Grip It Like You Mean It!

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Flex those fingers and hold on tight!

Y’know what I’ve always found especially impressive? Folks with strong grips. I saw this dude in a martial arts movie once who just grabbed another dude by the face and just drove him into the ground. It’s really hard to hold someone by the face. Not that, y’know, I’d know. The point is, though, a good, powerful grip is a beneficial trait to have, and not just for inflicting bodily harm on people. The strength and technique of your grip can actually have a big impact on your weightlifting experience.

When you perform some manner of heavy pulling motion, either to lift some dumbbells or pull a cord or what have you, do you feel a sort of stabbing ache in your elbow? There’s a reason for that: you’re putting too much pressure on your ring finger. It makes sense that you’d grip weights with emphasis on your ring finger, it’s one of the two center fingers, after all. But what you may not know is that your ring finger is directly connected to your flexor digitorum superficialis. The FDS is a muscle located in your elbow that connects exclusively to the ring and pinkie fingers, and it’s not a load-bearing muscle, or at least it’s not supposed to be. The FDS is a pretty slim muscle, more for motor control than weight resistance. If you put too much pressure on it, your weightlifting could make you much more sore than it should.

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So how do you remedy this? Easy, redistribute the pressure elsewhere. Focus your grip more into the palm of your hand than your fingers. If you’re doing pull-ups, for instance, hold the bar with your entire hand, not just your fingers. Same with weightlifting; secure your grip with your palms and knuckles, not the joints of your fingers. If you can, put some small pads on the bar, just for your ring and pinkie fingers. This’ll help take weight off those fingers and send them to the others.