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
Pinch Grip Pick-up
In this Grip Tip, we will examine a different way to build your grip using a traditional form, the pinch grip. As most of you know, the pinch grip is one of the best ways to develop a good, strong overall grip. In fact I’ve noticed over the years that when my pinch grip is strong, my overall lower arm strength is at its best. The reasons for this, I believe, are that you use your thumb extensively with the pinch grip; and you activate a lot of tendons and ligaments throughout the lower arm that normally aren’t called into play a whole lot. This is why we must do a variety of exercises in our training to make the gains that we desire. With this in mind let’s get started.
To start you will need a couple of small barbell plates. The object of the Pinch Grip Pick-up is to pinch grip the plates in the traditional way. However, you are going to place another small object between the plates at the very bottom of the plates. You can use another small plate, a thin piece of wood, or even a thin rope that has a small weight attached. You will have to experiment to find the right combination that works best for you.
This set-up is much different than merely having another plate sandwiched in the middle of the two plates. Having a small plate or other kind of weight pinched at the very bottom of the plates will force the bottom of the plates outward slightly. This in turn will force you to squeeze much harder, placing new types and angles of stress on the hand. This difference will breathe new life into your grip training by providing a form of cross-training.
You can deadlift and hold the weights, or you can even try and do curls, holding the plates together in this fashion. Remember, the closer the weight is to the bottom of the plates, the more difficult the exercise becomes.
If you work at the Pinch Grip Pick-up for a while, you will probably notice that your regular pinch grip will be much stronger.
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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