If you read my web page on hand grippers, the author wrote: "A little realized fact about hand strength is thumb strength. Thumb strength is vital to all forms of hand strength, even when closing grippers. If you're going to have strong hands then you'll need strong thumbs and the way to get strong thumbs is to work your pinch grip."
The pinch grip is an excellent way to build thumb strength. Any grasping of thick objects brings your thumb strength into play. Try and pinch grip two or three different sized objects as this will give you a good overall grip.
If you want to know everything there is to know about hand strength, get John Brookfield’s excellent book, Mastery of Hand Strength, Revised Edition This book inspired me to make the homemade pinch grip blocks below.
Homemade pinch grip block #1 is made out of a 4-1/2" long 2 x 4, with two eye hooks attached:
You can attach the block using a spring hook (carabineer) to your lower cable on your high/low pulley machine for resistance. Or, attach the block to power hooks connected to a dumbbell; or to a chain looped threw a weight plate(s).
To make this block thicker (and adjustable) I cut two 3/4" thick pieces of plywood to the same size as the 2 x 4 (3-1/2” x 4-1/2”). Then just pinch the boards together and lift.
To get even a wider grip, just grasp the end of the 2 x 4:
Or turn it and grip the long end of the 2 x 4:
This set up will give you grip widths of 1-1/2”; 2-1/4”; 3”; 3-1/2”; and 4-1/2”.
Tossing a weighted block from hand to hand is one of the best exercises for the grip, but with the weight hanging from my homemade pinch grip above, it would swing too much when tossed, so I came up with this homemade pinch grip block #2:
This block is attached to an Ironmaster Quick Lock Adjustable Dumbbell, which works really well for pinch grip training because you can adjust the weight in 2.5lb increments. You have to work your way up in weight slowly with this kind of training.
The 2 x 6 board is 8 inches long, and I rounded the corners to get rid of the sharp edges. The board attaches to the Ironmaster’s using two, #2 conduit hangers for 1” conduit; then I attached a strip of 3/4" plywood between the hangers to keep them from turning. Everything is attached using 2-1/2” long wood screws with washers.
The board easily attaches to the dumbbell handle; just tighten the screws finger tight and you’re ready to toss the dumbbell from hand to hand!
Don’t forget to pick up a pinch grip block after you set down your hand grippers. Individual finger strength is desirable in many sports such as martial arts and rock climbing. A strong all around grip will help you hold onto a barbell, as well as give you a firm hand shake.
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