degree.
When creating a workout program, people invest countless hours closely examining every facet of their legs, chest, shoulders and back routines. Every possible angle is covered to reach maximum gains… but what most individuals overlook is the benefits of grip strength. Plus, a stronger grip will actually boost your overall strength performance over time.
When it comes to your grip, there are three unique types of strength.
- Crush: Curling your fingers to your palm is your crush strength. Think: crumbling a ball of paper in your hands or shaking someone’s hand.
- Pinch: This one is kinda self-explanatory—it’s the strength between your fingers and your thumb, like if you’re pinching yourself.
- Support: Your ability to hold onto something for a long period of time, like hanging on a pull-up bar is all about support.
How To Improve Grip Strength At Home
You don’t need dumbbells to work on your grip strength, just grab onto these household items to build a stronger grip:
Stress-Ball Squeeze/ Tennis Ball
Squish a stress ball (a tennis ball works too) with your entire hand for 5 to 10 pulses. Repeat using just your thumb and pointer finger. Progress through each finger, then switch hands and repeat this sequence.
Grocery bag farmer’s walks: What’s better than taking only one trip to bring your groceries inside? Absolutely nothing. You can use those tough, reusable bags and load them up with anything. Stand in place or walk around the neighborhood.
Snag one off those rubber band balls in your desk and do these simple rubber band extensions with your fingers.If one band gets too easy, put two or more on! This is a super easy exercise to do while you’re on a phone call or watching TV. It gets the blood moving through the hands and helps balance out your vice-grip.
Grab the biggest, heaviest book you have. Grab it in that pinch grip position (fingers on one side, thumb on the other). This may be easy, if so, then “walk the book” in your hand by moving your fingers up and down the spine while you hold it in mid-air. Do this for several trips. Tough!
Towels During Pulling Exercises
You can add ropes or towels to just about any pulling exercise. You still get the benefit of the pulling exercise but with the significant challenge on your grip strength in all three ways. The sky’s the limit with your creativity here.
Ideally for obstacle course events, you’ll need to incorporate exercises that involve crush, pinch & support strength. You’ll find you’ll need both crush and pinch strength for obstacles – especially those in which you’ll need to grab a teammate’s hand, like Everest. Monkey bars & rigs require support & crush strength whilst any type of hoist obstacle involves crush & support too.
Do these on a regular basis, and you will be flying across Funky Monkey on the Tough Mudder course in no time.