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The Range Physio Grip Strength Guide

Measuring Grip Strength

Grip Strength is something that we measure when we are looking at rehabilitating upper limb injuries including: hand, wrist, forearm, shoulder and neck injuries. Having reduced grip can hold you back from being able to execute daily tasks like picking things up and opening jars. Reduced grip strength can also impede you when participating in your favourite sports or performing your favourite exercises.

Grip strength is also a good indicator of overall physical health and loss of grip strength has been associated with disability, morbidity and mortality.

In the clinic we use a hand dynamometer to measure grip strength (see picture). This is a quick and easy test and there is normative data that is gender and age specific so you can see how you stack up!

Grip strength is quick and easy to measure and can be a good indicator of overall physical health or recovery of upper limb function following an injury. Grip strength can be retrained by emphasising a strong grip in normal strength exercises or doing specific isolated grip exercises.

Our Go To Grip Strength exercises

One of the best ways to start to improve your grip strength is through a well balanced strength training program that includes free weights (dumbbells, barbells and kettlebells). If you are already doing this then you can emphasize grip strength by purposefully gripping the bar. Some helpful cues are to “think about breaking the bar in half”, “squeeze the bar as hard as you can” or “rip the bar”.

There is also a number of specific exercises we use to help restore or improve isolated grip strength. These are our go to’s!

  • Stress Ball: Squeeze the ball with maximum intent and fully release – give it all you’ve got! Start with reps of 50 and build up to 100

  • Roller Ball: Incredibly frustrating at first but a great way to improve control, stability and strength at the wrist. Aim to build up to 3-5 minutes

  • Kettlebell Carries for grip strength: Suitcase Carries, Farmers Carries, Bottom Up Carry and Overhead Carries. An excellent way to work on grip strength endurance and one you can build through progressing to heavier weights. Keep the kettlebell as still as possible and squeeze the handle.

  • Bottoms up Kettlebell Shoulder Press: A great challenge for the whole upper limb. This one keeps you honest. Drive the kettlebell towards the ceiling then slowly control it on lowering

Want to build a grip strength program specifically for YOU?

Our team of physios can develop and prescribe a program to help get you feeling stronger and moving better!

Click here for more info