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
Hammer Curls with Thick Towels
In this month’s Grip Tip, we will look at an old-time favorite of many strongmen; however we will add a new twist on things. The hammer curl has long been an exercise to build not only arm strength, but also hand strength. We will make this exercise a lot more of a lower arm builder than you have probably ever dreamed possible. In fact, we will look at two different ways to perform this exercise.
For the first exercise, all you need is a weight and a thick towel. To start, place the plate on its end and run the towel through the hole in the weight. Now bring the ends of the towel together and squeeze them together as you hammer curl the plate up to your chest. You can use one plate or you can even run your towel through several plates and hammer curl all of them together.
You will find this exercise very challenging as you squeeze the ends of the towel together tightly and hammer curl the plate or plates. Remember, the thicker the towel is, the harder the exercise becomes. Be sure to work each arm evenly, doing the same number of reps.
Doing this exercise with the right amount of weight and a thick towel will task your lower arms to the utmost.
The second exercise that uses the hammer curl as its basis is the barbell hammer curl with towels. This time, take a barbell and wrap two heavy towels underneath the bar and bring the ends of the towels together. Be sure to have the towels well-spaced so that the barbell is balanced properly. Once you have chosen a weight to try, grasp the overlapped towels, one in each hand, and begin to hammer curl away. This exercise is a lot of fun and, remember, the thicker the towels, the harder it is to hang on. You can do as many reps as you want, or you can load the bar and go for more weight and fewer reps. With the barbell exercise, you will also develop your grip evenly with the balancing factor.
Hammer Curls with Thick Towels are great for arm wrestlers or anyone looking to enhance his lower arm strength. You will also notice your thumbs getting an especially good workout with this one.
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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