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
Towel Training for Power
Here is a training method that will work your body in a way that it has never experienced before. This method will actually teach and train you how to maintain explosive power. This method relies on a combination of strength and speed. One might call this combination velocity, where someone else may call it power. We will simply call it maintaining power. The word maintaining is crucial and the key element in this training. Many of you train for power, however, maintaining power over a period of time is a whole new concept. Being able to maintain your power for a long period of time gives you a tremendous advantage over the playing field in any sport or activity. In fact, training consistently with this method will teach you to be able to jump into a situation going full blast, so to speak.
All you need to get started is a heavy towel. Your towel can vary in size, weight and length; however, a heavy bath towel will work best. This exercise can be done anywhere you choose. This exercise is deceptive and will be much harder than it looks. To start, stand upright holding your towel at one end so that it is lengthwise. Your hands should be grasping a separate corner. Now the object of the game is to snap the towel up then down as hard and fast as you can. Simply pull up and then pull down in your mind to simplify the movement. You will have to do this very hard and fast to keep the towel off the ground. The other end of the towel will be trying to touch the ground throughout the motion. The only thing which keeps this from happening is your effort to snap the towel hard and fast enough to keep the towel moving. Push yourself to maintain your power as long as you can. You will find that this exercise works all of your upper body and will make your shoulders scream with agony because of the blood flow. As long as you can maintain your power and intensity continue the snapping of the towel. As you tire, simply drop your arms briefly then start again. I suggest doing this exercise three times a week, trying to increase the duration of the workout. As you increase your power, work to snap the towel harder and faster. You may want to try to count the amount of snaps per minute so that you can monitor your progress. This training will quickly boost your performance in other areas of your training, as well as your performance in your sport or activity. As you improve with this exercise you can go to heavier, longer towels. You may use two towels together to increase the load; however, the main thing to remember is to maintain and increase the intensity. Good luck and good snapping.
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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