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The Power of a Strong Handshake

Whether you realize it or not, your hands reveal many things about you. A good firm handshake is a universal sign of strength and assuredness which is why everyone (yes, you too ladies.) should have one. A firm (but not crushing) handshake is a sign of mutual respect from both parties. It immediately sets the tone for any meeting. In fact, when John F. Kennedy was running for president of the United States he commissioned a study to determine the most effective handshake.

Having strong hands, however, does NOT give you the right to crush the life out of someone else's hands when you first meet. I'm sure we've all had that experience at some point and it sure isn't fun.

hand shake

It is fun though, when you shake hands with some "punk" who thinks he is going to show you how strong his hands really are.

It is only then that I like to give em' "the crusher." The look on their faces is always priceless when they realize they are actually shaking hands with a vise. This only happens on rare occasions of course, but when it does happen, having a crusher grip really comes in handy.

Remember: use your powers only for good, not evil.

Conversely, a "weak" handshake is a great way to make a memorable impression -- a really bad one. Back when I was being recruited for college football, one of the coaches who came in to talk to me had an awful "dead fish" hand shake. While I must have shaken the hands of hundred of coaches during that whole recruiting process, that guy stands out for that reason.

I'm sure many of you have had the same experience with that kind of thing too.

Whether you were on the other side of a limp handshake or a bone crusher, you probably weren't feeling positive about the other person when it happened. Again, a solid handshake can make all the difference.

Not too long ago, I was talking with my good friend Aaron McKenzie. Aaron is a school teacher down in North Carolina and decided to take up grip training after seeing my presentation at a seminar. When he got back home, he told his students about me:
"...they were more impressed when I told them you were a nice guy and not a jerk, and that you didn't try to hurt anyone to impress them with your strength, even though you could have easily hurt me when you shook my hand. I could tell that made the kids think about how they treat other people, something that is not easy to get across to them. I told them that you are an example of "just because you CAN hurt someone, that doesn't give you the right to and people are more impressed when you treat them with respect."
Thanks to Aaron, these kids will get a head start on learning many great life lessons.

Mark H. Berry, one of strength training's best writers, wrote extensively on the importance of a strong handshake in chapter 15 of his wonderful book PHYSICAL TRAINING SIMPLIFIED - The Complete Science of Muscular Development. His advice was built around common sense, basic exercises, and hard work, making his training routines just as effective today as they were almost a century ago when they were first written. Mark echoes these sentiments exactly:
"Hand shakes, or rather the manner in which men grip your hand, may have something to do with the subconscious mind and character analysis. I am about convinced it denotes more in that way than it does the physical strength of the one who grips with you. Some of the strongest men hardly clasp your hand, and when referring to men of strength, I don't just mean weight lifters, but farmers, mechanics, and others possessing unusual strength. On the other hand, a lot of fellows who wish they were unusually strong cultivate a nut cracker grip and try to pulverize the hand of everyone whom they meet.

I recall quite a few of this type who grab quickly and put everything they have into the one effort to subdue the one they are greeting. A hand clasp can be firm, warm and welcoming without trying to prove you are the strongest man on earth. Probably the psycho-analysts could give an explanation of this; it may be that some individuals fear others will not consider them extraordinarily strong, so they with to remove all doubts in the first offensive."
Of course, when it comes to Athletics, you are going to want to have the most brutally strong pair of hands you can build - but that is another story.

For more information on how to build a firm hand shake, check out our training equipment.
hand shake



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