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Suggestions On How To Tear A Tennis Ball


Mephistopholes

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Mephistopholes

I talked to John Brookfield on Friday and asked about this—the first thing he did was emphasize how hard it is to do this. John also doesn't consider biting a hole to start the tear to be the right way to perform this feat of strength, although he said if you (carefully) puncture a tennis ball with, say, a chisel, and then try to tear it, you will quickly see how hard it still is to do.

As Teemu suggested, John said getting a finger stabbed through the seam is the really tough part and he suggested that training on a potato might be a good way to work up to this,

John told me some more good stuff about this feat of strength so I can circle back if there's interest in hearing more.

Well, the biting thing was actually a reference to another thread I'd posted about biting through nails...

Anyway, that's excellent that you took this to John. Thanks alot. I know that if he is saying that its very hard, then it has to be downright nasty hard, but that's why I want to do it. haha... Foolish pride, an obsession with tearing things apart, whatever it may be. It's gonna happen :) I can't back down now, I've announced it publicly.

I definitely see that the finger puncture part is going to be the hardest. I've tested myself a couple times on a new tennis ball and it is going to take both some serious strength and toughness. I've been doing something like what john has suggested, Putting a slit in the seam of the tennis ball with an exacto knife (very, very carefully of course) and have practiced working my fingers in that slit and tearing it apart. Just doing that is hard in itself. I plan to slowly reduce the size of the hole I make with the exacto knife over time, so as to progress in difficulty.

The potato sounds like a good idea too. And they're pretty cheap.

If he told you more about it, I'm definitely interested in hearing it. Thanks again.

Edited by Mephistopholes
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Next time I talk to him, I can ask John if he's got any training tips—I think Mike Dayton used to do this, too.

Ok Dayton did a lot of crazy stuff. http://youtu.be/wUU3Rqmajp0

You don't need any more ideas. Aren't you the guy who wants to bite through steel?

Funny you brought this up. I just saw a pic of "pawel r" tering one up posted in his gallery. I was impressed enough to send him a message.

I never knew it could be done!

Good candidates to be-able to do this is Tommy & Daniel, I'm guessing. Tommy because he seems to feel no pain and Daniel because he has a bionic thumb.

PAWEL R responded back to me:

http://www.physioadv...3754256(300x300).jpg squeze tennis ball

http://www.liveaweso...e002_0000.jpg finger push-ups

http://www.rosstrain...welpullup.jpg towel pull-ups

this 3 exercises really helped me

http://www.youtube.com/pawellittle

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Mephistopholes

Funny you brought this up. I just saw a pic of "pawel r" tering one up posted in his gallery. I was impressed enough to send him a message.

I never knew it could be done!

Good candidates to be-able to do this is Tommy & Daniel, I'm guessing. Tommy because he seems to feel no pain and Daniel because he has a bionic thumb.

PAWEL R responded back to me:

http://www.physioadv...3754256(300x300).jpg squeze tennis ball

http://www.liveaweso...e002_0000.jpg finger push-ups

http://www.rosstrain...welpullup.jpg towel pull-ups

this 3 exercises really helped me

http://www.youtube.com/pawellittle

Excellent, thanks man.

Oh those fingertip pushups...

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Mephistopholes

Splurged on myself this weekend and bought a pair of eagle loops, so I'm going to start doing pullups and farmer's walks with them, instead of towel pullups.

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hellswindstaff

So that's two references to Mike Dayton... Who I know nothing about. Haha. Pardon my ignorance.

Nothing to be ashamed of—you'd have to be about my age to have seen him in person. I saw him hang himself (twice), among other things.

Mike wanted to prove he could jump off the Golden Gate Bridge and live, but in a practice jump off something a lot lower, he at least broke one leg as I recall.

He was before my time... I just found a book buy him once. The guy was insane, so I don't doubt it. I remember reading he brace bent a double barrel shotgun? Have any other stories of his insane feats that you can recall Randall?

The bridge thing was going to be a big deal because jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge is a favorite for people wanting to commit suicide, but the hanging thing was pretty dramatic—he'd pass out, be laid out on the floor and his sister would run up screaming "Mike, Mike . . ." or something like that. Frankly, I always thought his quarter bending was a magician's trick, but who knows.

