Grip Strength Work Can Lead to Professional Success and Good Health

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In Tidewater Physical Therapy's latest entry in its Blog series, Performance Coach William Blaber highlights how to make a good impression in a job interview or improve health by working on grip strength.

Make a good impression in a job interview or help stem the tide of disease by working on grip strength, Tidewater Physical Therapy wrote in its latest entry on its Blog dedicated to helping educate the community on health and wellness.

Founded in 1986, Tidewater Physical Therapy is an outpatient physical therapy practice, with more than 30 locations across Southeast and Central Virginia and two Performance Centers.

"What if I told you that by improving your grip strength you could improve your financial outlook and your health? Seriously," wrote William Blaber, a Performance Coach at Tidewater Physical Therapy's Performance Center in Newport News. Blaber works with adult fitness clients, athletes and people rehabilitating following a work injury. "The handshake, more than physical appearance, appears to influence the interview."

According to a 2008 University of Iowa study, a strong, firm handshake signifies confidence and strength, whereas a weak, or “dead-fish” handshake conveys weakness and uncertainty.

Grip strength has also been associated with stroke and dementia risk, as well as long life, Blaber wrote.

"Good grip strength could reflect overall muscular strength, and cardiovascular health," Blaber wrote. "That’s not to say that a strong grip makes you invincible, but according to many studies, there is a correlation between grip strength and overall health."

Researchers found that a strong grip was associated with a 42 percent lower risk for stroke or transient ischemic attack in those 65 and older.

Blaber explained in the Blog post that there are three types of grip strength: crush strength (used when shaking hands), pinch strength (used when using your key to open a lock), and support grip (used when holding a briefcase for a long time).

"When it comes to improving grip strength, I like to take a different approach from your everyday clamp squeezes and forearm exercises," Blaber wrote. "I use compound exercises, or multi-joint exercises, and add a new grip element to it because functionally, we never rely solely on grip. Grip is predominantly used in conjunction with another movement, such as lift and carry or grip and swing. Compound exercises are far more effective at increasing overall strength than isolation exercises.

Among his favorite exercises are Farmer Carries, holding a weight in each hand and walk; Kettle Bell Press, grabbing the kettle bells and hold them at shoulder height with the ball pointing up and press the weight up like a shoulder press; and Towel Grip Pulls and hanging a towel over a pull-up bar and while holding each end of the towel pulling body weight up until chin reaches the bar.

To read more details on how to complete these and other grip strength exercises, visit Tidewater Physical Therapy's Blog here.

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Stephanie Heinatz
Tidewater Physical Therapy, Inc.
since: 10/2010
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