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 will show you a challenging way to not only strengthen and toughen the hands, but also strengthen the entire body. As many of you know, I am a firm believer of using thick ropes to climb and pull on. For this Grip Tip, you will need a barbell or steel bar with weights. From here, you will need a rope about one inch in thickness. The rope I am using in the photos is one and one-half inches in thickness, but the rope can vary depending on how difficult you wish to make the exercise.
Once you have the bar and the rope, all you have to do is add some plates to the bar. You will also have to adjust the length of the rope for the lift, using what works best for you. I would suggest using two lengths of rope about 25 inches in length each. If you wish to do partial deadlifts, you can use a slightly longer piece of rope.
Wrap the pieces of rope under the bar and bring the ends together over the top of the bar, grasping the two ends from one rope in your left hand and the two ends of the other rope in your right hand. Be sure to place your two pieces of rope around the bar so that the bar is balanced when you lift it. The object of the game is to deadlift the bar by gripping the two ends of each rope in your hands. The tighter your grasp on the ropes, the more weight you can deadlift.
Doubled-rope deadlifts are a fun, motivating way to strengthen and toughen the hands; if your hands are not very tough, you may find this exercise a bit painful at first. The movement would actually be a good event in a competition because the thicker the rope, the harder the lift. If you are using a rope that is one-inch thick, you will be gripping a two-inch thick piece once the two ends are combined in the vertical position. Here, I am gripping three inches of rope in each hand, which is a huge piece of rope to grasp.
With doubled-rope deadlifts, you can lift and hold for time, do repetitions, or load the bar and try your maximum lift. Doubled-rope deadlifts will breathe new life into your grip training, giving you something new to try that will bring great 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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