Grip strengthening without fancy equipment
Grip strengthening probably wasn’t something you spent a lot of time thinking about when you were younger.
But now, it can be embarrassing when your spouse or small child hands you a jar and you can’t open it. Especially with your friends around.
Decreasing grip strength can be a problem in everyday life for us older folks. Using hand tools, golfing, sailing, and many other daily activities, sports and hobbies can go from super enjoyable to super frustrating if your grip strength isn’t up to par.
And as we get older, hand function decreases due to age-related degenerative changes in the musculoskeletal, vascular, and nervous systems.
Now throw in a few more of the problems that stalk us in our older years, like arthritis and old traumatic injuries, and it can start to seem like our old grip strength is doomed.
Not to worry – just like strength training is the miracle cure for rebuilding other parts of the body at any age, so it is with grip strengthening. You just have to consistently include some specific grip strengthening exercise in your weekly workout routine.
You can use cool-looking grippers and other types of expensive grip strengthening equipment, but you don’t have to.
In this post, I’ll show you how you can create your own killer grip strengthening device, known as a wrist roller, for under $10, and how to use it.
The simple, cheap way to make you own super-effective grip strengthening device
Step 1: Take a trip to your local home improvement store.
Here’s what you’re going to get:
First, head to the Plumbing/Irrigation isle, and look for a rack with pre-cut 2 foot PVC pipe sections.
Pick 1 piece of either the 1 1/2 inch (easier to grip/for small hands) or 2 inch (harder to grip/for large hands) diameter.
Next, find the fastener isle and grab a medium-size carabiner.
Last stop is the rope isle. Look for the section (which is usually locked) where they have spools of rope and string that they cut for you.
Go find somebody who works there (this is definitely the hardest step) and have him or her cut you 6 feet of 1/4 inch braided nylon.
Now go pay for everything and head home to create your killer grip machine.
Step 2: Assemble your killer grip strengthening machine
How to make your own wrist roller
First, drill a hole in the middle of the PVC pipe, and feed one end of the string through it.
Next, tie a knot at the end of the string that you fed into the PVC pipe.
Now tie the carabiner to the other end of the string.
***Tip: make the string only long enough to reach your waist from the floor.
I used to say make the string long enough that it barely touches the floor when you hold the PVC pipe overhead, but I don’t advise that anymore. Lots of guys over 50 (myself included) have developed shoulder problems, and I have found that with the overhead positioning, the shoulders can give out or become painful before the grip is fully fatigued, preventing the best possible grip strengthening workout.
Now I advise the waist-to-floor distance so you can keep your shoulders in a relaxed, neutral position, and train your grip muscles with maximum intensity without having to stop the exercise prematurely because of shoulder problems.
Lastly, grab a weight (a little goes a long way on this one!) and attach it to the carabiner end of the string (see the short video below).
Here’s what the finished product looks like:
Step 3: Start your grip strengthening program
How to use your wrist roller
Here’s a short video from my Stay Strong Forever Master Course on how to perform the exercise.
Once you can do 4 reps with your current weight, increase the weight by the smallest possible increment (like 1 or 2 lbs.).
Perform the exercise once a week at the end of your routine (so your grip isn’t effected on your other upper body exercises).
Grip strength is something that tends to naturally diminish as we get over 50. You can build your grip strength back up using a simple grip strengthening tool called a wrist roller, which you can make yourself for under $10 using materials purchased at a home improvement store.
Train the grip muscles of your hands and forearms by using the wrist roller once week, rolling in both directions as described in the video. Once you can go all the way up and all the way down 4 times, add a little more resistance next time by micro-loading.
Do this consistently and your grip strength will be there for you when needed for daily chores, sports and hobbies. And no jar lid anywhere will be a match for you!