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 Grip Tip we will look at an interesting move that will help you build an explosive grip that will be useful in sports. It will also be challenging and very motivating. This exercise stresses the entire hand and lower arm throughout the exercise.
To get started, all you need are some weights. As in all exercises, you will have to experiment and find what amount of weight works best for you. Always start slowly to get a feel for the exercise. Once you have selected your plates, you are ready.
Start by pinch gripping the plate with one hand. Be sure that the weight is one that you can pinch grip fairly easily, because lifting it is the simple part. Once the weight is up in the deadlift position, take it behind your back and grasp it with the other hand. Be sure that you have a good grip on the plate before you let go with the first hand. From here, bring the plate around to the front of your body and continue to pass it around your body the same way until you fatigue. Be sure to pass the plate in the opposite direction on your next set; in other words, pass the plate clockwise the first time and pass the plate counterclockwise the second time. Once you do this for a few workouts, you will get the hang of it.
Once you are comfortable with the exercise and ready to move to the next level, try these two ways to make the exercise more difficult. First, you can speed up the motion, trying to make the handoffs quick and without any hesitation. As you improve, you can actually begin to keep the plate higher in the air and away from the body. Attempt to do this without the weight or your hands touching your body or any part of your clothing.
The second way to advance in this exercise is to add another plate. In other words, sandwich the two plates together by the smooth sides in the classic pinch-grip style. Use the same motion of passing the weights behind your back and circling your body, changing from hand to hand. You will have fun with the Behind-the-Back Pass. Be sure to start slowly and put safety first.
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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