Jim Schmitz on the Lifts

Macary Sticks


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 

Macary Sticks

This month I will show you a special exercise that is perfect for anyone wishing to develop strong forearms and a powerful grip. It is an especially good method for arm wrestlers to develop back pressure. The macary sticks can be used by anyone at any level for developing strength and endurance in the lower arms.

To get started is quite easy, and a variety of tools can be used. Since this exercise works on leverage, you can use either wooden sticks or steel bars. I have used both. If you use wooden dowel rods or sticks, hammer a small nail into the end of each stick. Be sure not to hammer it through the wood. Just hammer it securely into the wood far enough to stay in but not so far that the point comes through. If you use steel bars, you can weld a small piece of steel at the end of each bar. This piece of steel should be about the size of a small nail. In fact, a small nail would be perfect. You can also use some duct tape at the ends as well. If you use this technique you must use enough tape so that it is mounded up, creating a small bump at the end of each bar. Once you have chosen your sticks, cut them to equal length if they aren’t already. You will need a third stick; however, this one must be steel.

To begin, grab the sticks with the nails, or the mounded tape, at the opposite ends. From here, place the steel bar over the top and across the two sticks. The object of the game is simple. Start with the steel bar resting on the top of the two sticks up close to you and touching your hands. Now let the bar slowly roll forward to the ends of your sticks. This shift toward the ends will of course create a lot of pressure on your forearms with the change in leverage. When the bar is at the ends of the sticks, hold this position as long as you can. Once you feel fatigue, tilt the sticks back and roll the steel bar back to your hands, reducing the resistance on your lower arms. From here, repeat the process of letting the bar roll to the ends for more resistance and then back to your hands for less resistance.

This fun, challenging workout will increase your lower arm strength greatly. You can increase the resistance by using a heavier bar or longer sticks to hold it. For a productive increase in lower arm strength, try the macary sticks.



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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