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
Kettlebell Hold: Something New
Here is a grip-developing movement that is a great training exercise and can also be used as a feat of strength or even in a competition. It is very challenging and will keep you coming back for more, just like the Captains of Crush® Grippers. You will find yourself at the point where you almost can do it, which of course keeps you going to accomplish your goal. To get started you will need a kettlebell. Any type will do, like a traditional ball shape with a handle. However the plate-loaded ones from IronMind may even work better because you can adjust the weight to whatever you want.
Use a light kettlebell to get started—around 20 pounds will probably work for most of you. If you have never used a kettlebell before, don’t worry; this exercise requires no skill, just hand strength. The object is to lock or hold the kettlebell between the bottoms-up position and the clean position where the bell rests on the back of the arm. In other words, simply hold the kettlebell to the side where your grip strength is, keeping it from touching the back of your forearm.
To get the bell in this position you can use two techniques. The first is to place it in this position using both hands. This is the easier, because once you have placed it there, all you have to do is grip it tightly and hold this position. The second is a little more difficult because you have to stop the bell’s momentum. This way you just start to slowly clean the kettlebell, but instead of letting the bell fall on the back of your forearm, you stop it before it gets to that point. Either way will work well for your training.
This exercise will toughen the hands as well as strengthen them. As you get a feel for this exercise, you will love it for developing functional hand strength. As you improve you can hold the bell longer in this position, use a heavier kettlebell, or do repetitions in the cleaning style. To do this, simply clean and stop the bell for a couple of seconds, then start again, using the clean and stop technique for repetitions. You will have fun seeing how long you can hold the bell in the locked position before it falls.
Try this new kettlebell exercise and be amazed at the results you get.
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.