The point of this article is to try to get all of you grip
enthusiasts into coming up with your own novel ideas of developing some
mighty functional hand strength tailored to your lifestyles.
For those of you who do Cardio training with rowing machines, I
may have a way you can also strengthen your grip. Let me first recommend
rowing machines to those of you have never tried them or think that
they're wimpy. Running or using the StairMaster may be too taxing on your
recovery ability. I've found that deadlifting and squatting may not
directly hurt my lower back, but it does become much more susceptible to
pain or injury by way of a light jog.
My modification to rowing attempts to thicken the handle with
which you pull with. We can make thick handles that you sleeve on both
sides of the bar by taking a trip to your local supermarket. Find two cans
which at most slightly bend under your thumbs pressure and can be opened
from both sides with a can opener. I'm using two Del Monte Spaghetti Cans
(Traditional Flavor) and have found them to be strong and of ferocious
thickness (little over 3").
Go home, empty out the cans and open them up from both sides. Take
each can and run it through each side of the rowing bar (just like plates
on a exercise bar where the chain in the middle acts as the common collar
for both handles).
When you perform your rows, try to place your hands around them by
wrapping your thumb in the opposite direction your fingers are going in
(sort of like holding a thick dumbbell); do not cup your hands because it
becomes less of a difficulty to hold on.
You may find that the handles shift a little bit as you pull. You
can either make a conscious effort to keep them in place relative to the
inside bar throughout the rowing or you can collar the handles by tying
towels around the rowing bar on the outside of the handles.
If you're already using a heavy setting on your rowing machine and
find that your not experiencing much fatigue in your fingers and forearms
after about ten minutes worth of work, then you can weight the rowing
bar by running exercise plates (you shouldn't need much, maybe tens on
both sides) on each side of it and then placing the handles beside them.
Of course you can skip the whole rowing idea and just unscrew one
side of your dumbbells and you have a new revolving grip tool that mimics
IronMind's Rolling Thunder except with a much thicker grip. You can of
course use this for some of your Traditional exercises, but try giving
heavy side bends a serious try with such a modification.
But for those of you who also enjoy using the StairMaster or its
variations were you can hold onto a rail, you can try to come up with a
way to thicken the rail. Even though you're cheating yourself by holding
on, you can balance out your guilt by holding onto something tough and
If you travel a lot or plan on being in and out of airports for
the next couple of days, then you can modify your bag(s) so that they have
a much thicker handle requiring you to scream and shout as you carry your
carry ons') through the airport terminals. I have thickened my bass case
handle by why of a wrapped towel taped in place and I most carry it about
twenty minutes twice a week to my instructors. Needless to say that I can
barely pluck the strings when its time to practice.
If your job or schoolwork requires you to write for long intervals
thing you can buy a thick pencil (the ones you find in gift shops) or you
can wrap a bunch of rubber bands at the point where your fingers make
contact. I don't think you would have to add much diameter to the pencil
though, just enough to make your fingers work a little harder to hold on.
You're probably wondering how you could make such modifications on
StairMaster rails and/or luggage handles that are closed so that you
can't simply run a spaghetti can through them. Well, you can cut the
cans lengthwise and place them over the rails or handles so that the cut
you made is directly below where your hands are placed so that you don't
cut yourself on the can. I don't know if that works too well since I
haven't tried it myself but the point I'm trying to make is that you
should try to thicken any objects you're already have to carry such as
school bags, luggage, etc. because I don't think the duration of
thick handled work (ex: benching with a 3" bar) in the weight room is
comparable to the requirements of holding on to an object's handle you've
modified and most proceed to carry or row for a long period of time (say
twenty minutes). I think one only has to look at the forearms of a
mechanic who does all of his work with manual tools to understand the
potential of having to grip on to something for a long-duration has on
one's hand strength. Try to but yourself in a position where it becomes
incumbent upon you to finish the grip exercise or, for example, you will
simply have to leave your luggage or school bag behind, won't be able to
finish your essay, or won't be able to get a real Cardio workout if you
can't deal with the bone-deep pain in your fingers.