Many people like to hit the gym and focus on heavy lifting for long periods of time. If you are this type of heavy lifter/body builder, you may find that the one thing that prevents you from not completing your workout is that your grip fails -- especially on heavy pulling, deadlift and hanging days. Here is an interesting question from a future military member who has a background in powerlifting/body building and is focusing on more running, but he builds his PT strength and muscle stamina with higher-repetition lifts and calisthenics:
Stew, I have been lifting for years and I am finding that the one thing stopping me from finishing big-repetition pull-up workouts is my grip. Any suggestions on 1) strengthening my grip, and 2) is using devices (straps) to help prolong my workout (especially on pull-ups and farmer walks) something you recommend?
Sure, pull-ups, pulldowns, rows, rope climbs, farmer walks and deadlifts will crush your grip -- especially if you do several of these in a circuit. I recommend you do them without grips at first, then resort to grips when needed to complete the workout. I also have created a Grip Workout circuit that I like to use at the end of a workout, just to top off my grip muscles after a challenging pull day.
I recommend using straps, especially when the workouts get long and you need a little more grip stamina to complete it. We have done long runs and shuffles with stretchers carrying 150-200 pounds of sandbags, or we switch out members of the group as the injured man drill. Do this on a USMC endurance course, and you have yourself quite a workout.
You also will find that you need people to rotate carrying the stretcher either with one hand or both. If you have a small group, you may want to bring some form of grip strap. This is where I really like the Versa Gripps, though you can see from its site, it is developed and sold to hardcore lifters.
There is also a tactical application to this specific product that I like that is different than your typical grip straps used for decades by heavy lifters. The reason I like the Versa Gripps Pro is that they offer not only grip relief when needed like your normal canvas/nylon straps, but they also are extremely helpful when carrying stretchers with 200+ pound soldiers on them for long distances.
You can leave them on your wrist like a wrist band and turn them around and grab the bar, stretcher or heavy piece of equipment with ease when needed. I have made my own canvas straps, but have easily lost many straps over the years simply because I could not secure them to my wrist.
It is important to work your grip for any tactical profession, but having a backup grip saver could be something that helps you with your job carrying gear, saving lives or deadlifting a truck!
Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Visit his Fitness eBook store if you're looking to start a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle. Send your fitness questions to email@example.com.
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