MON: Why Grip?

Last week, we mentioned that grip strength would be a skill goal this BLOCK that would have ancillary benefits to your fitness. Grip training can be a tough sell. There’s probably nothing less sexy when it comes to functional fitness. After all, who the hell wants to just hold heavy things for an uncomfortable amount of time?

In reality, few things are actually more functional.

When we call upon the maximum strength of grip, we are asking our body to do things that have a profound immediate and long-term effect.

  1. Recruit more muscle fibers (muscular)
  2. Recruit more motor units (neural) 

For example, toting a pair of heavy bells at a level that makes you uncomfortable asks your body to tap into a portion of it’s muscle and nervous system it has not been asked to do before on other movements. From a muscular perspective, we’re going to “activate” muscles deep within our core to stabilize us, as well as in our arms, chest, shoulders and mid to upper back. From a neural perspective, we’re calling on just about every motor unit we can find, some that have probably been snoozing this whole time and never once been called into action by you, like someone getting a bucket of cold water dumped on them while they sleep.

The result of this demand is very fast adaptation, those motor units are going to wake up and say, “Sir, yes sir!”, and your body gets stronger in a mostly non-muscular way.

This strength can then be transferred over to other movements like pull-ups, hang cleans, deadlifts, kettlebell swings, snatches, rows, and any movement that has a pull pattern to it. You’ll also see over strength in everything else because the nervous system gets stronger globally, not locally, meaning everywhere. So even pesky movements like push-ups will go up with more focus on creating a stronger grip.

If it sounds like black magic, it isn’t. That’s just the power of neural activation.

But, here’s the downside – it is taxing as HELL. Maxing out the demand of your grip capability is going to put your nervous system down for a few days and likely alter your output for at least 48 hours. So, just be mindful that days we have a grip demand this BLOCK, to challenge yourself, yet not completely take yourself to max output and fry your CNS. Think about selecting a weight on farmer’s walks where you can make the entire trip without setting the bell down, but it’s close.

Grip training may be uncomfortable, but the stimulus you will get from training it is highly concentrated, and quick to spread. At the very least, you’ll definitely be able to make that grocery haul in one trip.


Monday, 2.25.19

For Strength and Conditioning.
w/ a Partner

BB Complex 1
5 RDL + 5 BB Row
Then, 150m Run together

BB Complex 2
6 Hang Power Clean + Rev Lunge
Then, 150m Run together

BB Complex 3
8 Floor Press + 8 Floor Wipers
Then, 150m Run together