John Brookfield's Grip Tips



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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 

Increasing Explosive Power with Water

In this month's Grip Tip, we will look at a very simple and unique way to develop explosive power with the use of water. Not only will you develop explosive power in your hands, you will also do wonders for your hand health and its longevity.  Most of the time people work on pure strength without understanding or implementing explosive power, and it is often overlooked in training.  Hand health is also crucial in your training and often neglected—with this drill you will get the best of both worlds.  With this in mind, let’s take a look at this month’s tip. 

To start this exercise, all you will need is a bucketful of water—a five-gallon bucket will work just fine.  You could even use a smaller bucket, like the kind you would use to wash your car—as long as you can completely immerse your hand in the bucket, it will work. Once your bucket is full of water, kneel over the bucket or sit in a chair with the bucket between your legs.  Place one hand in the bucket so that your hand is completely immersed.  Open your hand wide, and then close and open your hand as fast and with as much speed and power as possible.  My suggestion is to open and close your hand as many times as possible in one minute without stopping or slowing down.  If you can’t last one minute, do your best to keep up a fast pace, with power, for as long as possible.

With this exercise you will be using the muscles that close the hand and the ones that open the hand. You will quickly find that when you use these two muscle groups back to back without rest, you will tire more quickly and you will get quite a blood pump in your forearm and hand. Push yourself to increase your pace as you open and close your hand forcefully against the resistance of the water.

Once you perform a set for the entire minute, move to your other hand and push yourself on that hand. If your bucket is large enough, you can exercise both hands at the same time. Strive to use equal and strong effort when opening your hand as when closing your hand. This movement will really work your muscles and create explosive power in your hands; at the same time, it will improve your hand health by increasing circulation and developing balance in your entire hand.


I would suggest doing three or four sets with each hand, pushing yourself to complete the entire minute without slowing down. Before you know it, you will be gaining more explosive power and moving at a faster and faster pace.

Drive your hand into the water (above) and then open it explosively for improved grip strength and hand health.  ©IronMind/John Brookfield Grip Tip.

Drive your hand into the water (above) and then open it explosively for improved grip strength and hand health.  ©IronMind/John Brookfield Grip Tip.

Drive your hand into the water (above) and then open it explosively for improved grip strength and hand health.  ©IronMind/John Brookfield Grip Tip.


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.

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