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WOW: Grip Work
Posted By Mark Sisson On May 2, 2011 @ 8:17 am In Workout of the Week (WOW) | 9 Comments
Complete 4 cycles:
30 Meter Farmer’s Carry
8 Towel Pullups
20-second Door Pinches, each hand
Ever shake the knobby hand of an old farmer and marvel at how it inexplicably crushes yours with ease, despite muscular atrophy supposedly having set in twenty years prior to your meeting? Or what about the opposite – have you offered a firm handshake and received a limp, flaccid, moist thing in return? We all want the farmer’s grip, because it exudes confidence. Heck, you might say that hand strength is one indication of character. It may not be fair, and it may not always be accurate, but that’s how these things work.
So how do you develop your grip strength? You use your hands to carry, lift, support, and move heavy objects. Today, that’s what you’ll be doing.
Farmer’s carry you’ve done before. Just in case you haven’t, it involves carrying two heavy objects at your sides as you walk. Try to aim for objects of roughly equal weight, but if you can’t swing it, just switch hands halfway through each carry. Keep your shoulder blades back and down and your core tight for this exercise. Squeeze the grips and think farmer!
For a towel pullup, hang a towel over your pullup bar and grab both ends. Now do a pullup. Feel the difference? It’s working the same muscles – biceps, lats, the usual pullup stuff – while forcing you to focus and develop your grip. Pulling yourself up by gripping some bunched up towel is a far cry from hanging onto a bar specifically designed for pullups. Now do seven more pullups.
Door pinches sound odd, but they’re really not. You’ll need one thing: a door that happens to be ajar. Grab the side of the door with one hand, about knob-high, and pinch it between your thumb and the other four fingers. Really squeeze it. Slowly lean back and sit into a squat while holding onto the door. Don’t let your body fall. Keep that strong grip on the door with your single hand; that grip should be the only thing keeping you from toppling back onto your butt. Hold it for 20 seconds and switch hands.
How’s your hand feel? Wait til you see the other guy.
A few things to remember:
Break each exercise up, rather than superset them. Use climbing rope instead of a towel (in fact, that may be better for your grip, depending on the thread count and size of the towel). Fingertip pullups also work grip, albeit a bit differently.
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