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
Weight Crawl: Try It, You'll Love It
This Grip Tip is not only a grip strength enhancer, but also a challenge and a demonstration of strength all rolled into one. At this point in your training, many of you have gotten deeply into pinch-gripping different objects, such as weights and block weights. I am constantly asked questions about lifting the Blob and different block weights. In this tip you will need a couple of weights, probably smaller ones to get started. If you don't have any block weights, you could use a couple of solid cinderblocks. However, you will eventually want to go to more challenging objects like block weights.
Place both block weights on the ground at about shoulder-width apart. You will also want to use either an outdoor setting or an indoor setting with carpet. Be sure to avoid slick surfaces where you can scratch the floor or slip and turn over the block weights. Once you have the proper setting with the block weights about shoulder width apart, put yourself in a push-up position with your hands on the weights. Position the weights so that they are steady or balanced on the ground. If they are rectangular, be sure to place them so that the longer part of the weight is going north and south. This will help you balance better.
With your body prone in a push-up position, lift the block in your right hand with a pinch- grip and move it forward about a foot or so, while holding and balancing with your left hand on the other block weight. Then move the block in your left hand forward up to the other block using a pinch-grip. Continue to move forward in this manner, pinching and moving the blocks forward. These weight crawls will dramatically test your grip along with your entire body. You can also move backwards and sideways using this movement.
Try to keep your body prone in a push-up position as you move forward with the weights. If you can't keep your back somewhat straight at first, round your back into more of a bear-crawl position until you can eventually keep your back straight. Also, take care to balance properly on the blocks before you move in any direction.
The weight crawl is simply world-class when it comes to building hand and upper body strength. You are using the pulling muscles as you lift and move the block weights, and the pushing muscles as you balance and support your weight on one block with one hand as you move the other block. As you continue to get stronger you can travel greater distances, pinching and moving the blocks forward.
Once again, be sure you are well-balanced on the blocks before you try to move in any direction. Weight crawls are so challenging that with a few guidelines, they could be used in a competition.
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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