Anvil or Hammer

Posted in Grip by Mike on May 19, 2007

No, I didn’t start yet another site. I actually attempted grip today, probably a pathetic attempt. I’m hoping you guys will steer me a bit.

Grip Gear1 

2″ Dumbell deadlift
50lbs Left/Right
100lbs L/R
120lbs Miss/R

Block (weights are as marked on the block, so actual weight is less than half of this)
70lbs L/R
80lbs M/M
70 L/R(clean)

3″ Dumbell deadlift
50lbs M/R
50lbs L/R

6″ 3/16″ square X 2
6″ 1/4″ round
6″ Grade 2 Bolt X 2
6″ 1/4″ round, kinked it

Belt Lift – This is my attempt to address “narrow pinch”. Using an old belt I looped the belt through the buckle with the weights in the loop. I placed the other end flat against my palm and held it against my palm with my four fingers (mostly middle and ring).
10lbs L/R
20lb L/R
25lbs L/R
30lbs L/R
30lbs L/R

Lever – The weight was wasy but my wrists were not up for the stretch at all, so, no success
Deadlift lever
Front 10″ L/R
Rear 15″ L/R

Wrist Roller – Overhand
15lbs X 1

#1 L/R
#1 M/R

That’s it, that is my grip workout. Suggestions are requested. Also, if anyone knows any good things for wrist mobility. Mine is awful. I’m gonna have to start doing push ups ever day just to force my hand to be able to go to 90 degrees again.

15 Responses to ''

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  1. Scott said,

    Looks like a pretty good setup – well, it’s similar to mine 🙂

    With the wrist mobility, if you try to push your thumb to the inside of your forearm, how close do you get? Performing this type of stretch (pushing the thumb a little, but not so that it’s painful) seems to help.

  2. Chris Rice said,

    Looking at the picture – it appears to be a 2 3/8″ handle on the dumbbell??? The main thing on grip is to just do it for a while, work everything including flexibility and extensors. Don’t worry about any specilized workouts etc until you get used to everything and gain the needed movement in all the joints etc. I still stand by my beginners workout of Synergy Forearms – it’s simply a good way to start out.

  3. Mike said,


    If I just push on the thumb, I can get it to 90 degrees from my forarm. If I push on the whole hand, I can get it to move a bit but not much in that direction.


    as far as I know, the dumbell with the 2 25s on it should be 3″ but I guess I never measured it. I can check it out later. If it’s not 3″, I don’t was to try a 3″er,cause that one is practically a pinch workout for me.
    I totally forgot about that workout, th Power Forarms on, Right? I’ve still got it too. Lemme see what I can do.

  4. Scott Styles said,

    I think you’ve got all the tools you need, but it looks like you just tried to max on every exercise. Gripping will respond to that, but I find it’s good to go up a level, in the 3-5 rep range, with a couple sets per exercise. Be careful not to over train the thumbs as well. By my count you have 19 sets hitting your thumbs from one angle or another yesterday. That is overkill.

    In addition to stretching, your wrist flexibility may be limited by your forearm flexors being much stronger than your extensors. I’m not sure if the unmounted wrist roller will work well to fix an imbalance like that or not. Mounted wrist roller does, as would a leverage wrist curl, or doing front and rear levers on the sledge. I also think a bottoms up kettlebell press helps with it. I’ve never had much success with regular wrist curls, barbell or dumbell.

  5. Jedd Johnson said,

    My suggestion if you are new to grip is to start off slow, using mostly bodybuilding types of exercises, gradually increasing in volume on a weekly basis, for about the first month, as outlined in my bending ebook. The lifts are not so strenuous on the joints of the lower arm, and can ramp you up in conditioning very well, preventing injury.

    If you will be staying with your current routine, please do not neglect extension of the fingers, wrists, and supinated curls. These are a must to combat cumulative trauma injuries for athletes new to grip specialization.

    Best of luck getting into grip. It looks like you have a great collection of items there to build some solid grip strength!

  6. Mike said,


    It does seem like it could be a gator grip problem for some of it. I do have poor mobility, for example missing the lever but I also can’t pull with the extensors enough to get remotely close to a 90 degree angle between the back on my hand and the back of my arm.
    I can gladly push some reps a bit further. I have heard from different sources that no one trains that thumb and vice versa that everyone overtrainis it. What would be a better arrangement? If I jsut left out the 3″ dumbell, that would make only two thumb intensive exercises, 6-10 sets per hand?

  7. Scott Styles said,

    Here are the exercises you are doing that can hit the thumbs:

    2″ Dumbell
    3″ Dumbell
    Wrist Roller

    Some of the exercises you wouldn’t initially expect to hit the thumbs (bending, levering, wrist roller), but in my experience they can. How hard they hit the thumbs depends on your exact form and where your weak points are. You’re the only one with that information.

    To me the 3″ Dumbell and Block Weights are redundant. As are the Bending and Levering. If you were using a rack mounted wrist roller, I’d say you could drop the 2″ dumbell with no impact. I’m not sure how hard the free wrist roller hits the supporting grip, I’ve never used one.

