John Brookfield's Grip Tips
By John Brookfield
Author of Mastery of Hand Strength, Revised Edition, Training with
Cables for Strength, The Grip Master’s Manual, and Real-World Conditioning
One Grip at a Time
In this month’s Grip Tip, I will show you a game you can try for fun and motivation. It is also a great way to develop your pinching power, and in fact can be so challenging that it could be used for a grip competition. There are several ways that you can challenge yourself or others with this game, and I will show you the two easiest.
All you will need are a couple of block weights. As we have discussed before, a block weight is simply a block of steel that is pinch-gripped with one hand. Most block weights are dumbbell heads that are cut off and removed from the bar. They are usually between twenty and fifty pounds in weight. They can also come in a variety of shapes such as a hexagon, octagon, or square, or even a roundish shape. Be sure that the block weight is not so wide that it strains or hyper-extends your thumb. Once you have chosen your weights, you are ready to start.
The first exercise can be done standing up or on your knees. If you choose to stand up, you will get a little lower back workout as well as a grip one. If you have a bad back or want to concentrate strictly on your grip, I suggest trying it on your knees. Start by placing one weight directly in front of the other one. Now, with one hand pinch-grip the block weight which is next to you and lift it and place it over the top of the second weight. From here, continue moving forward in this fashion, lifting one weight over the next weight. Once you fatigue, move to your other hand and repeat the same movement until that hand fatigues. As you improve, you can also try this exercise by lifting the block weights with just two fingers.
The second exercise is similar to the first, except this time the block weights are next to one another, side by side. From here, the object of the game is to lift them to the side instead of forward or, in other words, to move them laterally. As before, you can stand to work your back or kneel throughout the exercise.
Have fun with One Grip at a Time. Once again, work one hand until it fatigues and then move to the other hand.
Editor's note: John Brookfield’s books Mastery of Hand Strength, Revised Edition, The Grip Master’s Manual, Training with Cables for Strength, and Real-World Conditioning combine John’s limitless creativity with his friendly, downhome manner. John’s articles are also regularly featured in MILO: A Journal for Serious Strength Athletes.
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