Functional Hand Strength

Functional Hand Strength

John Wood's Blog of hard training and unusual strength development


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2.13.2008

Slow it Down for Big Gains

One simple way to increase the intensity of your workout is is to slow the movements down and get the most out of each rep.

Sometimes what happens is that over the course of several workouts, the struggle to get "just one more rep" leads to a little bit of cheating here and there.

I dont necessarily think cheating is a bad thing, it actually can be used productively in some situations but theres a reason why the skinny kid at your gym
who does nothing but "bellytoss" benchpresses and cheat curls with a 25 lb. dumbbell ever gets any bigger.

You see, the goal of a workout is to put a certain kind of stress on your muscles. Your muscles then adapt to this stress and grow stronger.

If you "cheat" in certain movements, it creates either momentum, (which takes the stress off the muscles) or an adjustment in form (which allows for greater
weight to be used, albeit without a corresponding increase in strength)

In either case, muscle growth will not occur, or if it does, not in an appreciable degree.

Often times the purpose of increasing bar speed is taught because it gets the bar through the sticking point into amore favorable leverage position.

Now, Im not saying you have to move at a snail's pace here either, just an extra count or two will be fine, and you would be very surprised at what a difference
this can make.

This technique works especially well for hand grippers since the strength curve of the spring resistance is so steep.

Take a gripper that you think is pretty easy, and I suggest erring on the lighter side (Even if you can close a #3 like me, grab a #1) Heck, even the Guide or Sport will do.

Then, using your normal form, squeeeeeze as needed, but take at least a good second longer than usual and get a good overcrush when the handles touch. Then let the handles out slowly and repeat.

If you work up to closing a #3 like this, you'll be one scary person.

You'll find that even with an easy gripper, this is quite a challenge, and the soreness that you will experience the next day will let youknow youre on the right track.

Like I said, this technique can be used with a number of exercises, -- get the most out of every rep.

Train hard,
John Wood

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