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Posts Tagged ‘open hand’

Beginner Grip Training: Basic Thick Grip Training

Tuesday, May 9th, 2017

Beginner Grip Training: Basic Thick Bar Work

This is the latest installment in my Beginner Grip Training series. Up to this point, I’ve already touched on Plate Pinch Grip Training, and Gripper Training, but did you know that even if you don’t have a single piece of grip strength training equipment, you’ve got perfect access to in just about ANY gym around?

It’s true – you can work Thick Bar in your next workout, and this video shows you how.

Thick Bar Training in Any Gym

What questions do you have about Grip Training, Thick Bar Work, etc? Leave a comment below – I’d love to hear from you.

All the best in your training,


Grip Strength: Open Hand and Crushing Together?

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012


First off, I am sorry for the lack of new posts lately. I have been distracted lately with many things.

Some of them, are just plain life issues that catch you off guard from time to time. For instance, my long-time friend in life and business, my Explorer, decided to finally leave me and go a completely new direction, so I had to spend two days researching vehicles. I ended up buying a Nissan Rogue, and it has been awesome.

I’ve also had two amazing trips in the last 3 weeks. The first was my first Strongman Performance gig, where I worked as a carnival strongman as part of a 4-act circus show. It was a great time, I learned even more about the feats of strength I do and teach, and it was great watching all the youngsters enjoy themselves.

Lift, Hold, and Control Seminar Group: Dan Creter, Jan Dellinger, Sarah Shafer, Jedd Johnson, Rebecca Klopp, Paul Tompkins, Stephanie Lewis

This past weekend was the Lift, Hold, and Control seminar at Vision Fitness of PA, home of Garage Ink Powerlifting. My friend, Niko Hulslander, invited me down to his gym to speak and it was great spending some time with him and getting to know him more as well. The attendees had a great time and they learned a lot. It was my privilege to have in attendance a well-known member of the strength world, Jan Dellinger, author of The Dellinger Files. Jan worked at York Barbell for years and years and was once assistant editor of Muscular Development Magazine.

So, now that I have my feet under me, I want to share a video with you that I put up on YouTube a week or so ago.

Grip Training: How to Train Crush and Open Hand

I always welcome comments and questions on my YouTube videos, and I have been getting lots of good ones. Recently, one of my YouTube Subscribers asked a question along the lines of “What is the best way to work Crushing Strength and Open Hand Strength at the same time?

At first I responded by telling him that it couldn’t be done, simply by definition of the two types of grip strength. To understand what I mean, here are the definitions of these two types of grip strength.

Crushing Grip: Dynamic force produced by the hands and fingers, whereas the fingers move inward toward the palm, as in making a fist or closing a gripper.

Open Hand: Static force produced by the hand and fingers where no overlap of the fingertips and thumb can take place, as in lifting a Blob or thick handled dumbbell.

So, as you can see, by definition, these two categories of grip strength somewhat cancel one another out, especially when you consider the following:

1. Crushing is almost always dynamic in nature. Gripper closing involves movement. Even crushing down on a kettlebell handle in a Bottoms-up Press manner, while the movement is minimal, it is still taking place in order to control and adjust to the balance of the kettlebell.

2. Open Hand Training is almost always static in nature. With wide plate pinching, the thumb and fingers squeeze onto the outsides of the plates, but no movement takes place beyond this. The same is true when lifting the Inch Dumbbell or other thick-handled challenge bar.

However, as I thought more and more about this question, I realized that I was being too closed-minded. I was only considering very basic forms of Grip Strength Training, and I was leaving out many other forms that do have the potential to work both aspects of gripping ability. I was really pigeon-holing myself and looking at the question with tunnel vision.

Here is the video that I made in order to address this:

How to Combine Crushing and Open Hand Strength Training

This video will show you some examples of both Open Hand Training and Crushing Strength.

So, as you can see, it can be very, very easy to accomplish training the Crushing aspect and the Open Hand aspects at the same time with Bi-Polar Training, you just have to do each hand separately. Plus with the right equipment you can come very close to training the hands to crush without the benefit of a closed hand by using the Grip 4orce Handles.

There are other ways to accomplish this Hybrid form of Grip Training that have come to me since then. One such way is with Sandbags. When performing heavy sandbag lifts, as you clench the material on the body of the bag (using the handles they have would not count), the action of the fingers digging in would entail a degree of dynamic crushing (Crush Grip), while the hand stays open (Open Hand).

In most cases, Sandbag Lifting, especially when done with a large bag, will fit into another category of grip that is often not discussed, called Monkey Grip. Monkey Grip is when the orientation of the hand puts the fingers and thumb on the same side of the implement being used, instead of opposing one another in convention Pinch and Open Hand lifts.

We will go into more detail on Monkey Grip training later. For now, mull over what I talked about in today’s article and video, and as always, if you have a question, make sure to leave a comment. Also, if you can think of other ways to combine Crushing and Open Hand training, post them as well. Believe me, there are lots of them.

