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
Finger Walking with Weight Plate
Here is a great way to strengthen the entire lower arm. In fact, it not only strengthens the lower arm, but it develops great dexterity and muscle control in all of the fingers, as well as the thumb. You will want to use a small weight plate to start with, perhaps a ten-pound plate, to get a feel for the exercise. As you get used to it, you can move up to a 25-pound plate, or perhaps two ten-pound plates sandwiched together with the smooth sides facing outward.
Grasp the plate in a pinch-grip with one hand. Now release every finger on the plate, so that you’re holding it just with the thumb and index finger. Now place your middle finger on the plate as you remove your index finger. From there, put your ring finger on the plate and remove your middle finger from the plate. From there, place your pinkie finger on the plate and remove your third finger. After you complete the cycle, go back the other way, from your pinkie, to ring finger, to middle finger, until you are holding the plate again with just your thumb and index finger.
This exercise is very challenging not only to finger strength, but also to finger dexterity. You may have a hard time moving each finger by itself at first, but keep working at it until it becomes natural. Also, it will be difficult to hold the weight with just the thumb and little finger. You will quickly see how difficult a small weight can be to hold in this way. However, you will also see how quickly this exercise will boost the strength and dexterity of your hand.
Remember to work both hands equally. In fact, if you wish, you can use a heavier weight by holding it in front of you with both hands. If you do it this way, use your thumbs and the same finger on each hand as you “walk,” finger by finger, through the complete cycle. Repeat until fatigued.
This exercise will give your fingers a great new type of workout that will find their weaknesses and quickly strengthen them. This exercise will also teach your fingers to move individually in a way they didn’t know they could.
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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