Bi-Polar Training: Inch Dumbbell Plus Kettlebell Flip
The other day I decided to try a Bipolar Strength Feat (combination feat of strength with a different implement in each hand; read more here: Bipolar Training).
David Horne’s World of Grip is having a contest – a video tournament for a tee-shirt giveaway, and I have been meaning to put in a video for it for quite some time, but I couldn’t seem to fit it into my training.
I wanted to do something that had never been done before by anyone that I know of, and I was coming up short, but it finally came to me the other day – Lift the Inch Dumbbell, hold it at lockout, and perform a kettlebell flip with the big 95-lb Kettlebell.
If you are a loyal reader of this site, you probably know what the implements are in this video, but many of the people who watch YouTube do not know exactly what some of the implements I train with are, so I am going to try my best to explain everything below.
In my left hand in the video, I am performing a suitcase deadlift with the Inch Dumbbell. The Inch Dumbbell is NOT named due to the size of the handle, the gap between the fingers when gripping the dumbbell, or anything like that. It is named after the performing Strongman from the late 1800’s who originally introduced the dumbbell, Thomas Inch. Inch would take his challenge dumbbells (there were three, if memory serves) with him to his performances and challenge on-lookers to lift it. This most likely almost never happened, since the level of thumb and fingertip strength required to do so are pretty substantial.
The thing that sets the Inch Dumbbell apart from other Grip Strength challenge items is it’s weight, size, and design. Check out the specs on this piece:
Inch Dumbbell Specs
- Weight – 172-lbs
- Handle Size – 2.38 to 2.47 inches, depending on the manufacturer of the replica
- Design – One solid piece of Cast Iron
A lot of people scoff at the Inch Dumbbell when they hear that it is only 172-lbs, but because of the handle diameter and the fact that it is all one piece of cast iron, it is a bitch to lift. The globe heads reach way outside of the handle, so when they start to turn, the handle also wants to turn as well, and it begins to rip out of your hand. To lift it, you need a strong thumb to resist rotation, strong fingertips to lock in on the handle, and / or a strong wrist to compensate for weaknesses in the other two areas.
This dumbbell came from Max Kettlebells, a now defunct Kettlebell company that was located in Pennsylvania, so the design is not the same as the more widespread Dragondoor Kettlebells and others that are so popular out on the market these days. Instead of being completely round, the handle actually has what feels like corners and flat spots on it, so when you flip it you want to catch it just in the right spot or else it can hurt pretty badly.
Aside from the fact that the Inch is so damn hard to lift and the Max Kettlebell is so damn hard to flip and catch, there is more to this feat that makes it feat so challenging.
When flipping and juggling kettlebells, the power to elevate the bell comes from the hips. Because I was holding the massive Inch Dumbbell beside my hip, I could not hinge at the hip or generate any drive from my glutes in order to propel the kettlebell upwards, so essentially what you are seeing is a really big cheat front lateral with the kettlebell, instead of a powerful swing that you would normally see.
So, all together, this is a giant combination feat that involves the Grip Strength needed to lift and hold the Inch Dumbbell, the strength to flip the 95-lb Kettlebell, and the coordination to maintain all of the tension to not crumble under the uneven loading of the Inch and the continuity to then catch the Kettlebell and recover to the standing position.
This feat is MUCH more difficult than the similar one I did several months back with the Blob instead of the Inch Dumbbell.
I am looking forward to continuing my experimentation with different Bipolar Lifts in the coming year, as I feel it is a very good form of training in order to hit multiple aspects of strength all at the same time.
You should give it a try too! Put together a Bi-Polar lift, give it a try in your next workout, and then post a comment below to tell everyone in the Diesel Universe about it!
Thanks and all the best in your training.
P.S. Need help learning to Flip and Juggle Kettlebells? Check out Logan Christopher’s DVD, The Definitive Guide to Kettlebell Juggling, the most complete resource on the planet for Kettlebell Juggling.
Articles You Might Also Like:
- Basic Kettlebell Juggling – EXPLAINED
- Grip Strength: Inch Dumbbell Training
- Making Hard Feats Look Easy – The Inch Dumbbell
- Home Made Equipment to Help Lift the Inch Dumbbell
- Build Explosiveness & a Strong Grip with the Dumbbell Snatch!
Tags: grip strength, inch dumbbell, kettlebell, kettlebell flip
January 4th, 2012 at 9:08 am
Bipolar lifts put a completely different spin on training.
I did a bipolar lift in my Monday workout: plate curls + hex dumbbell hold (by the end, as substitute for blob). Superset w/ gripforce dumbbell snatches. It was a great session. My thumbs were burning in that good way afterwards, and my thumb pads had an awesome pump.
Thank you for exposing me, and others, to bipolar lifts. They have definitely helped me in my training. Stay strong!
January 5th, 2012 at 6:25 am
just wanted to say how much i appreciated your post and the introduction to bi-polar training…totally freakin awsum dude. i included it as a finisher in my work out last night…damn near passed out through the tension the lift required 🙂 this will ne a regular for me now !! would love to see some more examples in the future..thanks again brother…
January 12th, 2022 at 7:16 pm