Nature Always Knows.
Grip strength is not super-complicated, but if you are like most (even most health & fitness professionals), grip strength and hand exercise training is not what you think. You see, grip strength and hand exercise training have traditionally been depicted as a grip ball-, coiled grip trainer- or spring loaded gripper-related exercise.
When I was a young aspiring Canadian golf professional, I was told by EVERYONE to strengthen my hands by squeezing a ball. Moe Norman did it, so how could it be inaccurate?
But hand exercise is not a ‘close-only’ exercise. In fact, far from it. Nothing could be further from what our Nature and anatomy (as humans) tells us – in relation to the strength & stability of the fingers, thumb, hand, wrist, carpal tunnel, forearm or elbow. In fact, there is evidence that ‘grip-only’ training of the hands could lead to repetitive grip injury. If we hope to begin to: a) maximize performance, and b) prevent the plethora of modern RSI injuries of the hand, wrist, carpal tunnel & lower arm, we must look seriously at our own Nature – and smarten up! Nature always knows…
Our hand muscles are a collection of approximately 18 muscles, 9 that close the hand (yes, only half) that are generally located on the FRONT of our hand, wrist & elbow… and 9 that open the hand that are generally located on the BACK of our hand, wrist & elbow. ’50/50′ for hand closing vs. hand opening muscles should tell us something… and be our first hint that hand opening muscles are important.
Then add in the study of natural grip mechanics of any grip activity…. and the evidence for grip training reform is overwhelming…
It is super easy study Nature’s mechanical grip design and to illustrate, via sEMG (surface electromyography), that both hand opening muscles and hand closing muscles fire aggressively when the fingers and thumb grab, close, flex or grip. Why do BOTH muscle groups contract at the same time?
Many people believe that ALL ‘opposing’ muscle groups perform in a reciprocal agreement… when one acts, the other relaxes.. and vice versa. But the Nature of hand muscles shows otherwise.
We now know that the so called ‘opposing’ muscles of the hand (the opening and closing muscles) work in a cooperative/supportive contraction. They are in fact A KEY CORE FACTOR of the ‘kinetic chain’ of grip. The finger extensor muscles CONTRACT to support the finger flexor muscles as they CONTRACT. The problem is, the finger extensor muscles contract in a small static ROM (range of motion) all day, every day, all year round… and are never exercised properly by most.
In sports, music or workplace, when your hands tire/fatigue from duration activity, I can almost guarantee you, it is your hand ‘opening’ muscles that have fatigued first to cause grip fatigue/weakness. Nature’s design has been ignored. Hand opening muscles are key stabilizers for grip, but have been ignored for years.
These key muscles are the reason I developed Handmaster Plus. And it is my goal to change the way of thinking of the WORLD when it comes to hand exercise and grip strength. It is not a big change, but it is a change. Proper hand exercise addresses both hand closing muscles AND hand opening muscles. As Nature has designed it!
Needless injuries (and perform limitations) could be a thing of the past. We need to understand the hints and messages from our own Nature. Look at the anatomy. Study the sEMG patterns of grip activities. LEARN. And always question the status quo.
These weaknesses and imbalances are SUPER-EASY to prevent, but are SUPER-TRICKY to correct, especially when we don’t understand our own Nature, and the CAUSE of these imbalances. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Tennis Elbow, Golfer’s Elbow, Cubital Tunnel Syndrome, Dupuytren’s Contracture, DeQuervain’s Tenosynovitis, wrist tendonitis and much more, have a deep underlying hand muscle imbalance as their core cause.
Handmaster Plus brings strength, balance, endurance and circulation to the muscles of the fingers, thumb, hand, wrist, carpal tunnel, forearm and elbow, resulting in stability and maximum performance/productivity in sports, music, workplace and everyday activities.
Dr. Terry Zachary is the developer of Handmaster Plus. His goals are to: 1) change the way the world views hand exercise & grip strength training, and 2) provide a complete, convenient and cost-effective solution that ANYONE can and will actually use and understand.
For more information about Handmaster Plus or how to purchase as a partner or individual, visit www.handmasterplus.com or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org