Primary Arms

Corps Strength: The Grip

It’s no secret that physical fitness is an important aspect of being a member of the Untied States Armed forces, especially for our front line troops. The ability of our people to perform well physically in tough adverse combat conditions is a large part of mission success. Many hours of training and personal time is devoted to obtaining and maintaining this high level of fitness. However one important area is often overlooked; that being hand-strength. Not just actual gripping power, but in your ability to hold fast. Think of all the important tasks that rely on a strong grip. Carrying heavy gear, fast roping, climbing over obstacles and pulling wounded comrades to safety are just a few examples. Plus there may come a time when your ability to just hold on could save your life. Shit happens when your working off the ground. The bottom line is you need to train to improve your gripping strength and endurance like any other part of your body. In my book Corps Strength I outline several ways to condition your grip with weights. However I think one of the best and easiest ways to keep your hand strength at a high level is by using a portable gripper. There are many types; spring types, bags filled with rice, rubber balls, etc. I have tried all of these at one time or the other. They all work but I think that the “doughnut shaped” grippers made by ProGrip Trainer are the best out there. Portable, simple and durable they can be used to develop not just your overall grip but you can work individual fingers. You can also work your reverse grip by sticking them in the hole and pushing outward. These grippers are lightweight and easy to carry. As they are rubber you can carry them with you on planes with no problem. They come in different strengths and don’t cost squat. I still have the one I carried with me in Iraq. I highly recommend them, Try it.

PJ Rourke
MGySgt
USMC (Ret)

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