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 Post subject: Weak hands and forearms - need guidance for grip strength
PostPosted: Wed Sep 18, 2013 12:46 pm 
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Manatee
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Location: chicago, il
Hello all!

I have a history of weakness in my hands and forearms that started about five years ago. I think a combination of long bumpy bike rides with me riding on the brakes and playing aggressive bass in a metal band for many years just continually tore my wrists and forearms down. The end result is that my forearms often tire and give before my target muscles. Today is my rest day and I'm noticing a good amount of pain in my hands left over from the past two days of lifting. I think that the weakness in my hands and forearms is related but not necessarily directly connected in any way, I think it's just two areas that I've tended to abuse in the past.

I realize that I probably need to start doing some rehab on these areas, but I'm not sure where to start. My lifts are starting to get heavy enough where, for instance, when I'm deadlifting I'm feeling my grip going before my legs and my back. I want to be able to keep progressing but this won't be possible if this weakness/sensitivity stays the same. Currently I use gloves when I lift, but I'd be willing to ditch them if those more experienced than I think that they may be contributing to the weakness. I have some callouses built up and am comfortable going without gloves if necessary but they definitely make the lifting much easier for me.

I've been thinking about getting some Fat Gripz to keep at home and use them for doing some rehab work at home with light weights. Does this seem like something that might help? When the issues started back years ago my mother (who is a physical therapist but deals more with elderly patients than sports rehab) suggested that I work with a soup can and do a lot of wrist curls. I did that for awhile but I've fallen out of it for years. I'm not sure if I felt like it helped at all.

I am unwilling to give up my daily bike rides unless it is the only way to correct this. I do tend to have an aggressive posture on my bike which puts pressure on the wrists, so I imagine this exacerbates the situation and maybe I should raise my bars a little.

Anyone with advice or guidance would be greatly appreciated. I'm willing to slow things down if it'll help in the long term, I just need to know what I should be doing to take care of these weak spots. I had been hoping that consistent lifting would be enough to strengthen them up but it doesn't seem to be the case.

Thanks in advance!

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 Post subject: Re: Weak hands and forearms - need guidance for grip strengt
PostPosted: Wed Sep 18, 2013 2:50 pm 
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Here's the exercises I did to develop my grip strength into a strong point, and I still do them every week...

BAR HANGS - hang from a bar and work up your grip strength so that you can hang for 3 x 1min. You can also try these one-handed
D.BELL FARMERS WALKS - grab some heavy dumbbells and walk with them. Work up to 3 sets over 100m
TREADMILL D.BELLS - Walk for 10-15mins holding dumbbells at your side
SQUEEZES - Great all-round strengthener for the hands as well as your grip. Repeatedly squeeze a tennis ball
HEAVY DL HOLDS - 80-100% of your max, hold the lift at the top for as long as you can

Do you lift overhand/underhand (mixed grip) when you deadlift? This will give you a lot more stability and grip when the weight gets heavy. Another thing to consider would be to stop using lifting straps if you currently use them. Hope some of these help, start doing them regularly and they will make a big difference. Let me know how you go JIM.

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 Post subject: Re: Weak hands and forearms - need guidance for grip strengt
PostPosted: Wed Sep 18, 2013 2:58 pm 
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I might also copy this thread over to the Powelifting section of the forum ~ you might get some replies in there and I think it would also be useful for many people too. Cheers MF.

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 Post subject: Re: Weak hands and forearms - need guidance for grip strengt
PostPosted: Wed Sep 18, 2013 3:23 pm 
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Manatee
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Hey MF thanks for all the pointers. I don't currently use wraps for exactly that reason, because I know that my grip strength needs work and it wouldn't be getting the work if I was using straps. When I DL usually I'll pull with a standard grip until I get up to ~135 lbs and then I switch to mixed grip because it gets to be too heavy for me in standard. When I switch to mixed I can effectively move the bar but it hurts a lot more than I think it probably should, due to the weakness in my wrists and forearms. It really burns all the way up to about my elbows.
I've done farmer's walks before without thinking about how they would be a good grip strengthening lift, so I think I'll take your recommendations on that and work those back into my days. Working in some tennis ball squeezes is definitely something else I can do, at least until my dog starts freaking out about me carrying around tennis balls without throwing them for him (tennis balls don't last long at my house ;)).
Thanks for these tips, it sounds like I'll just have to work some of these into my days and try not to rip myself up too bad in the process of trying to up my weights.

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 Post subject: Re: Weak hands and forearms - need guidance for grip strengt
PostPosted: Wed Sep 18, 2013 6:02 pm 
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You may also find strengthening the forearms will help. Just so basic wrist curls & extensions or some forearm hammer curls & inward curls. Also if you make your self a good size sand bag or even a duffle bag filled with sand for sand bag tosses. They are great for building grips and forearm strength together.

I find rice bucket to work pretty well to. Just jam your hand in a big bucket full of rice and open & shut the hand.

Also make sure you are stretching those wrist muscles good around the cycling and lifting.

