Why grip is critical in strengthening the mind:muscle connection
Correct positioning of the hands during training means clients can focus more clearly on major muscle groups, reports PT Tristan Gardner.
Every time I bring on a new round of personal training clients, one of the greatest clues as to who is going to have the biggest success story is who can focus their mind on the muscle that is being asked to work.
That can be working on structural balance of the upper body by being able to focus on the muscles controlling the scapula, feeling all the glutes and hamstrings working whilst deadlifting or biceps working in a curl.
Some of the greatest bodybuilding and performance coaches have talked about the mind:muscle connection and the impact it has.
It can take years to master this mind:muscle. Using GRYPiT® handles, for example, allows you to shorten this learning curve quite considerably. When you truly value your gym time and the results you are going to get from it, having the right tools are critical.
Being able to specifically feel the working muscles early on in clients' gym journey is something that I can refer back to with them time and time again even when using barbells and dumbbells.
The crucial thing is that they have already understood what it feels like to be making these muscles work so they can stimulate the same nerve pathways repeatedly.
Another key point is that many of the new clients I bring on board haven't had manual jobs, so their grip can be a hurdle in their quest for results.
Although we want the muscles responsible for grip to have to do some work, which is one of the reasons it is best to try to avoid lifting straps which remove too much, we want the primary movers to be doing the vast majority of the work from the lift. The greater the stimulus, the greater the benefit enjoyed by those muscles.
Removing some of the work having to be done by the muscles responsible for grip can have large knock-on effects. Looking at a horizontal pulling exercise like a seated row where the muscles being targeted are the large muscles in the upper back, unless you have a history of rock climbing and a couple of other sports, your grip is likely to be the first thing to fatigue.
Delaying the point at which fatigue kicks in means that more sets and reps will be able to be accomplished. Being able to complete extra work on these muscle groups is going to mean that whatever goal, it will be achieved far quicker.
Tristan is a highly experienced PT who specialises in functional fitness, offering personal training services to business owners, healthcare professionals and aspiring athletes to help them enjoy improved quality of life, stay injury free and hone the shape they seek.