The first step in training for Tough Mudder events is to build up your grip strength. Grip strength is more important than most people think and here’s exactly why. When setting up a resistance training plan, grip training is probably not a go-to lift or set of exercises that come to mind, but it’s certainly worth incorporating.
When creating a workout programme, people invest countless hours closely examining every facet of their legs, chest, shoulders and back routines. Every possible angle is covered to reach maximum gains… but what most overlook is the benefits of grip strength. Plus over time a stronger grip will actually boost your overall strength performance.
When it comes to your grip, there are three unique types of strength.
- Crush: Curling your fingers to your palm is your crush strength. Think crumbling a ball of paper in your hands or shaking someone’s hand.
- Pinch: This one is kind of self-explanatory – it’s the strength between your fingers and your thumb, like if you’re pinching yourself.
- Support: Your ability to hold onto something for a long period of time, like hanging on a pull-up bar is all about support.
How To Improve Grip Strength At Home
You don’t need dumbbells to work on your grip strength, just grab onto these household items to build a stronger grip.
Squish a stress ball (a tennis ball works too) with your entire hand for 5 to 10 pulses. Repeat using just your thumb and index finger. Progress through each finger, then switch hands and repeat this sequence.
Shopping Bag Farmer’s Walk
What’s better than taking only one trip to bring your shopping inside? Absolutely nothing. You can use those tough, reusable bags and load them up with anything. Stand in place or walk around the neighbourhood.
Snag one off those rubber band balls in your desk and do these simple rubber band extensions with your fingers. If one band gets too easy, put two or more on. This is a super easy exercise to do while you’re on a phone call or watching TV. It gets the blood moving through the hands and helps balance out your vice-grip.
Grab the biggest, heaviest book you have. Hold it in that pinch grip position (fingers on one side, thumb on the other). This may be easy, if so, then “walk the book” in your hand by moving your fingers up and down the spine while you hold it in mid-air. Do this for several trips. This will get tough.
Towels During Pulling Exercises
You can add ropes or towels to just about any pulling exercise. You still get the benefit of the pulling exercise but with the significant challenge on your grip strength in all three ways. The sky’s the limit with your creativity here.
Ideally for obstacle course events, you’ll need to incorporate exercises that involve crush, pinch and support strength. You’ll find you’ll need both crush and pinch strength for obstacles – especially those in which you’ll need to grab a teammate’s hand, like Everest.
Do these on a regular basis, and you will be flying across Funky Monkey on the Tough Mudder course in no time.