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 Post subject: Re: Weak hands and forearms - need guidance for grip strengt
PostPosted: Wed Sep 18, 2013 6:22 pm 
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This might be a useful read for you to.. http://www.sportsinjurybulletin.com/arc ... uries.html Even if you don't have handle bar palsy the exercises listed at for prevention could still be useful to you. Little prehab never hurts.

I know it's hard to change riding positions I tend to ride aggressively to but if you can make any adjustments to relive some of the pressure on your hands it will probably help. If possible and you don't already have them maybe some bar ends could help. Give you more options for hand positions

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 Post subject: Re: Weak hands and forearms - need guidance for grip strengt
PostPosted: Wed Sep 18, 2013 6:54 pm 
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Manatee

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Mini Forklift Ⓥ wrote:
Here's the exercises I did to develop my grip strength into a strong point, and I still do them every week...

BAR HANGS - hang from a bar and work up your grip strength so that you can hang for 3 x 1min. You can also try these one-handed

i did bar hangs for a couple weeks a while ago, each time there was a noticable increase in grip endurance, by week 2 i had doubled my grip length, not sure how this translates to grip on deadlifts etc


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 Post subject: Re: Weak hands and forearms - need guidance for grip strengt
PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2013 9:55 am 
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Location: chicago, il
Thank you for that link, Kora, it was very informative! I don't think that I have handlebar palsy (no tingling or anything, just a general soreness that I feel mostly in my palms and up the underside of my forearms), but I do think that some of those rehab exercises will work for me.
Today I've been sitting at my desk working a stress ball while I read/check emails, and I'll try to keep that up throughout the day and for as long as I can keep remembering to do it. When I go in to lift today I'm going to try to do some really good wrist flex and extensor stretches and warm ups before I actually hit the weights, and hopefully that will help me be limbered up and ready to go with less stress.
Muchidna, I think that I'm interested in doing these bar hangs, too. When you did the bar hangs, did you do them every session? Did you just hold until you couldn't keep yourself up any more? I've got a bar set up on the door frame going into my closet, I could very easily hang a few times a day. Maybe that would help!

Thank you all so much for you input, I really appreciate it. I'll have these arms back to 100% in no time!

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 Post subject: Re: Weak hands and forearms - need guidance for grip strengt
PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2013 11:25 am 
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i beans, it was a gym competition a couple months after i started going to the gym, would basically just do one hang for as long as i could, to failure (literally till my fingers slipped off & couldnt hold anymore) just before i started workout, then would continue to workout (the idea was to get the most time on there for the competition :P so i would do it fresh)
anyhow each day i did it, i gained about 10-20 seconds
anyway the competition ran for i think a week and a half and ended up almost doubling my grip length after i think 3-5 sessions, not sure if it's because i never really trained my grip before or something else, but yeah, worked for me

hopefully your forearm issues won't beincreased by doing this so just be careful


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 Post subject: Re: Weak hands and forearms - need guidance for grip strengt
PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2013 4:21 pm 
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muchidna wrote:
i did bar hangs for a couple weeks a while ago, each time there was a noticable increase in grip endurance, by week 2 i had doubled my grip length, not sure how this translates to grip on deadlifts etc

It does translate, absolutely.

If your grip endurance improves then that has to also link in with an improvement in grip strength.

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 Post subject: Re: Weak hands and forearms - need guidance for grip strengt
PostPosted: Sat Sep 21, 2013 5:13 pm 
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Hi B 'n' B

I have the same problem, ie forearms giving out before the targeted muscles, however my forearms are very strong and i've a vice like grip, the problem is my forearms are fast twitch dominate, and by the sounds of things, its likely you may have the same problem.

For years my back workouts always began with Pulldowns and then rows, in recent times i've began pre-exhausting my lats with Machine Pullovers (if you dont have access to a machine pullover, D-B pullovers can be subbed), this eliminates the weak links (biceps, forearms, grip etc) from the movement. With the lats pre-fatigued, and the weak links still fresh, going into a second back movement such as a row or chin, the weak links will actually assist the lats into a deeper state of fatigue. Pre-exhaustion has been a great way for me to work around my forearm problem, not to mention improved back development:) This is the technique Dorian Yates used to develop one of the greatest backs in BB history (of course his genetic's had something to do with it as well:)

Best of luck
Rob


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 Post subject: Re: Weak hands and forearms - need guidance for grip strengt
PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2014 1:23 am 
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1. Buy some Fat Gripz
2. Place Fat Gripz around 30lb dumbbells
3. Hold dumbbells for 30 seconds or to failure, take a 30 second break and repeat for a total of 8 sets
4. Repeat daily and increase weight by 5 pounds and seconds by 10 each week.

I just started using these today, and I could only hold the 120 pound weight with a fat grip on it for about two seconds before it slipped right out of my hand. My goal is to be able to hold that thing all day. This is what I'm doing and what a friend (who has huge forearms) told me to do. Although it seems like some bro science, the same principle (overreaching into what I believed was over-training) has helped me to recently make significant and quick changes to my calf development.


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