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How To Tear Phone Books


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How to tear Phone Books

by Clay Edgin

(used with permission)

If you ask around, the chances are pretty good that someone has seen a phone book 'being ripped in half' or knows of someone who does it, although it remains a feat of strength that almost seems superhuman. The purpose of this article is to de-mystify the tearing of a phone book and show you just how easy it can be. Tearing a phone book in half is something I have wanted to do since before I ever got into grip training but how do you go about ripping a 2” thick hunk of paper? It wasn’t until I started talking with Michael Wayne, a good friend of mine and strong 'gripster' in his own regard, that the technique clicked in my head.

First, grab the top of your book and keep your hands as far apart as possible while still having all your fingers on it. Tightly grip the book with the pinky and ring finger on each hand. In the picture below, you can see that my index and middle fingers aren’t even gripping the book. With your thumbs or thumb pads, push the center of the book away from you so that it forms a “U”

<img src="http://www.gripboard.com/images/bowingout.jpg">

From here, grip the book tightly with your entire hand, including the middle and index fingers on each hand, and begin to “bend” the ends of the book down

<img src="http://www.gripboard.com/images/stretchingpagesb.jpg">

Notice how the pages between my index fingers are now in a “V” shape and the pages at the top of the book are fanned out a little and look almost stretched. Continue to bend the edges of the book down while maintaining a tight grip. The book binding and pages on top of the book will split, making a pleasant popping sound and you’ll end up with something like in the picture below.

<img src="http://www.gripboard.com/images/initialpop.jpg">

Now, continue to bend the edges of the book down until you have torn through all the pages. If you do not tear through all the pages in the first motion, reset your hands on top of the book a little closer and go through the same motions again. And as you bend the edges of the book down, try to pull the book apart

<img src="http://www.gripboard.com/images/rippingbookapart.jpg">

If your pinch strength is strong enough, keep this grip on the book and continue to tear it. You will now have to push with one hand and pull with the other to finish off the book. If your pinch grip is not strong enough to do this, re-grip the book as in the picture below and then push/pull it apart.

<img src="http://www.gripboard.com/images/finishoff.jpg">

There, that was too easy! If the phone book you are trying to tear is too thick and you are killing yourself trying to rip it in half, open the book up to the middle and tear it in half down the binding so instead of one 2” book you have two 1” books.

Aside from stealing your neighbor’s phonebooks before they wake up, there are several reliable sources for phone books that you should check out. Some recycling centers have literally tons of the books and most will tell you that having the books torn in half actually helps them make it easier to recycle. Be sure to recycle the books when you are finished tearing them though. Motels are another great place to get phonebooks. When the new books are delivered, call the local motels and ask them if you can have their old phonebooks. Larger hotels that have several hundred rooms will have at least one book per room and can provide you with more phonebooks than you’ll rip in a year.

The last option is not one I recommend, but it works. If you are really hard up for phonebooks and the recyclers or motels don’t have any to spare, you can call your local yellow page directory service and have new books delivered to your door. One large phone company told me that my local directory was free and I could order as many as I wanted. After I wiped the drool from my phone I had a couple dozen delivered. Several phone companies I talked to that put out phone books told me that a couple months after they have distributed the new phone books, they usually have thousands upon thousands sitting in a warehouse waiting to be ordered and they are more willing to give those away since the extra ones will go to the recycler if they haven’t found a home.

Have fun with this, and if you have any aches or pains, wait until they are 100% better before ripping more books!!

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