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
Pinch-Grip Board Curls
In this month's Grip Tip we will look at an exercise that will strengthen the entire arm; it brings into play two movements that are among the best for strengthening the hands and wrists. First of all, we will be using the pinch-grip. In my opinion, the pinch-grip is probably the best overall way to develop hand strength if you are only going to use one exercise. However, a variety of training is the best way to go if you have the time. The pinch-grip uses your entire hand and, of course, is a great thumb strengthener.
The second movement that comes into play in this Grip Tip is curling an object, where the wrist and hand are stressed by leverage; for example, the plate curl greatly strengthens the wrist because the extended weight in front of you is trying to force your hand down. This curling movement not only strengthens the wrist, but also the hand and fingers.
Now I will show you a very simple exercise that combines these two great training methods. First of all, you will need some boards or planks. A variety of boards, like one longer, heavy board, or two or possibly even three smaller boards, can be used to perform this exercise. You will have to experiment a bit to find out what works best for you. I personally like to use two boards and pinch-grip them together to add to the difficulty.
To start, place the boards on the ground and take a pinch-grip on them with your fingers on the side of the board closest to your feet and your thumbs on the other side of the boards. Squeeze the boards tightly together and lift them off the ground into the deadlift position. Now, while maintaining your grip, curl the boards to your chest. Repeat the curling motion until fatigued.
Pinch-grip board curls are very demanding exercise on the entire arm. Be sure to perform this movement in a place where you have plenty of room. Also, be careful to keep a secure grip on the boards throughout the movement. As you get stronger, you can try bigger, longer boards or you can even hang weights by ropes from the ends of the boards.
Give pinch-grip board curls a try-they will strengthen your entire arm and greatly train your tendons and ligaments.
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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