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
In this month's Grip Tip, we will look at a special yet simple way to take your grip strength to new levels. This technique is without a doubt one of the best ways to develop finger strength. I am often asked if I know anyone who can bend or tear coins, and people like to tell me that they have seen people bending or tearing coins. I will let you decide what you think about that; however, I will show you a way to train for such a feat, or at least develop incredible finger strength that would benefit many specific activities.
Want to be able to bend or tear coins? Build your finger and pinch grip strength with John Brookfield's Bucket Work exercise. Here John uses a 5-gallon bucket filled with water for the exercise, giving his fingers a tremendous workout. Note the positioning of his hands together with thumbs facing his body. IronMind® | Photo courtesy of John Brookfield.
For this exercise you will need a plastic bucket; a 5-gallon bucket will work best. You might see this type of bucket on a construction site, and you can purchase one at any hardware or building supply store. To prepare for the exercise, place your bucket on the ground outside or on your floor inside. You will first need to add some weight to the bucket, and a variety of items will work for this: sand, a few barbell plates, gravel, bricks, or even water. Kneel over the bucket with it very close to you. Once you are in position over the bucket, grasp the lip of the bucket with both hands close together, with your thumbs facing your body; your index fingers and thumbs can be touching as you grasp the rim of the bucket.
To begin the exercise, twist your fingers either to the right or the left so that the bucket starts to move clockwise or counterclockwise. As you tightly grip the rim of the bucket and twist your fingers in one direction, the bucket will begin to slowly turn. As it starts to turn, continue manipulating the bucket by grasping the rim and twisting your fingers, continuing to turn it to the right (or left) until the bucket completes a 360-degree turn. From there, continue working the bucket in one direction in a circle for as long as possible. Once you fatigue, twist your fingers and manipulate the bucket in the other direction until it has completed the 360 degrees, and continue on in that direction until you can't go any longer. Be sure to work each direction the same number of revolutions or the same amount of time. This exercise will really work the fingers in a mighty way.
To add variety to the Bucket Work exercise, you can play around a little bit with the amount of weight in the bucket—you can go for endurance with a ligther weight for a longer time, or you can go for intensity with more weight for a shorter time. You can also easily vary the resistance of the exercise by changing the position of your fingers on the rim of the bucket—the deeper your fingers are in the bucket, the easier th exercise becomes; and the higher your fingers are on the lip, the harder the exercise becomes. Put some good effort into this drill and develop fingers of steel.
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.
To learn more about IronMind's world-renowned Captains of Crush® Grippers and other CoC 2 Grip Tools, please visit the IronMind on-line store.