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
Back Pressure Breakthrough
In this month’s Grip Tip I will show you a little invention I put together. Although it is quite primitive in nature, I believe it is picture perfect for developing back pressure strength for arm wrestling. However, if you’re not an arm wrestler, this exercise will still greatly enhance the strength in your entire arm, including your hand and wrist. I found this one with a little bit of trial and error, and after a bit of experimentation, I knew I had found a real breakthrough concept for developing strength for back pressure.
To get started, you will need a 2” x 6” board. A 2” x 4” or a 2” x 8” will work just as well. However, I have found that the 2” x 6” is much more user friendly. The board can vary in length because this exercise works on the leverage principle; however, you might want to start with a board of 3 to 3-1/2 feet in length. Hammer a 30- or 40-penny nail into one end of the board; you want to be sure that the nail is secure but not coming through the wood on the other side.
Once this step is done, lay the board on a bench or table and gather a few weight plates, probably of a light nature. Place one of the small plates over the nail to hold the plate in place. Now take a towel or a short piece of thick rope and slip it under the board so that both ends come up over the top of the board so that you can grasp the ends together. Place your elbow on the end of the board and pull back on the ends of the towel or rope as if you were doing a hammer curl. This will cause the weighted end of the board to lever itself off the table.
You will have to find out for yourself how much weight to use. You will also need to experiment a bit to figure out where to place your towel or rope. The closer the towel is to your elbow, the harder the pull is. You will have fun with the Back Pressure Breakthrough. You can do reps, hold for time, or go heavy once you get a feel for the movement. As always, be sure to work both arms equally. Good luck and good pulling.
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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