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How to Improve Grip Strength with Monkey Bars

Posted on
Nov 02, 2023
Read time
4 mins

Importance of Grip Strength

Grip strength is an important aspect of strength. Not only is it important for lifting and carrying objects, but it's also important for skills such as hanging and climbing. Grip strength underpins many larger movements because it is often the weakest part of any physical exertion. Weak grip strength can considerably limit the human body in various movements, even if the other muscles involved are strong. 


hand grip strength exercises.jpg

How to Test Your Grip Strength

One straightforward method to test your grip strength is by doing dead hangs. Start by hanging from a horizontal bar using both hands. Time the duration for which you can maintain the grip without falling. This will give you a baseline to track your improvement.

A more scientific way to test grip strength is to use a hand grip with a pressure sensor. The test is measured in kilograms of pressure and is measured against the general population.

Here are some rough figures that can help put your grip strength into context:


Excellent: >141lbs (>64kg)

Very good: 123-141lbs (56-64kg)

Above average: 114-122lbs (52-55kg)

Average: 105-113lbs (48-51kg)

Below average: 96-104lbs (44-47kg)

Poor: 88-95lbs (40-43kg)


Benefits of Improved Grip Strength

  • Improved obstacle course performance: A strong grip will enable you to excel in rope climbs, monkey bars, and other grip-intensive obstacles in a course.
  • Injury prevention: Enhancing grip strength can help prevent issues like nagging elbow and wrist injuries.
  • Better daily activity performance: Strong grip enables you to carry out daily activities with ease, such as lifting heavy objects, opening pickle jars, and more.

By focusing on developing grip strength, individuals not only improve their ability to tackle monkey bars, but they also experience numerous benefits in their daily lives and overall fitness performance.

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Essential Monkey Bar Exercises to Improve Grip Strength

Hanging and Swinging

Start by practicing the basic hanging and swinging movements on the monkey bars. Initially, just hang from the bars to get comfortable with your grip. Gradually increase the duration of your hang, focusing on maintaining a strong grip without slipping.

Next, add swinging to your routine. Swing from one bar to the next using alternating hands, making sure to move fluidly. This will help build momentum and train the stabilizing muscles in your shoulders and back. Consider incorporating side swings, a basic movement that works your body in a different plane of motion and can be easier than traditional monkey bars. Make sure not to hyperextend through the shoulders, always keep some tension through lats and traps. To make swinging more challenging you can try to keep your legs together. 

Pull-Up Variations

Pull-up exercises are crucial for developing grip strength and upper body muscles. Incorporate various pull-up variations into your fitness routine:

  • Standard Pull-ups: Hang from a bar with your hands shoulder-width apart and palms facing away from you. Pull yourself up until your chin is above the bar, then lower yourself back down, maintaining control throughout the movement.
  • Chin-ups: Similar to standard pull-ups, but with your palms facing towards you. This variation places more emphasis on your biceps and forearms.
  • Wide Grip Pull-ups: Position your hands wider than shoulder-width apart to target your lats and deltoids more effectively.
  • Mixed Grip Pull-ups: Use one palm facing towards you and the other facing away. This variation challenges your grip and works different muscle groups.

One Arm Hangs

One arm hangs are an advanced exercise that can significantly improve your grip strength. They also help develop the smaller stabilizing muscles in your hands, wrists, and forearms. Start by hanging from a bar with both hands and then slowly release one hand to hang using a single arm. Hold this position for a few seconds before switching to the other arm. As you become stronger, increase the duration of your one-arm hangs, maintaining control and grip strength throughout the exercise.


grip strength muscles.jpg

Engaging Key Muscle Groups

When it comes to improving grip strength using monkey bars, targeting key muscle groups will help you achieve better results. The most important muscles for grip strength are the forearms. 

Forearms are crucial in grip strength as they contain the muscles responsible for flexing and extending the wrist and fingers. These muscles are essential for generating force when holding onto objects, such as weights, bars, or handles. Strong forearms not only improve grip strength but also enhance overall upper body strength and endurance


Other Grip Strengthening Exercises

In addition to training on monkey bars, there are several exercises that can help improve grip strength. Incorporating these exercises into your workout routine can be highly beneficial for overall hand, wrist, and forearm strength. Here, we will discuss two of these exercises: Finger Tip Push Ups and Hand Grip Squeezing.


Finger Tip Push Ups

Finger tip push-ups are an excellent exercise for building grip strength, as they directly target the muscles in the fingers, hands, and wrists. To perform this exercise:

  1. Begin in a standard push-up position, with your hands shoulder-width apart and your feet together.
  2. Raise your palms off the ground, and place your weight on your fingertips. Make sure the tips of your fingers and thumbs are securely planted on the floor.
  3. Lower your body towards the floor, maintaining a straight line from head to heel, as you would in a regular push-up.
  4. Push back up to the starting position, keeping your fingers firm on the ground.

Start with a few repetitions and gradually increase the number as you build strength in your fingertips.


Hand Grip Squeezing

Hand grip squeezing is a simple yet effective exercise to improve grip strength. This exercise can be done using a hand gripper or a stress ball. To perform this exercise:

  1. Hold the hand gripper or stress ball in one hand, making sure to have a firm grip.
  2. Squeeze the device as hard as you can, maintaining the pressure for 2-3 seconds.
  3. Release the grip slowly and repeat the process.

Aim for 10-15 repetitions for each hand, and gradually increase the number of sets and duration as your grip strength improves.

By incorporating these exercises, along with regular monkey bar training, an individual can significantly improve their grip strength and overall hand, wrist, and forearm functionality.

Victor Volynski
Article by
Victor Volynski
Content marketer with expertise in innovative play equipment, Vic is always following the latest trends and developments in this area and trying to find the best options for maximum fun! Vic is also an ex-gymnast with 20 years of experience and holds a science degree, making him an authority on trampolines, monkey bars, and swing sets.
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