A woman with a strong pair of hands that can grip tightly will have so much more confidence–not just in everyday tasks, but if she should ever find herself in a threatening situation.

And please, don’t think for a single moment that training the hand grip will give a woman hands that look like her husband’s or brother’s.

Women should focus on developing good grip strength for numerous reasons. When I was a personal trainer I discouraged my female clients from using weightlifting gloves, because these interfere with developing stronger hands.

If you’re a woman reading this, don’t assume that developing grip strength doesn’t apply to you just because all the ads for “Fat Gripz” and articles about grip strength feature MEN.

If anything, women, more so than men, need to develop grip strength.

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Aren’t you sick and tired of having to
ask men to unscrew jars?

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Want a stronger grip? Say “no” to weightlifting gloves!

If you want a super grip, you’ll need to ditch the doggone weightlifting gloves–no matter how fashionable they may be.

Getting callouses on your palms is a tiny price to pay for getting a stronger grip. The pulling exercises, such as rows and especially deadlifts, increase grip strength far more if you’re not wearing gloves!

Building strength in the forearm muscles, which control grip, will carry over to compound exercises like the deadlift and all other pulling actions like dumbbell bent-over rows, lat pull-downs and seated rows — which are favorite exercises among women who train in a gym.

How many women reading this often find themselves ending a deadlift set because their wrists kill – their back and legs are still smoking, but the bar is just about ready to fall through their fingers thanks to a weak grip?

Exercises that Target Forearms & Strengthen Hands

There’s actually quite a few exercises that target the forearms. I want to first explain a training technique that builds great forearm and grip strength: fat bar training.

Unfortunately, most gyms and health clubs do not have fat bars. The Fat Gripz product (available online) replaces the fat bar.

This device fastens securely to a bar or cable-pulley handle, increasing its diameter.

Imagine pulling a high tension band towards you; the handle is one inch in diameter.

Now imagine it’s two inches in diameter. Your fingers are now at a disadvantage, and your forearm muscles must work harder to compensate. This will strengthen a woman’s hand grip.

Fat bar training will kill two birds with one stone: You’ll get your major muscle work in, such as the posterior chain in the deadlift, but at the same time, you’ll get more targeting to your forearms.

If you don’t have fat grip tools, you can still strengthen your grip by ditching the gloves; by doing more pulling exercises; and by doing the following:

  • Squeezing hand grips (available at any sporting goods store and online)
  • Doing wrist rolls with a wrist roll device or dumbbells
  • Doing seated pulley rows or lat pull-downs with only your index, middle and ring fingers
  • Repeatedly picking up a thick heavy book by its end, with just the tips of your thumb and fingers
  • Doing farmer walks with very heavy dumbbells
  • Taking up rock-wall climbing–and not only will this seriously strengthen your grip and fingers, but it’s so fun!

Will women develop thick Popeye forearms from developing grip strength?

No. It’s exceedingly difficult for women to develop burly meaty forearms. The only huge forearms on a woman are those that come with obesity.

So go get started in training your grip to be strong! There is nothing masculine about a woman with a strong pair of hands.

Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified through the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained women and men of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health.