    So I’d probably trim the workout you did down to:

    Blockweights or 3″ Dumbell
    Bending or Levering
    2″ Dumbell or Wrist Roller
    Thin Pinch or Grippers (test only)

    Given where you are at now, I’m of the opinion that grippers and thin pinch are a waste of your time, except for maybe a test every few workouts. I believe you are bending double underhand, that will bring your grippers up. I don’t see how developing strength in the range of thin pinch you are working adds value to your training.

    I’d agree with Jedd that some sort of hand health work would be good as well. Given your wrist mobility issue, you may find doing dexterity balls in a range of hand positions helps to open things up. Finger extensions also have value long term.

    I do think that your prior experience with strongman, kettlebells, and sand bags puts you in a position where you are not starting as a rank beginner with the grip stuff. You can get away with doing more and working harder sooner than an individual that just trains with a barbell. Avoid maxing too soon at extreme ranges of motion (wide pinch, wrist stuff), and I think you will do great.

  8. Mike said,

    Cool, the Jedd Johnson commented on my blog :-). For most purposes I am new at grip. I gave it a run a while back but could never get serious in any fashion. I know some folks who are and they let me play around occasionally. i don’t think I have your bending ebook. Or maybe I do, I downloaded a beginning bending PDF file a long time ago (well okay like 18 months ago ) from teh Diesel Crew website.
    I have not been doing any curls supinated or otherwise for a while because of a little bicep owie that is all but over so supinated curls might be a good addition to the fun. I’ve used Expand Your Hands Bands and found them to be…well, not so much of a good use of my time. I play with them at work often. I started doubling up the bands just to make it worth the effort. I haven’t done wrist curls for probably 18 months. I have a new toy, a formualtor knock off I may use, once I find some collars, to take care of the extensor wrist curls.

    I believe the experession that best describes my reaction to what is hitting the thumbs is “oh” 🙂 I hadn’t really expected all that to play into it. I do like the workout you laid out, It give me two different workouts to play with. I kinda felt like the block weights and the 3″ were essentially the same lift. I guess I can get a little more weight on the 3″ becuase i can wrap my fingers a little bit.
    I’ve never done a supported wrist roller. I could probably get some 2″ PVC and make one. I could take it to the gym and slide it over the saftery guards of the power rack. Whenever I have seen people using the supported ones, they just seemed silly cause they would load liek100lbs on there and use their whole body to try to roll the thing up. I’m trying to avoid that silliness.
    I’m glad to hear the grippers are a waste of my time, cause I really can’t get excited about those things. I’m got some of those chinese balls at work. I kinda stopped using them cause they make a noise. I used to have times where no one was around and I could go ahead and use them but not in my new workspace. Would a pair of lacrosse balls, golf balls or something make a passable substitute?
    we’ll see how fast I can go with the whole grip thing. I have to admit that doing nastiness to my forearms and hands is not a warm thought. I gotta type to eat, I’d hate to gimp myself up.

  9. Scott Styles said,

    I think if you try a rack supported wrist roller, you might be suprised how good of a grip exercise it is. Everything gets fried. I personally favor a narrow one (mine is 1 and 3/8″), so that I can avoid over stressing my thumbs. It is just another tool in the tool box though. If you’ve got a leverage wrist curl and are playing with your 2″ dumbell, that works too.

    I don’t think it matters what you are using for the dexterity balls. As long as you can rotate them with your hand up or your hand down, they are fine. The idea is to move the fingers around in a range of hand positions.

    I have yet to have pain from grip work that prevents me from typing. I am more careful than most, but I think if anything, it has prevented me from having hand pain while typing. I routinely use a computer 8-12 hours a day with no problems.

  10. Chris Rice said,

    Trust me (for once – smile). Take a month or six weeks and just do Power Forearms, nothing else – twice a week to total failure – if you have a Formulator type device of some kind, that’s even better than a bar. You’ll never regret it! It helps to injury proof you from the elbows down and increases capillarity I think. Of course no one ever listens to me but the few I’ve talked into this were very happy with the results. Power Forearms and heavy finger curls in the power rack is all I did for years (before I ever heard of the GripBoard) and to be honest, most of the hand strength I have I believe came from this foundation work and the climbing. I still do it now and then when I haven’t suffered enough lately. To be honest, Power Forearms, finger curls or a grip machine and some rubber bands for finger extensions would make a strong balanced grip with no weak points – then add in the event training later according to the upcoming contest and one should be good to go for any contest.

  11. Mike said,

    Chris makes a compelling argument, I gotta say.
    I will look into something as dexterity balls though too.

  12. Scott Styles said,

    Chris has the experience and results to back up what he’s saying. Probably a good idea to listen to him. When my grip training levels, maybe I’ll do that program.

  13. Mike said,

    I think I’ll start with Chris’s program for a month, twice a week then I’ll use yours. You both have some results to back it up, plus it means I get to ignore gripper for a while longer, yeaah!

  14. Scott said,

    Mike, quick note on the Baoding Balls (those dexterity balls that make a noise) – as Scott said, anything will do. I’ve actually found the cheapest place to be those stores that sell candles, pebbles, indoor fountains etc.

  15. Mike said,

    It seems though that most of those make the noise. I’ll need to find a pair that don’t. I think I may try golf balls in the short term. Now I just need to get some golf balls.

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