Have you guys at IRONMIND ever considered being his publisher? I would buy the stuff.

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paul valpreda
John told me some more good stuff about this feat of strength so I can circle back if there's interest in hearing more.

Hello Randall, I would be very interested in hearing more about what John told you regarding tearing tennis balls. Thanks!

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  • 3 weeks later...
daniel reinard

Gave it a try today. Total fail. How does one even grip it to get a tear???

Edited by daniel reinard
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hellswindstaff

Gave it a try today. Total fail. How does one even grip it to get a tear???

Daniel, if you cut one in half then you'll see that the inside is about the toughness of a car tire.

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Mephistopholes

Daniel, I think the second way you were holding it is the way to do it. It's a fingertip thing, not thumbs... What I've been doing is perforating the seams of tennis balls with an xacto knife. Put it in a vice and carefully puncture the seam with the knife, so it will give you a starting hole to tear from... From there, the form makes a bit more sense.

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daniel reinard

I almost think that one needs to use a decent quality ball. This one would collapse all the way inwards to where the applied pressure would almost completely disapate. Once the seam touched the other side of the ball it felt like there was no way. Ancient secrets must exist somewhere.

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Mephistopholes

Oh yeah, I agree. It has to be sturdy. It needs enough resistance that it won't just cave in on you when you squeeze it. Such resistance allows it to rupture; without that, you're just pressing and pressing and getting nowhere.

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  • 1 month later...
Oh yeah, I agree. It has to be sturdy. It needs enough resistance that it won't just cave in on you when you squeeze it. Such resistance allows it to rupture; without that, you're just pressing and pressing and getting nowhere.

Thought I would revive this thread because not many people can do it and I am currently interested in building up the strength for this feat. Will post a video in 2 months, showing my success ;)

We do need to find the easiest balls to destroy though and work our way up to the toughest. It does seem that the cheap ones are the toughest which is odd.

Edited by GotAGrip
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I found 5 packs of plasticine in a charity shop the other day and have been practicing digging my nails in it. I bundled all of it together to make a giant ball. It is surprisingly resistant and seems perfect for "tennis-ball ripping" practice, especially if you use single digits.

This is the stuff... obviously try to find it cheaper if you decide you wanna try. http://www.amazon.com/Plasticine-8-Classic-Colours-Pack/dp/B0007QJMWO/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1358421930&sr=8-7&keywords=plasticine

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Mephistopholes
I found 5 packs of plasticine in a charity shop the other day and have been practicing digging my nails in it. I bundled all of it together to make a giant ball. It is surprisingly resistant and seems perfect for "tennis-ball ripping" practice, especially if you use single digits.

This is the stuff... obviously try to find it cheaper if you decide you wanna try. http://www.amazon.com/Plasticine-8-Classic-Colours-Pack/dp/B0007QJMWO/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1358421930&sr=8-7&keywords=plasticine

Interesting... I occasionally test myself on a hedgeapple, but it has a different feel to it. Like I'm mauling somebody with a really small head.

I'll confess, I haven't web able to work on this actively in awhile. Since I hurt my thumb, it made this pretty hard to do without aggravating the injury. So I've just been working on building up my finger strength.

But now that the thumb is healed... Maybe I'll hit it this weekend.

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I don't have any hedge apples near me I don't think - are they rife in England? Never even seen one, only on google images haha.

The good thing about plasticine is that it buckles under the pressure offering a workout in a full range of movement, unlike things like apples and potatoes which only work on an isometric level. Also, if you keep it wrapped in a bag or something then the plasticine starts off REALLY tough and slowly gets easier as you work with it each session... this way as your hand fatigues, you can keep whacking your grip - kinda like a drop-set I suppose lol.

I crushed a potato just now by digging my fingers into it in a similar way to tennis ball crushing and destroyed it - it was only a small one though because it's all I had... I then moved onto a giant sweet potato and felt like I could've gone through it if my finger nails hadn't been trying to tear off my fingers!!! Does anyone know if it is possible for your finger nails to become tougher and harder to rip from the finger?

