Grip Work

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Grip Work

Postby billyoffspring » Sun Aug 08, 2004 4:14 am

So, should I be doing grip work? What should I buy/use to do grip work?
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Postby billyoffspring » Sun Aug 08, 2004 4:21 am

Also, which one should I buy? I'm looking on www.ironmind.com.
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Grip work

Postby VeganEssentials » Sun Aug 08, 2004 6:25 am

Billy,

Ironmind has a lot of fantastic stuff, but I don't necessarily think you need to worry about their specialized equipment at this point unless you've got a specific area of grip work that you think you'd like to excel in.

If you want to work crushing grip, then their grippers are a great way to go as there's not a lot else that gives you the same feel for it with free weight work. The only thing that really comes close are barbell finger curls - take a bar (start with an empty one to get the feel) and hold behind your back with palms facing behind you. Start with the bar in a standard grip, then slowly open your hands and let the bar roll down. When it reaches your fingertips and is as far as it can go before it falls out, curl your fingers and roll it back up. I used to do 2-3 sets of 6-8 reps and it seemed to help for once I started working with the grippers (and better yet, it doesn't cost anything extra!)

If you want to work pinch gripping, you can get some weight plates (10 lb. plates work well in most cases), sandwich 3 of them together to start, and just work on lifting them off the ground and holding them for time before they fall out of your hands.

If you want to work on bending, best bet is to go to Lowe's, Home Depot or somewhere else that has building supplies and get some 3/16" round and square stock steel to work with first (it'll cost around 1/4 as much as getting Ironmind "nails" to practice with) and cut it down to sizes ranging from 5" to 7" to work with until you can do it very easily.

If you want to work on static holding strength (which is probably the most functional type for weight training in general), go to a squat rack/power rack, set the bar height so you only need to lift it a few inches up to have it at arm's length (much like when you'd do shrugs), load up with around 25-50% more than you can deadlift for a few reps and hold it for time. Start with a weight you can hold for 2-3 sets at 20-30 seconds, and try to add weight each week. Try to do it with a double overhand grip as it'll build strength the best - this means with overhand grip, both hands, palms facing toward you (opposite of a standard curl position). This is what pushed me through a lot of barriers and made it so I never have had to use straps in well over 3 years now.

There's also block lifting, where you get a dumbbell and saw one end off (usually a hex head dumbbell or one that has a solid side on each end) and practice lifting and holding the end. It is deceptively difficult - most people think they'll be lifting a ton in this, but most beginners will struggle with 22-25 lbs. A bit more expensive to train and a pain to cut the ends off of a perfectly good dumbbell, but it is ranked as one of the best (if not the best) overall tests of hand strength, and it carries over well to almost everthing else. You can also use scrap metal you might find, slabs of concrete or hard stone, or anything else that's wide and tough to hold in a pinch position. Good stuff, for sure!

Otherwise, there's so much out there you can specialize on that improve grip it can become overwhelming. There's thick bar grip, anvil horn grip work, v-bar grip work, levering wrist/grip work, individual finger work,
and even more. I'd definitely suggest working your static grip first as it'll come in very handy (pardon the pun) and perhaps the finger culrs as well, but those should be your first staples for a few months as you get the grip basics in place for what will be needed most. Then, as you get stronger in these I'd suggest working on pinch grip work and some thick bar stuff as well if you really want to see your grip go through the roof. It gets fun when you eventually can do lifts for reps with a fat handled bar that most people can't even break off of the ground :D Weights will drop when you do thick bar work, but the strength you'll gain in your hands will be incredibly valuable.

This is a pretty basic overview of grip strengths, but hopefully it'll help a bit!

Ryan
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Postby billyoffspring » Wed Aug 11, 2004 3:30 am

Ryan,

I want to build bigger forearms and wrist strength, so would buying a gripper be a good idea?
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Grip work

Postby VeganEssentials » Wed Aug 11, 2004 3:47 am

Billy,

Grippers really only carry over to crushing grip - not that useful if you're looking to work on forearm size and wrist strength. If that's what you're looking to do, I recommend the static holds and barbell finger/wrist curls I mentioned, not to mention a few others such as....

1. Plate curls - this one is definitely hard to do, but start with a pair of 10 lb. plates sandwiched together, held in a pinch grip. Hold it at your side as if you were going to do a dumbbell curl, but instead, curl the plates. One you can do 8 reps with a pair of 10 lbs. plates, either put in a 3rd 10 lb. one or move up to a 25 lb. plate. The goal is to keep your wrist locked and straight, not letting it flex back at all. This gets REALLY hard once you move up to a 25 lb. plate and beyond. Here's a link to a good video of it: http://www.cyberpump.com/albums/album109/aaa.wmv

2. Good old barbell or dumbbell wrist curls - do them in front, behind, off a bench...whatever is comfortable, go for it!

