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
The Big Squeeze
In this month’s Grip Tip, I will show you an exercise that may be a major key to helping you close a heavier gripper or, if you have already reached the top, add to your number of reps. Of course, how to close a heavier gripper—the next gripper—is probably the number one question that is asked in the grip world. Through the years I have suggested strap holds with extra weight, as well as a handful of other tips that have helped many. People also always ask how often they should train on the grippers. How often is probably the hardest question because everybody is different with his training and recovery time. I believe I have found an excellent way to assist in progressing on the grippers. As we all know, the problem is that the grippers have big steps of difficulty between them. We must find a way to create more resistance on the gripper. However, this resistance must be something in between the big gaps between the grippers that we face right now. We also know that doing a lot of reps is a very slow process to get to the next level.
My suggestion is a very simple one. In fact, you will probably agree with me the first time you try it. Take a shop rag or a washcloth and ball it up somewhat. You will have to find the right amount to ball up after some trial and error. Once you have your rag or cloth and have balled it up, place it between the handles and squeeze. The object of the game is to attempt to touch the handles together with the balled-up cloth between the handles. This extra padding will force you to squeeze harder to touch the handles without having the extra force of the handles springing back against you. Of course the more padding you use, the more resistance you will encounter. I believe you will fall in love with the Big Squeeze exercise. It will be very motivating as you try to touch the handles together with the cloth between them. You will have to experiment a little bit with which gripper to use, as well as how much cloth to use. However, this technique should speed up your results.
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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