I have a nice, simple exercise for increasing finger/hand strength. Grab a karate belt or something similar and tie knots in it - make the knots as tight as your strength levels allow and then try to undo them as quickly as possible. It's frustrating, but a very good exercise. I haven't heard of anyone else using this but I imagine someone else has considered it before.

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Mephistopholes

Hedgesappples.... They're some kind of fruit, far as I can tell, but literally nothing eats them, so when you find a hedgeapple tree, they're just lying around by the bunches. Used to set them up on stumps when I was a kid and use them for target practice. They're pretty good for that. They're here in Kentucky. I have no idea if they are in England. They're also known as "mock oranges" if that helps you at all.

But yeah, hedgeapples, regular apples, potatoes, I think they're all good practice. And not just isometric if you manage to tear all the way through them!

Fingernails... Your fingernails don't become tougher, they'll just get torn off. So be sure to keep them trimmed, as John Brookfield warns. You don't want them getting torn off.

Interesting sounding exercise for the fingers... There are several things I've been doing:

1) eagle loop pullups. These have helped my finger strength alot, I can tell. I'd deadlift with them, but I don't know when I'd put it in my schedule.

2) Block weight stuff.

3) two finger closes with grippers. I've almost got the #2 closed this way! And obviously I think this has carry-over to regular gripper training.

4) this isn't really training, but... I've been making the effort to do everyday things (opening doors, whether push or pull; carrying groceries and other things, using coffee mugs and beer bottles) with either the tips of my fingers, or just as few fingers as possible, particularly trying to get my last two fingers into more use. I think through this everyday use, it just helps condition them a little bit. Unconciously we pretty much always use our dominant hand, and the whole hand, to do all sorts of simple tasks that get repeated all day, which of course conditions the hand to use. Not necessarily making it any stronger, but just more familiar to being used. I'm trying to carry that over to my fingers, particularly my little fingers. There are pretty heavy doors at the University, and I make a habit of pushing them open and holding them with just my fingertips. I think it helps.

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Mephistopholes

5) and of course, practicing on fruits and vegetables. Haha. Havent been able to do this as much though due to the thumb.

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5) and of course, practicing on fruits and vegetables. Haha. Havent been able to do this as much though due to the thumb.

I feel bad for the fruit lol...

Your feats are far more impressive than my own, I have been strength training since I was a kid but neglected my hands, grip is a fairly new hobby and by far the most fun. I started with nail bending and managed to bend a 6" shiny nail on my second attempt - bearing in mind I am only 5ft4, this impressed quite a few people lol. I then managed to bend a cheap No. 8 spanner infront of my step daughters boyfriend. I damaged my hand doing this without a warm up shortly after so I have to be careful with it.

The eagle loop thing sounds cool. I want to make a pinch block for my barbell and try to do pinch grip deadlifts but I haven't got round to it yet.

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Mephistopholes

Ha well thanks man, but I don't think I've done that much in terms of inpressive feats, or at least in comparison to some of the badasses on this board. I think I'm still at the "intermediate" level.

A pinch block is pretty cheap and easy to make. Good tool.

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Ha well thanks man, but I don't think I've done that much in terms of inpressive feats, or at least in comparison to some of the badasses on this board. I think I'm still at the "intermediate" level.

A pinch block is pretty cheap and easy to make. Good tool.

My thumb is useless near the closed position - might start practicing pinch grip pull ups again with the karate belt. Would be cool if I could pull that off.

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Mephistopholes

Ha well thanks man, but I don't think I've done that much in terms of inpressive feats, or at least in comparison to some of the badasses on this board. I think I'm still at the "intermediate" level.

A pinch block is pretty cheap and easy to make. Good tool.

My thumb is useless near the closed position - might start practicing pinch grip pull ups again with the karate belt. Would be cool if I could pull that off.

Haha yes! Pinch grip pullups would be awesome.

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Okay, so I managed to rip a really cheap, old ball - I imagine a normal one would be 10 times as hard. Still, I am pretty pleased about this because I don't think I could've done this a month ago.

Forgive the dancing, it was very tough lol.

Tennisball.wmv

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I can't get the video to play, but good work!

I will try a different format if it's unviewable later.

I tried another ball, a different brand - and it kicked my butt. The ball I tore was definitely nowhere near a full strength tennis ball lol.

Edited by GotAGrip
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