Some lifts take considerable forearm strength to execute. There’s nothing wrong with that, but what happens when your grip is too weak to allow you to train the intended body part to failure?
A while ago I recommended lifting straps to get the job done.
But now I am using something I think is even better…
Lifting hooks are basically a heavy duty Velcro strap that fits around your wrist with a metal hook that you hold in the palm of your hand. While they don’t completely eliminate the need for grip strength, they do a better job than straps in my opinion.
Here’s a pic of the hooks I’m using…
However, other hooks (like the ones below) would probably do an even better job and seem more durable.
I’m currently using them for the following lifts:
- Barbell Rows
They would also work great on the following movements if you’re employing them:
- Lat Pull-Downs
- Cable Rows
Be warned that you can’t (and shouldn’t) attempt to completely relax your grip just because you’re using hooks. You’ll simply cause the Velcro strap to dig into your hands and wrists, the pain of which kinda defeats the purpose of using hooks in the first place.
But what about forearm development?
One of the criticisms that come from people who don’t use gloves/straps/hooks/anything at all… is that these accessories stop you from developing size and strength in your forearms. This isn’t the case.
It is much better to add a set or 2 for forearms rather than rely on movements that require a lot of grip strength because:
(1) You can work your forearms to muscular failure by adding a dedicated set.
(2) Following on from the above. Because of the sequential recruitment of muscle fibers, if we fatigue our type 2b fibers (very important for those training for size), we have also fatigued all slower twitch fibers in the process. A dedicated set would be required to get this job done. (note: if what I just said made no sense to you, please see this article I wrote)
It’s also important because if your grip strength isn’t great, you’ll severely restrict the amount of overload you can place on the intended muscle during heavy lifts like deadlifts i.e. if your forearms fail before your back or legs, you’re not working out with the required intensity to stimulate growth in the desired muscle(s).
Remember that stimulating muscle tissue to grow is the whole reason why you go to the gym. Refusing to use gloves, straps, hooks etc. because you think it appears ‘weak’ is just being a douche. Don’t be a douche.
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