It's easy to overlook certain things like joint flexibility, endurance, agility, and grip strength when we think about our body's overall strength and fitness skills. When it comes to grip strength, most people assume it's how hard we can hold on to something. That's correct. However, as simple as it might sound, grip strength comes into play in nearly every movement and workout.
An increasing number of experts worldwide are highlighting how forearms and hands are the gatekeepers to optimal functional fitness. They're the body parts primarily in charge of how well we grip. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about grip strength and the key to improving it safely and conveniently.
Grip Strength 101: What is it? And why is it Important?
Technically, grip strength goes beyond being capable of holding something in your hands. It is the physical ability to hold on to and maintain control of external objects in the hands for an extended period. It's a measure of muscular and upper body strength, as it requires both forearm and hand strength.
Grip strength entails several grip types, so it's not just about wrapping your fingers around something. Some varieties include pronated (palms facing down), Supinated (palms facing up), hybrid (variations), and neutral (palms facing towards one another).
The Importance of Grip Strength
Even actions as seemingly insignificant as vacuuming, cooking, opening a jar, shaking hands with someone, carrying groceries, and swinging a baseball bat or golf club utilize grip strength. The truth is we use our hands for literally everything, even to hold our mobile devices! Different functions may require different grip strength types across several categories, including pinching, crushing, supporting, and extending. This explains why tendon pain and wrist aches can creep in, stressing the importance of improving and maintaining our grip strength as we age.
Without proper grip strength, a slew of muscle injuries and imbalances could occur. If the forearm muscles and grip aren't conditioned with strength, mobility, and endurance, it will result in frustrating chronic overuse or repetitive motion injuries. Since the wrist plays a crucial role in grip strength, not having proper mobility could make that joint weak, leading to several injuries: pain, less blood flow, and limited range of movement. When the wrist feels weak or stiff, the grip would be directly affected, requiring other body parts to compensate.
Improve Grip Strength with Yoga
Pranayama and yoga have shown promising outcomes as holistic methods of improving grip strength. The many asanas of yoga often require using hands and the employment of a grip. These include the downward dog, a.k.a the Adho Mukha Svanasana, and many other poses where hand grip strength is crucial for maintaining balance. These poses are the centerpieces for many yoga practices that require the hands, wrists, and forearms to undergo a lot of strength training.
Many studies have found that grip strength invariably increases with regular yoga practice (Ye et al., 2020; Telles et al., 2010; Garfinkel et al., 1998). Moreover, yoga helps reduce the risk of falling, improves postural stability, decreases disease activities in rheumatoid arthritis, and effectively helps relieve symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. In a nutshell, yoga is an incredibly powerful tool for getting healthier hands.
Improving your grip strength has several dramatic consequences when it comes to improving your quality of life. It's also a powerful indicator of longevity and boosts overall strength. Using yoga accessories like wooden yoga blocks, push-up stand parallettes, and yoga block wedges by Feelio Blocks can help ensure adequate fitness wrist support.
Our wooden yoga wrist blocks are slip-resistant with a sturdy base, which helps significantly enhance stability and balance, allowing effective weight distribution and better form and alignment for newbie and seasoned yogis alike. They also help ease into more challenging poses, strengthen your grip, add resistance, and relieve pain, stiffness, and pressure in the wrist, shoulders, elbows, rib cage, and other body parts.
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