Q&A: Grip-Free Resistance Exercise

We frequently get asked several questions. Most have to do with what exactly is grip-free resistance exercise and why is it so important? We thought we’d take a few of minutes to define grip-free resistance exercise™ and also to answer some other frequently asked questions.

What is grip-free resistance exercise™? 

Grip-free resistance exercise is any weighted exercise that doesn't require you to grip the equipment in order to perform the exercise.

Does this imply that gripping a bad thing?

No, gripping is not bad thing. We just rely on it a lot. Many of our daily movements are flexion-based movements: carrying our groceries, texting, driving and brushing our teeth. These movements require our wrists and hands to be in a clenched, flexed position which requires our flexor muscles to be constantly firing.

Instead of relying on our flexor muscles during exercise, using movements and equipment that allows those muscles to take a break while our extensor muscles pick up the slack and become stronger leads to more even development of our wrist and forearm muscles. This is especially beneficial for individuals with poor grip strength, arthritis or forearm injuries.

Here’s a quick video that demonstrates wrist flexion, extension, adduction and abduction.

What should we do about it?

Incorporating extension-based or open handed movements into your exercise regime will help your hand, wrist and forearm muscles to stay balanced which will decrease the chances of developing these overuse injuries. Grip-free resistance exercise™ is a way of doing these extension based movements with weight.

What if I don't have issues with grip strength?

Extension-based exercise will still challenge you like no other form of exercise even if you don't have issues with grip strength because it recruits additional muscles that many of us don't actively engage on an everyday basis.

Are their other benefits?

Yes, grip-free resistance exercise™ allows you to focus on the movement instead of the equipment

When we need to grip onto our equipment during exercise or else we will drop it (which could potentially injure ourselves or others around us), we become focused on not dropping the equipment during our movements. When we remove this fear, we can more focus on the movement and the muscle areas we are working.

Grip-free resistance exercise™ also adds challenge and variety to your workouts

Having grip-free options can only expand your exercise arsenal. Here are two unique and challenging exercises that incorporate grip-free exercise.