Despite the importance of a strong and reliable grip, training the grip is usually the last thing on most trainee's minds. Most folks would rather train their chest, back, and other larger muscles and not really focus on grip work except for whatever work the forearms and fingers get from performing exercises for these larger body parts.
And I'm not saying that's necessarily a bad thing - training the larger muscles of the body is always good, and yes, the grip does get worked quite a bit on exercises that target the chest and back - but always remember, a chain is only as strongest as it's weakest link, and if your grip is that link, well, some focused grip work won't hurt.
Anyhow, I discuss that in detail in Fast and Furious Fitness, but today's email is about balanced grip training, so lets get back on topic for now.
When we talk about "grip training", most folks instantly associate it with training the fingers to "close" powerfully around a said object. So you could be training for a firm/crushing handshake, or perhaps to improve your pull-ups by gripping the bar firmer. Those are great, but there's a missing link here - that being the muscles that do the opposite i.e. "open" your fingers.
To put this in perspective (of sorts), a crocodile has one of the most powerful bites in the entire animal kingdom. More than a grizzly bear, more than a hyena, or even shark - but tie a croc up and hold it's closed mouth with a normal grip - and it won't be able to open that massive jaw until you let it.
Sounds amazing, but it's true, the croc's jaw muscles bite down with immense force, but are unable to exert any tangible force the other way around.
Now, how does this relate to humans? I'm certainly not asking you to mess around with wild crocodiles, but what I'm saying is that we have something similar going on with our "gripping" muscles as well - those being the muscles (and tendons) in our forearms, fingers, wrist and even palm.
And the way you train these muscles is by focusing on training the FINGERS, rather than grip. One way is to do fingertip pushups - I did these at the end of my pull-up routine today, and I'm feeling a "sore to the bone" feeling in my forearms - different from what pull-ups or other tough grip work feels like.
Not necessarily "better" or "more effective" - but definitely DIFFERENT - and definitely another way of training your gripping muscles in another direction. You don't want to have a weak link anywhere, and balancing your grip training out is important for this very reason.
Additionally, strengthening yourself in one direction will automatically lead to strength gains in your other grip work - try it out yourself if you don't believe me! This holds true for other body parts as well, and the grip muscles are no different in this regard.
So thats the tip for today - back again later.
P.S.: If your looking to develop gorialla like claws and gripping power, the first thing you need to lay your mitts on is Fast and Furious Fitness: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/83-fast-and-furious-fitness-the-book