Any grip/wrist strength enthusiasts here?

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The Meat man
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Any grip/wrist strength enthusiasts here?

Postby The Meat man » Sat Aug 10, 2019 7:38 pm

I've been into grip, wrist, and overall hand strength training for a number of years now. It's an often-overlooked facet of strength training but I have found it to be a lot of fun, as well as useful in everyday life.

For grip I use coil spring hand grippers a lot (mostly Captains of Crush from Ironmind, but with a couple Heavy Grip and GHP's as well), I also do a lot of thick handled dumbbell lifting and pinch lifting weight plates and block weights.

For the most part, my wrist work includes various styles of wrist curls and a lot of short steel bending (mostly nails of varying sizes).

I'm a big fan of John Brookfield and have a couple of his books on hand strength. He holds a number of world records in this area and in my opinion, is the world's best at extreme endurance hand strength. I've gotten a lot of inspiration and also great training tips from his writing.

Anyone else here share this interest?
- Connor

Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6)

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Re: Any grip/wrist strength enthusiasts here?

Postby The Mastiff » Sat Aug 10, 2019 8:48 pm

Back before all my surgeries and joint rebuilds I was. Grip and wrist strength was especially useful when using force defending myself and breaking up fights as a prison guard. Initial shocking power helped gain initiative and if the inmate continued then on into wrist locks, arm bars, whatever you are practiced at. The administration frowned on just beating guys senseless just to make them comply with commands although if we were attacked in earnest by an inmate anything was OK up to the point the person was then under control or complied with commands and stopped whatever they were doing to cause force to be used. Likewise having the wrist strength to turn or redirect someones body can help keep your face pretty. :D It's kind of like watching Defensive tackles and guards handfighting for leverage

There is some kind of wiring thing in human brains that causes a momentary freezing of the body when someone is snatched or shook with sufficient force. Note I'm not talking about a punch. More like the way a cat freezes for a second when picked up by the scruff. It doesn't last long and it lasts even less in people who are used to fighting but if done correctly and with some practice ( and luck) it can help gain control of a situation. To be effective you have to go right into whatever hold you are wanting to apply. If you do it then freeze up yourself expect to get attacked because your actions will have been read as an attack. :)

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Re: Any grip/wrist strength enthusiasts here?

Postby Naperville » Sat Aug 10, 2019 9:09 pm

When I lifted and when I played in ice hockey I did a lot of wrist strengthening movements and wrist rolls. It is time to get back in to shape (starting back up again in martial arts) so I may be doing them again. Time to rip the muscles, feel the burn, drop 30lbs, and get back in to shape before Summer is over.
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Re: Any grip/wrist strength enthusiasts here?

Postby James Y » Sat Aug 10, 2019 9:38 pm

I just do some as part of my training. I use Heavy Grips, but I'm not too far along on that yet. I'm still on the 200-pound gripper. I also squeeze tennis balls. I'm planning to get back into wrist curls.

I used to do lots of heavy jar lifting ( with fingers around the lip of the jar) for grip strength. I also used to incorporate various types of pull-ups, which also strengthen the grip, but I no longer have easy access to a pull-up bar. I only work on grip twice a week.

I've been into martial arts since age 13 (I'm 56 now). My training now is mostly on my own, and I keep in shape, but not to the extremes I did in my younger years. The body changes over the years, something I thought would never happen to ME when I was younger.

Something I've done as part of martial arts for years, and still do, is what I refer to as reasonable hand and forearm conditioning. IMO, the grip training goes right with it. For the forearms, I use a device called "iron arm"; a wooden device used to strike the forearms in precise routines. The hands are conditioned for striking (open and closed hand), but it needs to be approached mindfully and avoiding extremes. Otherwise it's easy to injure one's hands. These and other types of specialized conditioning exercises are among the supplemental training exercises that enhance martial arts and make them effective, and not just empty movements.

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Re: Any grip/wrist strength enthusiasts here?

