Get a Grip
For any fans of Mad Men, the Don Draper look is iconic- the white shirt, power tie, and jacket and the confident, firm handshake.
Parents used to – it’s not as much a thing today – coach children on the proper handshake. There were real reasons for it. Studies showed people with firm handshakes were judged to be more open, extroverted, and positive than others.
Today, though, the person most likely to judge your handshake will be a doctor. They will be looking for your “grip” strength. Researchers over the past 10 years have established a clear correlation between a stronger grip and a lower risk of heart attack and stroke. That’s because grip strength is a predictor of overall strength and endurance and muscle strength typically means a healthier heart.
Grip strength is critical for a number of sports, including sports where you touch a ball, gymnastics, and wrestling, and everyday activities such as carrying luggage and opening a jar. So the next time you are at the gym, work in some exercises to make your hands stronger.
There actually are three kinds of grip strength – crush, pinch, and
support. Here are some simple movements for each.
The gripper squeeze: You can use a stress ball for this at work. Squeeze the ball in and out for 20 seconds then rest for 10 seconds. Do that for three rounds. At the gym, use the hand gripper, which will have a spring in the middle.
Try the dead hang. Hang from a pull-up bar for as long as you can with your arms straight. It’s harder than it sounds, especially if pull-ups aren’t in your regular exercise routine. You also could do the farmer’s carry. Grab a pair of dumbbells and hold tight as you walk around the room. The heavier the better. Wrap a small towel around the dumbbell grip for added difficulty.
Plate orbits keep you moving while strengthening your grip. Grab five- or 10-pound plates. Then, with your thumb on one side and fingers on the other, pass the plate around your body in one direction three times then switch directions. As you get stronger, add two, three, four plates at a time, but be mindful of your surroundings in case you need to drop them.