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Dynamic Tension grip exercises

Guest girevik

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Guest girevik

Since I haven't contributed much so far, I thought I'd type up these grip exercises from Charles Atlas' Dynamic Tension Course and post them, in case anyone is interested. They would be good if you are traveling since they don't require any equipment, or if you are just looking for something different to try. Exercise 15 would be good for people, like me, who can't do fingertip pushups. Exercise 17 would be good for musicians. I wish I knew that one and finger-walking with a sledgehammer when I played the bagpipes. Anyway, here they are:

“Dynamic Tension®” exercises for the wrist and fingers.

1. Close your hands thus forming fists. Extend your arms as far forward as possible. Then

turn your fists inwards and downwards as far as they can be turned, then suddenly open

the fingers and hand and quickly fling back to the normal position.

2. Perform the same exercise but keep the fists closed all the time, omitting the later part

of the previous exercise.

3. Repeat both exercises, alternating with both hands, untill tired.

4. Bend the right fist inwards to the left, now grasp the fist with the left hand and try to

pull the right fist far to the right while resisting powerfully with the left hand.

5. Turn the right fist far to the right, that is, outwards, grasp with the left hand and resist

while pulling the right fist inwards to the left.

6. Perform the same exercise with the left hand.

7. Do the same exercise vigorously while bending the wrist upwards, and again

downward. After each exercise throughly shake the hands loose. Work your fingers about

and allow them to hand limp and so release any tendency of stiffness. Do not exercise this

group of muscles beyond the fatigue point.

8. With the fingers and thumb all close together, hand open, bend the wrist in a full

circular movement, first to the right then far to the left. Practise this with both hands at the

same time.

9. Get a large double sheet of newspaper open flat. With your arm outstretched, hold the

sheet of paper with the fingers of ONLY one hand and starting with one corner of the

sheet, roll up the paper to the size of a small ball in the palm of your hand. Repeat the

exercise with the other hand. This is an excellent exercise, and should be practised


10. Clench the fists tightly and make a further effort to grip them still more tightly, as

though you were making a superhuman effort to crush some strong resisting object. Be

sure to relax thoroughly after each effort.

11. Now shake hands with yourself, squeezing and gripping as vigorously as you can with

the other hand. Practise this alternately with with hands.

12. Get bundles of old newspapers, magazines, cardboard, paperback novels, telephone

directories and before throwing them away, practise tearing them to pieces. Be sure that

they are thick enough to offer stubborn resistance.

13. Place the tip of one of your fingers on the edge of the table or some such convenient

object and press down firmly, making an effort to press down still more.

14. Repeat the exercise with each finger of both hands, including thumbs.

15. Make the tips of all fingers and thumbs of one hand touch lightly, the fingers of the

other hand, then press together very hard, resisting with the opposing hand.

16. Press your right hand (palm and finger) against your left hand, and while in this

position bend the elbows upward and outward. This is a very powerful exercise and

should not be repeated too often at any one time.

17. To give each finger individual control open the hand wide, fingers well apart, now

bend each finger towards the palm, keeping the other fingers quite still in their original

position. Practise this with both hands.

18. Lock the fingers of one hand in the fingers of the other hand and try to pull apart as

vigorously as possible.

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"Secret Latvian Grip Secrets!"

My dad told me that when he was a kid in Latvia, they told him to close the hands into a fist as tightly as possible then open as forcefully as possible.

He told me this when I was thinking of getting into grip training.  I am not sure how effective this exercise is, as I never did it too often.  He was trying to talk me out of spending any money on equipment, hehe.

I should write a book about all the unusual things he told me about in Latvia.  "Super Secret Latvian Ultra Power Tips!  MEGA!!!"  Cash in on the trend...

Speaking of which, Pavel is offering a few classes near where I live, so I'm checking them out, and will ask him to try the grippers!  Finally the world will know!

Michael Falkov

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Quick Grip: Regarding Pavel, has the world been waiting? I thought his whole claim to fame was being hard and conditioned (like most SpecOps guys) at a light weight, not limit strength strong compared to 220lb+ lifters. Am I missing the boat? Just because Matt Furey can do 500 bodyweight squats and 250 pushups, I don't expect him to have a phenomenal grip, or even to squat impressive poundages on a bar. Same goes for Pavel. Correct me if I am mistaken.

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You're mistaken, allow me to correct you.

He is a celebrity in the strength world.  Many people are interested in this kind of stuff.  I'd like to know what grippers ANY celebrities can close.  Does it matter?  No, but a lot of what we post doesn't matter too much, its just interesting reading.