Postby Tims » Sun Aug 11, 2019 4:53 am

I’ve gone through brief periods of dedicated grip training but never for long really. I used a gripper after hand surgery a year or so ago and had planned to get some CoC’s but never got around to it.
Most of my grip work has been through deadlifting or deadlifting accessory work like barbell suitcase holds for time. I know I could use some straight finger work like plate pinches.
Do any of you do extensor work to balance out all the flexor training? Even just rubber bands.

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Re: Any grip/wrist strength enthusiasts here?

Postby ChrisinHove » Sun Aug 11, 2019 6:02 am

Interesting topic!

I used to be well into it when younger. Rugby, Judo and rock climbing were my sports, all tremendously benefiting from strong grip and fingers.

I had a zig-zag spring steel arrangement. No doubt there was better, but that was when money was very tight.

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Re: Any grip/wrist strength enthusiasts here?

Postby The Meat man » Sun Aug 11, 2019 6:12 am

Tims wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 4:53 am
I’ve gone through brief periods of dedicated grip training but never for long really. I used a gripper after hand surgery a year or so ago and had planned to get some CoC’s but never got around to it.
Most of my grip work has been through deadlifting or deadlifting accessory work like barbell suitcase holds for time. I know I could use some straight finger work like plate pinches.
Do any of you do extensor work to balance out all the flexor training? Even just rubber bands.
I like to do Farmer's Walks on occasion. Those really work the grip (along with practically everything else!) I have a couple homemade sets of weights for that. Sometimes I walk with them, but like you I also like to do holds.

I have Ironmind's Extensor bands. I usually try to work those in at the end of my workout. John Brookfield has a couple good tips for extensor work I like to do as well.
- Connor

Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6)

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Re: Any grip/wrist strength enthusiasts here?

Postby The Meat man » Sun Aug 11, 2019 6:16 am

The Mastiff wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 8:48 pm
Back before all my surgeries and joint rebuilds I was. Grip and wrist strength was especially useful when using force defending myself and breaking up fights as a prison guard. Initial shocking power helped gain initiative and if the inmate continued then on into wrist locks, arm bars, whatever you are practiced at. The administration frowned on just beating guys senseless just to make them comply with commands although if we were attacked in earnest by an inmate anything was OK up to the point the person was then under control or complied with commands and stopped whatever they were doing to cause force to be used. Likewise having the wrist strength to turn or redirect someones body can help keep your face pretty. :D It's kind of like watching Defensive tackles and guards handfighting for leverage

There is some kind of wiring thing in human brains that causes a momentary freezing of the body when someone is snatched or shook with sufficient force. Note I'm not talking about a punch. More like the way a cat freezes for a second when picked up by the scruff. It doesn't last long and it lasts even less in people who are used to fighting but if done correctly and with some practice ( and luck) it can help gain control of a situation. To be effective you have to go right into whatever hold you are wanting to apply. If you do it then freeze up yourself expect to get attacked because your actions will have been read as an attack. :)

Interesting Joe! The importance of grip has long been recognized in wrestling. Being able to grab and hold onto your opponent.
The wrestler Mark Henry comes to mind. He has amazing grip strength. He's one of only two men on earth who have successfully cleaned and pressed the famous Inch dumbbell overhead with one hand. (The other being Thomas Inch himself.)

And by the way, thank you for your service as a prison guard. A stressful and difficult, yet necessary occupation that doesn't get a lot of recognition.
Last edited by The Meat man on Sun Aug 11, 2019 6:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
- Connor

Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6)

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Re: Any grip/wrist strength enthusiasts here?

Postby Tims » Sun Aug 11, 2019 6:25 am

The Meat man wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 6:12 am
Tims wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 4:53 am
I’ve gone through brief periods of dedicated grip training but never for long really. I used a gripper after hand surgery a year or so ago and had planned to get some CoC’s but never got around to it.
Most of my grip work has been through deadlifting or deadlifting accessory work like barbell suitcase holds for time. I know I could use some straight finger work like plate pinches.
Do any of you do extensor work to balance out all the flexor training? Even just rubber bands.
I like to do Farmer's Walks on occasion. Those really work the grip (along with practically everything else!) I have a couple homemade sets of weights for that. Sometimes I walk with them, but like you I also like to do holds.

