At the end of this week, I expect some of you have some unhappy forearms. While we feel your pain, we also want you to hear the wake up call to get a grip.
How is your grip? No, I'm not talking about your handshake (but if that's weak too... get on it). I am talking about your actual grip strength - the most commonly overlooked aspect of athletic training.
Having a hearty grip and developed hand strength is indispensable to every sport - even down to synchronized swimming. As a lifter or CrossFitter, your grip is essential to the intensity of your strength training.
There are four different kinds of grip strengths. Just like with anything else, you should strive to have a balance.
Your pinch strength is your ability to pinch weight between your thumb and fingers. Try gripping two weight plates together in one hand - work up to two #25's.
This is the must popular grip to train. This is the strength you feel when you shake someone's hand and squeeze. The "gripper" is the most popular training device to develop crush strength.
Supporting strength is the grip strength used to hold things like a barbell, tennis racket or pull up bars. Farmer's walks are a great exercise to develop supporting strength. Things like bar hangs are good to develop grip endurance.
This is your ability to open your hand. It tends to be the least practiced in terms of building strength. The best exercise for this is rubber bands around the fingers and spreading them open.
So go grab something. Be creative. There are fun activities that can help (think rock climbing, bouldering, or tug of war). Just remember - don't practice on your friends - they'll practice back.