The World's Best Hand & Grip Strength Training Instruction
Quality Equipment Matters
by Dr. Ken
One of the difficult things in anyone's life is to admit they are
wrong, were wrong, or can possibly be wrong. Another is to
admit that they have benefited or learned not from a teacher, a
coach, an older mentor, but from a peer.
Guys who train with weights tend to think its all right to learn
something from a wizened, experienced old hand but it is
somehow unmanly to learn from someone who is an equal.
When you make as many mistakes as I have in the course of a
lifetime, admitting you're incorrect about something becomes
second nature. As one who has always learned everything the
hardest way possible, it is also not difficult to admit that I have
learned from peers or those younger or less experienced than me.
As one of the "older guys" in the Iron Game, I have been fortunate
to train with and/or correspond regularly with and/or been coached
by and/or been friends with some of the great names in the sport.
Among these I would include Bill Starr, Dan Riley, Ken Mannie,
Hugh Cassiday, the late Pat Casey, Bill Pearl, Bill 'Peanuts' West,
Bob Zuver, the late Joe Don Looney, the late Alvin Roy, Dick
'Smitty' Smith, Jan Dellinger, and others I can't think of now.
Having so many who fall into 'the late' category only emphasizes
my age and experience. One of those who is a peer in age is Kim
Wood, John's father from whom I learned a tremendous amount,
who forced me to reconsider what I was doing in my training and
that of others approximately thirty or thirty-five years ago, and
who continued to serve as a sounding board for training ideas.
Kim has included some commentary on John's site, tidbits that
barely scratch the surface of all he knows about effective training.
One of the things that Kim stated and which made my wife and I
chuckle because it put our age, our experience, and our passion
for training into perspective was the comment, 'I don't know how
many reps I have left but I want to enjoy all of them as much as
Although I see myself and treat myself as I did when I was nineteen
and still expect record performances in the garage or basement, that
just doesn't happen very often as one nears sixty years of age. However,
the attitude that records can be broken remains and the desire and drive
to train as hard as possible never wavers.
I too want to enjoy every rep because I always have and understand the
benefit of doing each rep correctly and passionately so that the reps add
up to a great set and with a few great sets, there grows a great workout
so yes, each rep does matter.
That brings me to equipment. I don't want to go to Home Depot and buy a piece of rope and be forced
to re-wrap it with duct tape every third workout, I want a quality
climbing rope, one that reminds me of the rope climbing I did
over and over during lunch time while in high school in order to get
If I am going to enjoy hanging on the rope as it is attached to the support
pin of my power rack, I am going to do it while grasping
the best piece of rope I can. I might be the only one who feels and
understands and enjoys the difference relative to just any other piece
of manila rope but I'm the one who counts, the only one who counts
when I'm training.
I want thick-handled dumbbells and bars because they make me work
harder and make the workout more productive and for me, more fun.
Kathy and I have been very fortunate and blessed in being able to make
a living but in a lifetime, I have been on both ends of things financially
and even when poor and barely scraping by, I never scrimped on my
training equipment. I might have had little of it but it was all good,
solid, safe, and enjoyable equipment, at least the best I could afford.
We all train for our own reasons and if enjoyment is one of them and
using equipment that is different, more challenging, fascinating, and
inspiring to you makes each rep a bit 'better' than that's what you
should be using.