I have Ironmind's Extensor bands. I usually try to work those in at the end of my workout. John Brookfield has a couple good tips for extensor work I like to do as well.
This thread has been a good reminder to do some extensor work. I haven’t done any research on it. I used to just wing it. With bands I’d go for reps and with less resistance, aim for explosive reps.
How do you typically program your grip work? Squeeze it in after another workout or give it a dedicated day?

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Re: Any grip/wrist strength enthusiasts here?

Postby mb1 » Sun Aug 11, 2019 6:42 am

Nice! I rarely run across someone who even knows what a Captains of Crush gripper is. My elementary school PE teacher was one of the first (or the first) guys to close the #4, Richard Sorin.

I only own the old #1. When I mountain biked a lot, I could do 15-20 reps on that one (handles touching) just from the biking (large elevation changes with long runs of downhill and braking). Now I’d be hard pressed to squeeze out 5 reps.

I also have used a thick bar for pull-ups which helped my grip a lot.

I trained Jiu Jitsu for a few months last year which about ruined my grip. I think I was relying too much on my grip since I didn’t know enough to survive the rolling, and the result was painful joints. Had to give it up.
- Mark

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Re: Any grip/wrist strength enthusiasts here?

Postby mb1 » Sun Aug 11, 2019 6:53 am

The Meat man wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 6:16 am
The wrestler Mark Henry comes to mind. He has amazing grip strength. He's one of only two men on earth who have successfully cleaned and pressed the famous Inch dumbbell overhead with one hand. (The other being Thomas Inch himself.)

Pretty sure I saw Brian Shaw do the Inch dumbbell (?). Maybe it was a replica.

@The Mastiff Hey Joe, not to go too OT, but have you read any of Rory Miller’s books? You brought him to mind with your post about prison work and violence. Interesting subject.
- Mark

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Re: Any grip/wrist strength enthusiasts here?

Postby spyderg » Sun Aug 11, 2019 7:45 am

Not an enthusiast but grip strength runs in my family. My sister can crack almonds open when she sneezes. We discovered that one Xmas when we had a bowl of nuts and she had a bad cold, lol!
I never did anything specifically to increase my grip strength but when working out I’d do a fair amount of wrist curls. I’d make a point of lifting, (using cables too) in all directions.
A number of years ago I had a table saw kickback accident. A board flew through, yes through my hand. They nearly amputated three fingers. I’m left with limited movement in two and no last knuckle on the third.
During my physio, they test grip strength and compare with your other hand. My injured hand, (while still in stitches from the first of a few surgeries) tested stronger than an average uninjured man. Then they tested my left hand for comparison. They sent the device to be recalibrated thinking it was off. Nope, it checked out fine. I’m 5’8” and 170lb at the time, (about 180 now) and they told me I had a stronger grip than the 6’5” 300lb (or something like that) lineman they recently treated.
I’d post pics of the injury but probably too gruesome for the forum.
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Re: Any grip/wrist strength enthusiasts here?

Postby James Y » Sun Aug 11, 2019 8:27 am

My late dad had freaky grip strength, but never did any grip exercises in his entire life. He grew up the youngest of 8 children on a farm, and later worked on a professional tuna boat ( back when those were a thing here). Even after he left the boat and became a gardener, his raw hand strength never seemed to leave him, even though he had those thick, sausage-like fingers many get through lots of hard labor. I'll never have the grip strength he had. However, he did lack some fine dexterity in his fingers because they were so thick.

I've met some guys who seemed naturally gifted with grip strength without doing any exercises at all. Some were not even laborers, but mostly because of their genetics, I suppose. They weren't all physically large men either, but most tended to have good-sized to large hands.

Jim

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Re: Any grip/wrist strength enthusiasts here?

