3 Go-To Grip Strength Exercises
By: Andy Partin
Stronger hands, wrists, forearms and overall grip have obvious benefits in baseball especially in swinging a bat but also can increase velocity and prevent injury by supporting the elbow.
Throwing a baseball requires plenty of wrist and finger snap. The stronger both are the more spin you can create on the ball – increasing velocity. Same with a bat. The stronger your hands and wrists are the more bat-speed you’ll have.
Forearm muscles are divided up in to two basic groups:
1) Forearm Flexors are better known for “grip strength” in forms of “isometric” grip strength, like holding something heavy in your hand and (B.) “concentric” grip strength, like crushing someone’s hand when you shake it (closing your hand against resistance).
2) Forearm Extensors are responsible for extending the wrist, like when throwing a baseball. Doing bicep curls, reverse curls or hammer curls will only partially work the forearm extensors where reverse wrist rolling train the muscle group completely and very directly.
When recommending a training program for baseball players, I like to recommend 3 different types: rolling, gripping and timed holds. This allows you to train the hands, wrists and forearms in several different ways.
Most baseball players have performed the wrist rollers where you roll the weighted rope/line up round the roller. Remember, it’s equally as important to “roll” the weight back down as it is to roll it up.
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Squeezing grippers like the Captain’s of Crush is a great exercise for grip strength. Mixing it up by squeezing a gripper 10 or 20 times to fatigue and then performing a squeezed “hold” for 30 seconds (for example).
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3) “Pinch Blocks”
These are the best for isometric grip strength. If you have smooth bumper plates you can also pinch-hold those as well.
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I recommend training grip strength sub-maximally every other day (3 x per week) at the end of your workouts or away from your workouts throughout the year.
Important Note: You will need weighted plates for both the wrist roller and pinch block. I’d suggest 1 x 2.5 lbs, 1 x 5 lbs and 1 x 5 lbs to start with.
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