John Brookfield's Grip Tips

Up the Down Staircase


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 

Up the Down Staircase

In this month’s GripTip, you will learn to come back to time and time again when most of the competition is finished and expects you to be finished as well. This training method will train the mind and body to come back to higher levels of intensity even when you are tired. You will find yourself wanting to continue exercising for a longer duration as well. There are many variations that can be used for this training, however, we will look at the clean and press.

You can use barbells or dumbbells or even kettlebells for this exercise. I like to use my favorite lifting item, the stone. To get started you will need three different weights of stones. In fact, after you progress with this training you can possibly advance to a fourth weight. However, you will start with just three.

Place your three weights on the ground with the heaviest weight first, the middle weight next and the lightest weight last. You will want to experiment with the weights a bit to find the right combination. It is best to have the heaviest weight be a weight that you can lift around eight times. With this formula in mind you are ready to start. While starting with the heaviest weight, lift it off the ground clean it to your chest and press it five times. Now, set it down and lift the second weight and press it overhead five times. Now, set it down and go to the last and lightest weight and press it five times. From here—without any rest—move back to the middle weight and lift and press it five times. Next, move to the heaviest weight and try to press it five times. Continue moving up and down the weights, from heavy to light and then to heavy again, with no rest. As long as you can get at least two reps with the heaviest weight, continue. Always end with the heaviest weight. Once you lose your intensity stop for a rest. Take a five-minute break and start back again. Always start with the heaviest weight and end with the heaviest and remember to lift the weights and do the presses without rest in between.


This training method will teach the mind and body to perform and be at its top level even when you are fatigued and ready to stop. Start slowly with this method, but push yourself to improve with each workout. I would suggest doing this training two or possibly three times per week. To keep the workout moving between the intervals when you take your five-minute break you may wish to jog or even run in place. To get a tremendous edge on the competition climb up the down staircase.


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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