The majority of female applicants for the ADF face the same problem; their grip strength is far from what is ideal for the demands of the Army. If your forearms are always on fire and preventing you from picking heavy weights up, then this blog post will definitely help you out.
Even if you are not aiming for the Army, maintaining a strong grip will make your life easier in many ways. A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that having a strong grip is a good indicator for muscular endurance and overall strength. You will need plenty of that during your training and throughout your ADF career, which ever path you choose.
When you think about your training routine, deadlifts, pullups and any exercises where you are gripping heavy weight will require your grip strength to improve as you get stronger. Many people we have trained found that their poor grip strength inhibited further overall strength development. Besides, grip strength assessments are often used to measure overall health, especially in the ageing population. The bottom line is that you want to have a strong grip.
Why Grip Strength Is Important For ADF Applicants
If your end goal is to join the Army, grip strength should be in your focus from the start. Although it won't come into play during the initial Physical Fitness Assessment, but once you’ve been enlisted, it’ll be a crucial part of the Physical Employment Standards Assessment (PESA) you need to complete in addition to your BFA (Basic Fitness Assessment).
If you plan to deal with that once you passed your PFA, you might not make it through the grip strength assessment in your PESA so we strongly recommend that you work on it consistently throughout your training by incorporating exercises that will slowly but surely make your grip stronger.
How Grip Strength Is Assessed
The PESA includes one specific exercise that assesses how strong your grip is. This consists of the fabled jerry can carry! Essentially, you’re tasked with carrying two 22kg jerry cans for 25m. But, there are a couple of twists.
For one, you have to do this at least 6 times (11 if you want to get into the Combat Arms) and you must complete each leg in accordance with cadence which means you can't just run through it. Most women find their grip is really having a tough time after just three or four legs.
What can you do to ensure you can complete all required legs and still feel your forearms after? I suspect you already know the answer. Include exercises that involve some heavy weights with dumbbells and barbells and/or working with your bodyweight as a start: deadlift variations, pull-up, inverted row, kettlebell workouts, etc.
How To Strengthen Your Grip
Here are a few expert tips on how to target your forearms to improve your grip strength. Some of them may sound unusual but they will work a treat. Keep in mind that as your forearms get stronger they will gain size too.
Include these tips in your training routine several times every week and reap the benefits by completing the grip strength assessment of the PESA with flying colours. If you have any questions on any of the tips above or need more directions on how to pass your PFA, BFA or PESA, feel free to get in touch.
Michael and Carly both have walked the path you are about to take and are commited to help you get started with your training for a successful enlistment with free tips and articles.