Kettlebell Training: Grip Strength
If you want to become amazing at kettlebell training, then there is one thing you need to develop more than anything else and that is grip strength. A firm and powerful grip is precisely what will enable you to lift heavier kettlebells for longer periods of time, not to mention the best way to ensure that you don’t accidentally launch them through the window in your local gym…
Meanwhile though, building amazing grip strength will benefit you in areas that extend far beyond the reaches of the kettlebell and this is actually one of the biggest reasons to take up this kind of training in the first place. By taking up kettlebell training, you’ll be able to build forearm and grip power that will translate to improved performance in just about every aspect of your life.
The question then becomes: how do you develop the kind of grip strength that you need for kettlebell training? And why is it so important anyway?
Why Grip Strength is Crucial
If you want to improve your performance on any movement in the gym, then training your grip strength is essential. Grip strength gives you a firmer hold on the bar or weight and this in turn means that more of the force you apply will go into the movement rather than just holding onto the weight. This can also help you to last longer on movements like pull ups or deadlifts before fatiguing.
This is something that old-time strongmen knew very well and hence they would train with weights that had wider bars for instance in order to increase the challenge for their grip. This also prevented anyone from their audience from stepping up and showing them up by being able to lift the same weights. No matter how strong they were, they would normally lack that crucial grip strength.
And in the real world, grip strength is useful for: opening jam jars, combat, climbing, using tools, carrying luggage and more!
How to Develop Grip Strength
Training with kettlebells is one excellent way to develop grip strength because the weights swing. Each time you perform one of the movements, the angle will change, forcing you to tighten your grip in response and thereby keep the weights held firmly rather than dropping.
There are many more ways you can develop grip strength though in your training and these will help you to improve your kettlebell workouts as well as many other aspects of your training.
Good examples include:
- Performing pull ups by gripping onto a rope or even a towel looped over a pull up bar
- Performing curls with thicker bars
- Training using a grip trainer
- Attempting to bend bars
- Performing wrist curls and other exercises that specifically target forearms
Another great option is taking up rock climbing and in particular, traversing.
Rock climbing requires you to hold onto the small holes and jutting out rocks that you can grip onto.
Traversing means climbing along the wall instead of up and this is an ideal form of exercise as it allows you to climb without a rope (you never get more than a meter off the ground) and means you are gripping onto the wall for longer periods of time while you find your footing.