Getting a better grip on your health, love life, and mortality could be the results of literally getting a better grip.
While grip strength may only seem relevant to opening jars, a 2011 study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that grip strength was predictive of strength in push-ups, leg extensions and leg press.
What’s more, research in previous generations has linked lower grip strength to a variety of serious health problems including arthritis, heart disease, stroke and neurological conditions, says Dr Elizabeth Fain, an assistant professor of occupational therapy at Winston-Salem State University in the US.
It’s not clear whether grip strength actually makes people healthier, or if healthier people are just stronger, however a new study from Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health and the Columbia Aging Center has found grip strength to directly correlate with marital status.
In the recently released data, an analysis of over 5000 adults found that men with a stronger grip strength (measured with a vigorimeter), were more likely to be married than those with weaker grip.
"Our results hint that women may be favoring partners who signal strength and vigor when they marry," said Vegard Skirbekk, PhD, professor, Columbia Aging Center and Mailman School professor of Population and Family Health. "If longer-lived women marry healthier men, then both may avoid or defer the role of caregiver, while less healthy men remain unmarried and must look elsewhere for assistance."
The study suggests that grip strength is particularly important for older adults, with a roll on effect to other areas of health. Resulting heart disease, fractures, physical immobility and social implications resulting from poor grip strength all affect poor quality of life.
So what can you do to combat poor grip strength? Besides going through the cupboard and opening every jar of Vegemite, this grip-specific workout from BJ Gaddour could boost your health all round. Not to mention, could land you a wife!
1. Towel-grip Dead Hang
Towels are a great way to intensify your grip training without needing to add external loads to your body.
Hold yourself in a dead hang for as long as you can for 3 to 5 sets.
Aim to be able to hold yourself for 30 seconds at first. Once you can get to 60 or more seconds, you’re a forearm freak show!
2. Dumbbell Zottman Curl
One of the reasons your forearms tend to lag behind your biceps is because you can use heavier weights on underhand-grip biceps curls than overhand-grip curls, which more directly work your lower arms.
The Zottman curl allows you to benefit from the stronger underhand position on the way up but then loads up your weaker overhand grip on the way down to attack your forearms.
Do 3 to 5 sets of 8 to 12 reps.
Lower your weights slowly, taking 3 to 5 seconds on the lowering phase of the exercise, to incur the most muscle damage on those forearms. This will max out your muscle and strength gains.
3. Barbell Reverse Curl
This is a great move to do for high reps—it will give you an epic muscle pump.
Do 3 to 5 sets of 15 to 20 reps.
Keep your reps smooth and controlled and focus on driving as much blood into your forearms as possible.
Want even more gainz? Immediately follow each set with 15 to 20 additional reps with an underhand grip. This mechanical drop set tends to turn those arm veins into anacondas.