Postby The Meat man » Sun Aug 11, 2019 11:47 am

mb1 wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 6:42 am
Nice! I rarely run across someone who even knows what a Captains of Crush gripper is. My elementary school PE teacher was one of the first (or the first) guys to close the #4, Richard Sorin.

I only own the old #1. When I mountain biked a lot, I could do 15-20 reps on that one (handles touching) just from the biking (large elevation changes with long runs of downhill and braking). Now I’d be hard pressed to squeeze out 5 reps.

I also have used a thick bar for pull-ups which helped my grip a lot.

I trained Jiu Jitsu for a few months last year which about ruined my grip. I think I was relying too much on my grip since I didn’t know enough to survive the rolling, and the result was painful joints. Had to give it up.
Are you serious?! Richard Sorin was your PE teacher in elementary school? That's amazing!
He was the first one to close the #3 back in 1991 (and was recertified in 2007). It was this feat that prompted Ironmind to establish a certification program for their super hard grippers. Joe Kinney was the first to close the #4 in 1998. If you've ever seen the video clip of Kinney closing the #4, it is absolutely awe-inspiring. And both of these men could close the #3 with just two fingers. :eek:
- Connor

Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6)

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Re: Any grip/wrist strength enthusiasts here?

Postby The Meat man » Sun Aug 11, 2019 11:49 am

mb1 wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 6:53 am
The Meat man wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 6:16 am
The wrestler Mark Henry comes to mind. He has amazing grip strength. He's one of only two men on earth who have successfully cleaned and pressed the famous Inch dumbbell overhead with one hand. (The other being Thomas Inch himself.)

Pretty sure I saw Brian Shaw do the Inch dumbbell (?). Maybe it was a replica.
Did he clean it and press it one-handed, without letting it touch his body on the way up?

Brian Shaw is a historic strongman in his own right of course. I was really hoping he'd take a 5th WSM title home but it's starting to look like that's not going to happen.
- Connor

Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6)

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Re: Any grip/wrist strength enthusiasts here?

Postby The Meat man » Sun Aug 11, 2019 11:54 am

Tims wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 6:25 am
The Meat man wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 6:12 am
Tims wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 4:53 am
I’ve gone through brief periods of dedicated grip training but never for long really. I used a gripper after hand surgery a year or so ago and had planned to get some CoC’s but never got around to it.
Most of my grip work has been through deadlifting or deadlifting accessory work like barbell suitcase holds for time. I know I could use some straight finger work like plate pinches.
Do any of you do extensor work to balance out all the flexor training? Even just rubber bands.
I like to do Farmer's Walks on occasion. Those really work the grip (along with practically everything else!) I have a couple homemade sets of weights for that. Sometimes I walk with them, but like you I also like to do holds.

I have Ironmind's Extensor bands. I usually try to work those in at the end of my workout. John Brookfield has a couple good tips for extensor work I like to do as well.
This thread has been a good reminder to do some extensor work. I haven’t done any research on it. I used to just wing it. With bands I’d go for reps and with less resistance, aim for explosive reps.
How do you typically program your grip work? Squeeze it in after another workout or give it a dedicated day?

I usually devote a whole workout to hand strength. It takes about an hour, and my concentration is better that way.
Lately I've decided to give other strength training a break and work on my cardio/endurance running (something I've never worked on before and am terrible at). I'm still keeping up with the grip and wrist stuff though. I just enjoy it a lot.
- Connor

Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6)

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Re: Any grip/wrist strength enthusiasts here?

Postby mb1 » Sun Aug 11, 2019 12:05 pm

The Meat man wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 11:47 am
mb1 wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 6:42 am
Nice! I rarely run across someone who even knows what a Captains of Crush gripper is. My elementary school PE teacher was one of the first (or the first) guys to close the #4, Richard Sorin.

I only own the old #1. When I mountain biked a lot, I could do 15-20 reps on that one (handles touching) just from the biking (large elevation changes with long runs of downhill and braking). Now I’d be hard pressed to squeeze out 5 reps.

I also have used a thick bar for pull-ups which helped my grip a lot.