Plus, I bet there are more people than we know of who could close a #3 if they knew how to position them correctly.  They get that strength from heavy deadlifting.  A lot of his exercise would suggest that he needs a strong grip to do what he does.

Anyway, we will know where he stands.

Advice, free of charge.

Michael Falkov

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I'm not sure that heavy deadlifting is all there is to closing a tough gripper.  When I was a senior in college I brought my #2 in to the powerlifting gym, and there were three junior national quality powerlifters there, one a champion at the 180-190 lb class, all capable of deadlifting over 650lbs(no straps of course), and none of them could close the #2, not even to 1/4 of an inch.  True they didn't know how to position them, but I can pick up the same #2 with no positioning and mash it.  I don't know if this relates to Pavel or not, but there are a lot of heavy deadlifters that can't close a #2 when they first attempt it, let alone a #3 (Ed Coan comes to mind).  The hold of a deadlift is only helpful on one point of a gripper, and that is the static close at the end.  However, just because someone has a wicked hold, doesn't mean they have the dynamic hand and forearm strength necessary to sweep the gripper into that closed position.  Perhaps your experience is different with heavy deadlifters, but I just thought I'd share that story.  Crushing grip is more than howmuch you can support on a bar :D

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RiotGrip, you took the words out of my mouth. Deadlifting does not equal crushing strength. Crushing strength potential maybe, but not crushing strength.

QuickGrip, I follow your line of thinking now about strength celebrities. You should show him your rafter pullups when you get to the seminar, I bet he'd love that. Compare the number of #3 closers to the number of people able to do a rafter pullup.

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My experiance has shown me otherwise to a degree.  Of course I have heard the stories of heavy deadlifters not being able to close tough grippers.

At my school, there are 2 kids tied for the best powerclean.  Those two people can almost close my #2 w/o positioning.  Also the rock climbing friend of mine is in the same boat.  I know they would close it if I could get them to position it, but no body seems to get positioning.

I notice, that even when closing a gripper w/ "no" positioning, there is still SOME positioning.  Maybe you don't use the other hand to assist, but some positions of the gripper in your hand are definitely better than others.

And of course we all know that specific grip training is the fastest way to a strong grip, I'm just saying that there is a lot more carryover from other things than we think.

And the thing with Pavel is just out of curiosity.  If there are rafters near where his thing is going on, I'll show him.  Curious to hear what he thinks about them.

Michael Falkov

P.S. Blueshadow, are you gonna go?

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Quick Grip,

Pavel's response to a rafter chin-up

should be the response of anyone

purporting to understand grip strength: awe.

I dare say there are many, if not most, certified

Captains who have no prayer of a rafter chin-up.

I know, I know, bodyweight. But I can think of no

other feat involving bodyweight that so impresses me.

It takes phenomenal finger strength to simply HANG

pinch-gripped from rafters. Which brings me to a

question for you: Are you able to hang from a rafter

using less than all fingers?

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I honestly haven't tried.  But that brings me to an interesting thought.  I wonder if I would be better off adding weight to my rafter chins, or just progressing with less fingers (in various combinations so as to hit all fingers equally.)

I have wondered about a one armed rafter chin.  It seems impossible, but I believe that someday I will do it.  Imagine using the finger progression idea with that!  Imagine a (very unlikely, but nothing is impossible) one finger and thumb one arm rafter chin?

I've done fingertip pull-ups with less than all of my fingers on a door frame that extends out less than half of my finger tips.  I do that though, because I am afraid that the extra weight would rip the frame down.

For a long time, I have dreamt of being a master of my bodyweight.  This means being able to move my body in anyway I want, with any finger I want.  I would like by the end of this year to be at least doing slow negatives with one arm handstand push-ups, if not doing full reps.  Those impress me more than rafter chin-ups and one armed pull/chin-ups.  But that may only be because I am able to do them.

I used to find it absolutely incredible when someone could close my #1 gripper and I was impressed when someone could close my trainer (I carried them everywhere.)  Thats because when I first started, I couldn't close the Trainer.  Now, I can close the master without too much difficulty.  So a master close won't really impress me that much anymore either.  Same with planche push-ups.  I used to think that anyone who could do a planche was VERY strong! I've only met one other person who can do a planche, and he IS very strong.  And I thought a planche push-up was unbelievable, then when I could finally do a planche push-up, I was instantly no longer impressed by them.

Its kind of interesting to think about how ones perspective changes as they progress through life.

Another weird thing, this is a long post.  I wasn't focused in writing it.  It became a physical manifestation of my thoughts as they were running through my head.  While definetely not grip related, at least that gives you something strange to ponder, hehe.

Michael Falkov

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