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Developing Grip Strength – Thick Bar Training Methods

the inch dumbbell


Earlier this week, I posted a video of myself doing my second ever Double Inch Dumbbell Deadlift, and first one I was able to get on film. (Thanks to everyone who dropped a comment of congratulations!)

What I wanted to do was cover a few things that I have been doing to work towards developing the grip strength to do this feat after so many years of training on the Inch.

Sometimes when you work on something for years, you can get complacent, which I think I have been doing for a while, but by thinking outside the box and using some OUTLAW strategies, I am starting to see progress I am happy with.

I have really been wanting to do this feat for quite some time and last Winter I really started working my ass off to get it done. I implemented the following things on a routine basis to spend more time in the open hand position.

1. Nearly All Pull-ups on Rolling Thunders, Often with Weight Added

I generally do pull-ups every single week on my back days, so I figured this would be a good opportunity to work in more open-handed training.

Remember, the SAID principle, which is used in the Strength and Conditioning Field…


What this means is your body will get better doing at what you throw at it. Since, the Inch Dumbbell is a thick bar implement, there is open hand grip strength cross-over from using RT’s for pull-ups.

Normally, I do pull-ups on RT’s in the rep-range of 8 to 12 reps, but I don’t have any of those video, so I posted this clip where I do a single with a 95-lb KB hanging from my waist.

2. Lots of Suitcase Inch Dumbbell Lifts

There are three main ways to pick up the Inch Dumbbell: Straddled with the wrist in neutral, Straddled with the wrist pronated, and Suitcase-style, positioned outside the feet. For me, Straddled + Neutral is the easiest way for me to lift the Inch, Straddled + Pronated lies in the middle and I historically STRUGGLE to even lift it.

Since a Farmer’s Walk with the Inch Dumbbell would require picking the dumbbells up in a Suitcase Position, I have been doing a lot of work lifting the Inch outside my body.

Here is a clip from video where I was just plain dominating the Suitcase Deadlift with the Inch Dumbbell.

3. Inch Dumbbell Hustle Lifts

The last thing I have been doing a lot of recently is what I call Hustles. I started doing these primarily because I wanted to develop the grip strength necessary to be able to lift the Inch in a hurry for medleys. I found very quickly that this method left my fingers and thumb MUCH more tired the next day, so I have continued doing them.

You might be asking yourself…

How Do I Apply This Information to My Training?

Most of you do not have an Inch Dumbbell Replica so you may be wondering how this can be applied to your training. Let me explain a few ways.

1. Try incorporating your goal implement or something very similar into other methods of your training. For instance, if your goal is to develop the hand strength to pinch two 45’s, you could try performing rows or shrugs while pinching something of a similar size (SAID Principle)

2. Try modifying the position from which you lift the implement. If you are working toward developing the grip strength to lift the Blob, then take note of how you usually set up to make your attempts. You can move the Blob outside of your body, like a Suitcase Deadlift, or you could change the distance you pull the implement, among other position changes.

3. Try working with a less-than-optimal set-up. Normally when I lift the Inch, I make sure to synch my grip in tight. By not doing this, it make the lift a small percentage more difficult. This can be applied to any grip strength feats, even Grippers. Don’t take the time to get the set perfect every time. Rush it a bit or even purposely leave a finger off…

These tactics have all seemed to work pretty well for me. They represent the great majority of work I have done to improve performance on the Inch.

If you want to build your own Loadable Thick Bar Handle, I can show you how to make one for about $7 or so. Just check out my On-line DVD, Home Made Strength II and I will show you how to build your own grip equipment. It will take you about 20 minutes to put together and you can be training on it this weekend.

All the best in your training,


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2 Responses to “Developing Grip Strength – Thick Bar Training Methods”

  1. Parris Janusek Says:

    Looks great Jedd, #1 and #3 i use when training on the two hands pinch and its a great method to help to get you where you want to go. i like how you summed it up.

  2. Jedd Johnson Says:

    Thanks Parris.

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