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
I get many phone calls and letters about questions on grip strength, usually all types of questions about how to train and frequency of training. In almost every conversation, crushing strength comes up — and when crushing strength comes up, so do IronMind's Captains of Crush® hand grippers. How to progress from one gripper to the next is a common question. A lot of people tire their hands out, unable to put the grippers down. They keep trying to close the next level gripper. I love this type of desire and motivation to achieve a goal although sometimes it can be counterproductive.
I have found that instead of taking a complete break from training your crushing strength, it is better to do something a little bit different and challenging. For example, there are many other ways to train your crushing grip. Two obvious ways are using a plate-loaded grip machine, like the Go-Really Grip™ Machine and the Hardy Handshake™.
However, here is an exercise that is a lot of fun and a little bit different that I do from time to time: crushing bent nails or steel using my crushing power. That's right, after I bend a nail or bar of steel, I often try to crush it or close it by squeezing it with my hand. I first put a cloth on the ends of the nail to protect my hand. The nail has to be bent about three-fourths of the way in order to position it as if you're squeezing a hand gripper.
At this point you might be thinking that you have never bent nails before or when you tried, you could not bend one. It doesn't matter whether you can bend the nail into the starting position or not. If you can't, try bending a nail using a couple of short pipes over the ends of the nail, for greater leverage. In this way, you can bend the nail into the right position without putting forth much effort. We would normally never even dream of using pipes to bend steel; however, in this case I want you to be able to experience this exercise of crushing strength.
Once you have bent the nail into the right position, where it is at an angle similar to a hand gripper, grasp it in one hand, with the padding over the ends of the nail, and squeeze. You will notice that this is hard to do and is very fun and exciting. I suggest using 40-penny and 60-penny nails. The 40-penny nails are a little shorter in length but much easier normally than the 60's.
You guys who love using the grippers will enjoy the challenge of this exercise. It will also greatly enhance your crushing strength while giving you a little change of scenery.
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.