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
In this month’s Grip Tip, I will show you an exercise that will develop and strengthen every part of your lower arm. In fact, it may wake up and develop muscles you didn’t even know you had. It works the individual fingers as well as the thumb in a mighty way. This exercise is great for arm wrestlers, martial artists, or anyone seeking a stronger, more useful lower arm.
To start, all you need is a forty-five pound Olympic plate. Any brand will do. Each one will vary in difficulty, but it doesn’t matter since you are only competing with yourself. You may also use other plates as well as a forty-five-pounder, if you wish. The forty-five pound plate is simply the foundation or the gauge to get you started.
To start, place the weight on the ground. This will work outside or inside on the floor of the gym, or even on a table—it doesn’t really matter. The smoother the surface, the easier the exercise will be and the rougher the surface, the harder the exercise will be. Once you have chosen the setting, grasp the hub of the plate and turn or twist it clockwise. Continue twisting the hub of the plate as the plate turns and shifts on the ground. Once again the type of hub, as well as the size of the hub, will be a factor in how difficult the exercise is. Once you twist the plate clockwise for a while, change and twist the plate counterclockwise, using the same grip.
Plate Turning will give you a great pump in your forearms and help strengthen any weak spots throughout your entire lower arm region. Remember not to strain with this exercise. Do not attempt to put too much pressure on your wrists; instead use a steady continuous motion. Also try to put in equal time turning clockwise as you do turning the plate counterclockwise. Also be sure to work each hand equally.
As you progress with the exercise, you can increase the resistance by adding some smaller plates on the top outside edge of the plate. You may also want to try placing the plate in a sandbox to add resistance. Try Plate Turning in your workouts and add a new twist to your training.
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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