Want more detailed instruction to take you to your Grip Training Goals? The answers to your questions await you at my coaching site, With hundreds of entries over the course of nearly three years of operation, it is the world’s most complete Grip Strength instructional Site. Join today for just $7 and let’s start working together toward your grip training goals.

What have you got to lose? Join today.


Want to Take the Next Step in Gripper Destruction? Check out CRUSH: Total Gripper Domination below

Continued Progress with the Double Inch Deadlift

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

I have been continuing to work toward improving my Double Inch Deadlift with plans to progress to the Double Inch Farmer’s Walk.

Last week I was able to pull a solid deadlift and even got a good pause at the top before the bells overtook my thumb and ripped the Inch out of my hands…

I recorded some of the tools and methods I have been using to bring my thick bar strength up when I wrote about the double inch dumbbell deadlift last week.

The methods I covered in that post involved solely use of the Inch Dumbbell itself, however that is not all that I have been doing on a regular basis. I have also been using two pieces of training equipment, which I am sure you have heard about – Fat Gripz and Grip 4orce Handles, quite frequently.

Until now, of the two tools listed above, Fat Gripz has probably gotten much more notoriety, but I think that the Grip 4orce handles are going to get more attention very soon.

First off, I want to say right off the bat that I like both of these handles. They both go on and off dumbbells or barbells so quickly that they add next to no time to your workout. You can literally put them on and perform a set of one lift and then pull them off and put them on something else for a superset / giant set

However, I feel the Grip 4orce handles are equally impressive, but in a different way. I see them particularly powerful tools for building thumb strength.

So I probably just lost you right? You’re probably thinking, “How can a thick bar trainer help with thumb strength?”

Well, here is why Grip 4orce builds thumb strength…

When you put the Grip 4orce handles onto dumbbells and curl them, in order to keep them on the handles, you have to squeeze not only your fingers tightly, but also the thumbs must fire throughout the range of motion and continue to adjust pressure in order to keep the G4‘s secured on the dumbbell handle.

What People Don’t Realize about Thick Bar Training

What many people do not realize about thick bar work is it actually requires a substantial amount of thumb activity, especially if you do not flex the wrist while you perform the thick-bar lift.

In other words, when you lift a thick bar, such as an axle, in a double overhand grip, if you keep your wrist in extension, you will have to apply pinching strength onto the bar in order to lift it. If you flex your wrist more, then you shift the emphasis more to the wrist and forearm flexors, and also more on the fingers and less toward the thumbs.

The same is true for lifting the inch dumbbell. If you goose-neck your wrist (if I do this, I get a terrible pain in my wrist and have for years) the thumb does not come into play.

However, if you have your wrist in extension when you lift the inch dumbbell, then you essentially have to “Pinch the Inch” in order to lift it.

Pinching the Inch

This is how I have done it for years – I Pinch the Inch Dumbbell in order to lift it because if I flex my wrist to take emphasis away from my thumb it hurts immensely, almost like an electrical shock through my wrist.

This is also why it is even tougher for me to lift the Inch Dumbbells with them sitting outside my feet as compared to straddling them. When they lie outside my feet, my wrist goes even more into extension, requiring even more effort from and emphasis on my thumbs.

Back to the Grip 4orce handles. I first got a set when I wrote the owner, Jim Hartman, about sponsoring the 2011 National Grip Sport Championship. He sent me a pair to review and a few sets for the prize package at Nationals.

The first thing I did with the Grip4orce handles was to put them onto the dumbbells for my next workout that involved curls, and I noticed how much they work the thumbs right away. The next day, my thumb pads were very sore, much more so than any Two Hand Pinch or Block Weight workout I had recently. In fact, I would compare the feeling to a Volume Workout of Dynamic Pinch, using a Pony Clamp or TTK.

I feel the reason that Grip4orce training feels so much like dynamic pinch is because when you use them on curls, your thumb is acting dynamically the entire time, adjusting the force it is creating throughout the strength curve of the curling range of motion.

I have been using Grip4orce handles on every set of curls I have done since June, and I absolutely love them. They hit my thumbs, they work the fingers, and my forearms feel completely wasted after 3 to 5 sets of curls because they too have to work harder in order to keep the handles secure throughout the curling motion.

I continue to use Grip 4orce handles on every set of curls I do, and my Inch Dumbbell lifting continues to go up. I have even seen improvement in my gripper work, nearly credit-card closing a #3 for the first time ever this week.

I strongly suggest you add these to your equipment collection today. If you currently do curls in your training, this will make them even more worthwhile, and if you are not currently doing curls, then this just might give you a reason to put them back into your routine. They certainly have done that for me.

Get your Grip4orce handles here => Buy Grip4orce Handles

All the best in your training.