Grip Training Tutorial, Part Eight (Done at last!)

Posted: February 25, 2012 in Articles

Now we’re down to it. The last of my little articles is here, and we’re ready to talk about raw, plain old forearm strength–the thing that is obvious enough that many athletes and gym rats actually deign to acknowledge its presence.

The mechanism we’re training when we talk about forearm strength is the one that twists the accelerator on a motorcycle, the one that helps us wring out a dish rag. Essentially, we’re moving the hand up or down at the wrist, flexing it or extending it along the line parallel with the radius and ulna.

Gym Exercises:

You’ll see people training the forearms from time to time in the gym. The most straightforward method to do this is to grab either a dumbbell or barbell (for one or two hands at once), and to lay your forearm(s) against your thigh(s) while sitting down. With your palm up, you hang your wrist off the ledge of your knee and let your wrist break downward to begin. From here, curl your wrist upward, then let it fall back. Repeat this move, which is a high-rep move, from twelve to twenty times. It’ll burn. If it doesn’t, get more weight. The curl movement trains the big, meaty area on the underside of your forearm. To train the top of your forearm, you’ll just flip your hand over and bring your knuckles up and down in the same way you forced your palms with the curl. Easy-peasy.

The Stick and the Rope:

The other classic method, known to football coaches and the like, is to find a sturdy bar of some material (wood or hollow aluminum pipe is common), drill a hole in the middle of it, and run a knotted rope through said hole. The rope should be short enough that, when holding the stick at shoulder-height, whatever depends from the rope is held off the ground. What is hung upon the string? In a weight room, it’s frequently a ten pound plate or the like.

For us, we can do something cheaper and easier. Let’s say that you have a canvas shopping bag, for the sake of argument. Put a few food cans in the bag. Tie the rope to the bag’s handles, adjusting for length until you can get it off the ground when you hold the stick at arm’s length. With your palms down, hold the stick as we’ve discussed, and twist in one direction. Do this until you run out of rope, then let it down and go in the other direction when you hit bottom. When you get to the top again, rewind. You can see where this is going. If the number of food cans makes it too easy, put another one in there. Anything that is sufficiently heavy to challenge you will be fine. A six-pack of drinks, a small and well-behaved pet, whatever.

What can you make your stick out of? Well, about a foot of material sufficient to bear up under the strain will be needed, and a thick (1” or better) length of PVC or dowel rod will surely do it. If you happen to have metal pipe and a drill capable of making a hole in said pipe, that’ll do fine, too.

The One with the Dish Rag:

Finally, and most easily, you can do the following. Find a dishrag or small towel, put it in a bucket, and fill the bucket with whatever temperature water you like to put your hands in. Take it either outside on the lawn, or into a shower, or over the tub/sink. Fish the rag out, ring it as dry as you can, then put it back into the bucket. Keep going, ringing the towel and thereby removing the water from the bucket. When the bucket’s basically empty, you’re done. Great for hand and wrist endurance. It’ll make people nearby think you’ve taken leave of your senses, too. To me, that’s a plus. If they ask, tell ‘em you’re learning kung fu. Remember, when you’re wringing, “lead” with each hand equally, so you’re training things symmetrically.

Cinder Blocks Again:

Before I go, I have to put in my vote for my favorite of the weird workout objects, the humble cinder block. You can use ‘em for a whole lot of things, not the least of which is to strengthen your forearms directly. Here’s how: get two cinderblocks, put them at your feet in their “tall” setting. Reach down and grasp them in a hook grip, with your fingers inside the top apeture of each block. Pick the blocks up and stand straight, with them hanging at your hips. Using only the leverage of your wrists and lower arms, force them to cant forward, then hang, then backward. Don’t drop them on your feet. As with anything you do with cinder blocks, it’ll hurt a little. Also, it’ll require a sturdy set of gloves, and protective shoes are also a good idea.

Well, that’s about it. I’ve given unto you, oh Internets, the wisdom I have on this subject. I hope you got some ideas, and that you might use them to get your grip strength up where you want it. I’ll be working on getting some videos together to demonstrate some of these things. Depending upon when you come upon these articles, they may already be available. If not, please have patience. Staging my foolish stunts can, at times, require a certain amount of effort and time.

Thanks for reading!

  1. Ali says:

    thanks for the series of articles

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