Today T-Whatever released a new article titled How Tall Guys Get Jacked by Jimmy Smith. The article is full of tips to help us ectomorphs lift more weight in the gym. Some of the better tips include:
- “Keep the damn reps low” – AMEN!
- Play with half-reps.
- When doing bench presses, use a more narrow grip to avoid having your elbows flare out.
As good as the tips are, I feel the author missed the obvious one. What I have discovered in my 15 years of lifting is the primary failure point to getting stronger is grip strength. The tall lanky lifter has long arms and small wrists. Without a strong grip, the ectomorph will have major difficulty getting stronger.
Years ago I was fortunate to run across the company IronMind. They specialize in grip strength and other strongman-like equipment. They have divided hand strength into 5 areas.
- Crushing grip – This is the classic handshake squeeze.
- Pinching grip – Thumb pressing strength.
- Open hand (supporting) – How strong is the hand without clenching?
- Extensors – How strong are the fingers when resistance prevents them from extending?
- Wrist strength – Strong wrists are critical to lifting heavy weights safely.
The most important two for us are crushing grip and wrist strength. For crushing grip, I highly recommend getting a Captains of Crush by Ironmind. The typical office hand gripper is only 25-35 pounds of pressure. Not enough to build any real hand strength. The Captains of Crush are for those that are serious about improving their grip strength.
|Captains of Crush Model||Pounds|
Captains of Crush Hand Gripper – No. 1
I own the #1 and it took me almost a year before I could close it end-to-end in either hand. Soon I will be getting the #1.5. Only 5 people on the planet have ever closed the #4. In addition to the hand gripper, there are many ways to increase your hand strength. John Brookfield wrote two great books on the topic. I own them both.
Mastery of Hand Strength, Revised Edition by John Brookfield
The Grip Master’s Manual by John Brookfield
I was also fortunate enough to meet John Brookfield at the Arnold Expo in 2004.
To build forearm and wrist strength, I highly recommend doing Farmers Walks. A Farmers Walk is when you grab a pair of heavy dumbbells and go for a walk. The heavier the dumbbell, the shorter the walk. Back in California, I used to put a 120-pound dumbbell in each hand and walk to the end of the driveway and back. I did that 10 times.
Personal trainers will tell you to wear gloves or use straps. Nonsense. Read John Brookfield. Get a Captains of Crush gripper and do Farmers Walks. In no time, you’ll be benching more and doing weighted pull-ups.