If you’re suffering from hand, wrist, elbow, neck or shoulder pain, the weakness of your grip strength may be a contributing factor. As all of our devices get lighter and the common actions of our fingers and hands become more repetitive (typing anyone?), your hands, wrists and forearms are really good at a few things: typing and texting.
Weakness in the upper body often manifests as pain as other areas are overburdened by the lack of strength in their neighbors. Issues such as carpal tunnel, golfer’s elbow, tennis elbow, and any number of shoulder issues that can occur can all be attributed to weakness of any part of the upper body.
I went rock climbing for the first time in a while and the insane soreness in my latissimus and forearms makes it clear to me that I am weak in these areas. Even with the overhead work I do in the gym, I’m not spending enough time bearing the weight of my body with my arms overhead. And unless you’re a ninja warrior in your free time, I’d say it’s a pretty safe bet that you too are not spending enough time building your grip strength by hanging. Squeezing stress balls or grip trainers cannot simulate your soft and hard tissues having to bear the weight of your body against gravity, which is essential to improve strength.
I wouldn’t recommend you to go out and start doing 100 pull ups a day and call it quits. Gradually building the strength and load tolerance of all of the soft and hard tissues of the upper limbs will help to stave off injury as you get stronger.
Check out my video below for a grip strength and hanging progression that can help whether you are starting from ground zero or are a bit stronger.
Aim for an accumulation of 1 minute a day, breaking it up into manageable chunks. If you can only last for 10 seconds, do 6 sets of 10. If you can last for the whole minute, do more!
Want your own pull-up bar? Here’s the one I use at home.
- October 15: FREE Yoga Tune Up® Class at Athleta (Pasadena, CA)
- October 22: Mobility for Performance (Santa Monica, CA)
- October 27 – Nov 3 YTU Level 1 Teacher Training with Nicole Quibodeaux (Tarzana, CA)
- November 5: Optimal Breathing for Performance (Torrance, CA)
- November 11-13: YTU Integrated Embodied Anatomy Training (Tarzana, CA)