3. Bar/sledgehammer levering. To see a picture of this, click on this: http://www.cyberpump.com/gallery/album60/aau The guy in the pic is also pinching a pair of 35 lb. plates as well, something quite impressive for simultaneous feats. Basically, with levering, you'll want to hold a sledge/broom/axe/whatever at arm's length, then let it tip back to where it almost touches your head. When it is about to touch, use pure wrist strength to lever the bar back to position. I'd definitely suggest starting out with something lighter, like a broom with a 2.5 lb. weight slid down the shaft and taped into place (this will hurt a heck of a lot less than dropping a sledge on your head when learning how strong your wrists are.) Practice it every 2-3 days and get your wrists good and strong - it'll work wonders!

Those are definitely some of the things I recommend most for your goals. If you want to work on crushing grip, get some Ironmind grippers, but if you're after size and wrist strength, then save 'em for later and work these things to get what you need!

Ryan
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Postby Myrddin » Wed Aug 11, 2004 6:08 am

Hi Ryan

as far as levering goes should the bar be parallel to the ground when you start the movement (when levering up and down)?
What about when levering left and right (side to side) - should the bar be parallel to the ground also?
What kind of rep/set combination do you use for levering?

Thanks

Adam
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Levering

Postby VeganEssentials » Wed Aug 11, 2004 6:31 am

Adam,

For getting the sledgehammer/bar into place, I usually just hold it by the end of the handle, swing it up, and have it so it is vertical at the start of the movement. It should drop down slowly at an arc extended from the arm that is extended straight out away from you, down until it comes close to your head, then you use wrist force to lever it back up again. I'm going to try and get a video of myself doing this so that it'll be easier to see how it works - hopefully I'll get one by Thursday and post it here.

I did forget to mention that doing levers in front or behind you are good as well. Start with the sledge/bar lying flat on the floor running in front or behind you, squat down and grab the handle as far toward the end as you can (some will have to start near the middle, some will have good strength or a lighter item to work with and can grasp near the end) and try to stand up with the hammer/bar sticking straight out ahead or behind, trying to keep it parallel to the floor. You can also do it for reps where you let the heavy end dip down toward the floor, then use your wrist to lever it back up again over and over.

For overhead levering, I usually try to go heavy and grab the end of the handle and do a few singles with it, up to 5. I use an 8 lb. sledge, so it is definitely a challenge for me with that weight. If you can get a 6 lb. one it'd be best as that weight is a challenge, but nowhere as tough as the 8 lb. one. I have no idea how some people have done 15 lbs. or more in this exercise - it would feel like your wrist was about to break clean off from what I imagine! If I do reps in front or in back, I usually do 3 sets of 4-6 reps grabbing around 12" down from the end of the handle as I can't lever in front or behind well with the 8 lb. hammer at the end of the handle in this manner.

Hope this helps!

Ryan
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Postby Myrddin » Wed Aug 11, 2004 4:39 pm

Thanks Ryan

A video would be great.. and very generous!
You may have already answered this but what are your suggestions/thought on levering from left to right (ie exercising your brachio radialis muscle - as if someone has grabbed you by the wrist and is trying to twist your arm)?

Adam
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Leveraging videos for you!

Postby VeganEssentials » Thu Aug 12, 2004 6:12 am

Adam,

I decided to do some self-taping with my digital camera's video grab option, so I've got two videos here for you - the first is the overhead levering, the second one is the sideways levering you mentioned:

http://www.veganessentials.com/veganfitness/134-3431_MVI.AVI

http://www.veganessentials.com/veganfitness/134-3435_MVI.AVI

Both are pretty large files between 4.5 and 5.5 mb each (I don't have software to edit or change quality, just to view and post them) so hopefully this isn't a problem. Hope this helps clarify technique a bit!

Ryan
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Also...

Postby VeganEssentials » Thu Aug 12, 2004 6:16 am

PS - These things take a minute or two to download, so patience is definitely necessary! Also, for anyone wondering, I am doing these in the middle of my store, hence the racks full of vegan food in the background. It doubles as my secondary gym for grip work and odd exercises with the toys I have as well as being home for VeganEssentials!

Ryan
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Postby JP » Thu Aug 12, 2004 9:07 am

fantastic clips ryan, cheers for that. Lever work is hard to explain, so vids really help!

Looks like a great surroundings to do some lifting work :D At least you don't have to worry about your postworkout nutrition needs...
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Postby Myrddin » Thu Aug 12, 2004 10:40 am

Nice one Ryan - thanks again. BTW Sarah can't wait to get her shoes and the Vegan goodies she's ordered - looks like she'll be ordering again in no time at all - after seeing all the great Vegan food you've got on your site.

Adam
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