I trained Jiu Jitsu for a few months last year which about ruined my grip. I think I was relying too much on my grip since I didn’t know enough to survive the rolling, and the result was painful joints. Had to give it up.
Are you serious?! Richard Sorin was your PE teacher in elementary school? That's amazing!
He was the first one to close the #3 back in 1991 (and was recertified in 2007). It was this feat that prompted Ironmind to establish a certification program for their super hard grippers. Joe Kinney was the first to close the #4 in 1998. If you've ever seen the video clip of Kinney closing the #4, it is absolutely awe-inspiring. And both of these men could close the #3 with just two fingers. :eek:
Ah ok, thx for the correction. Haven’t read that in years and years now. Yeah, Sorin later opened a power lifting gym and equipment company a couple miles from my folks’ house. I believe he is one of the freaks who could also pinch grip 2 45 lb plates smooth side out. Ridiculous.

Let me find that Shaw video for you...
- Mark

"Don't believe everything you think." -anonymous wise man

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Re: Any grip/wrist strength enthusiasts here?

Postby mb1 » Sun Aug 11, 2019 12:25 pm

The Meat man wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 11:49 am
mb1 wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 6:53 am
The Meat man wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 6:16 am
The wrestler Mark Henry comes to mind. He has amazing grip strength. He's one of only two men on earth who have successfully cleaned and pressed the famous Inch dumbbell overhead with one hand. (The other being Thomas Inch himself.)

Pretty sure I saw Brian Shaw do the Inch dumbbell (?). Maybe it was a replica.
Did he clean it and press it one-handed, without letting it touch his body on the way up?

Brian Shaw is a historic strongman in his own right of course. I was really hoping he'd take a 5th WSM title home but it's starting to look like that's not going to happen.
So maybe Shaw didn’t? There’s a video of him picking up one in each hand. And then there’s another of him incline pressing 2 off his thighs. Yeah, only THAT! Lol

So the true Inch test is one hand all the way eh? That is unreal.
- Mark

"Don't believe everything you think." -anonymous wise man

The Meat man
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Re: Any grip/wrist strength enthusiasts here?

Postby The Meat man » Sun Aug 11, 2019 12:33 pm

mb1 wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 12:25 pm
The Meat man wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 11:49 am
mb1 wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 6:53 am
The Meat man wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 6:16 am
The wrestler Mark Henry comes to mind. He has amazing grip strength. He's one of only two men on earth who have successfully cleaned and pressed the famous Inch dumbbell overhead with one hand. (The other being Thomas Inch himself.)

Pretty sure I saw Brian Shaw do the Inch dumbbell (?). Maybe it was a replica.
Did he clean it and press it one-handed, without letting it touch his body on the way up?

Brian Shaw is a historic strongman in his own right of course. I was really hoping he'd take a 5th WSM title home but it's starting to look like that's not going to happen.
So maybe Shaw didn’t? There’s a video of him picking up one in each hand. And then there’s another of him incline pressing 2 off his thighs. Yeah, only THAT! Lol

So the true Inch test is one hand all the way eh? That is unreal.
At least, that's one Inch test. ;)
Just getting it off the ground is amazing enough, and I don't think anyone managed to do even that within Thomas Inch's lifetime.
A couple people have cleaned it, but afaik only Inch and Henry cleaned and pressed it. My info may be dated though.
- Connor

Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6)

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Re: Any grip/wrist strength enthusiasts here?

Postby The Meat man » Sun Aug 11, 2019 12:40 pm

mb1 wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 12:05 pm

Ah ok, thx for the correction. Haven’t read that in years and years now. Yeah, Sorin later opened a power lifting gym and equipment company a couple miles from my folks’ house. I believe he is one of the freaks who could also pinch grip 2 45 lb plates smooth side out. Ridiculous.
Yah that's right. According to John Brookfield, Sorin could pinch lift up 123 lbs. He also had the famous "Blob"; which was half a York 100 lbs dumbbell. Not many men besides Sorin could lift that either.
- Connor

Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6)


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