Grip strength can lead to a longer, healthier life – here’s how to exercise your wrist and hand muscles

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Experts say that exercises that strengthen your grip while engaging other muscles are the most effective, because they mimic the movements of daily life. For example, the farmer’s carry, where you tote a heavy object in each hand while walking, works the grip as well as the core, arms, shoulders and back.

Start with 10-pound kettlebells or dumbbells, or “pick a weight that’s heavy enough to make you want to walk faster,” said Rachel Lovitt, a personal trainer in Redmond, Washington. Water jugs with handles also work.

Pete McCall, the education director for EOS Fitness gyms, also recommended a dead hang – the starting position of a pull-up. “It requires grip strength to control the body’s weight, and it’s good for the shoulders, upper back and core,” McCall said. Beginners should start with 10-second hangs and try to build up to one minute.

The bear walk – which involves walking along the ground on all fours – is another way to strengthen your grip alongside other muscles, said Jarlo Ilano, a physical therapist and co-founder of the online exercise programme, GMB Fitness.

“You’re pushing against the ground – using your hands, fingers, and wrists – to propel your whole body forward,” Ilano said. He recommended four rounds of two-minute stretches of bear walking, separated by two minutes of rest.

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