Recently, courtesy of a shoulder injury (I got a little over-zealous in my quest for the One Armed Chin-up), I rediscovered grip training. For one reason or another, grip training - and the training of hand strength in general - was always left until last, and was anything but structured. Finally I had a bit of free time to address that.
Just as I started scouring the web for resources on all things hand strength, the Diesel Crew's Bending eBook appeared. As you'll see, this is a truly amazing work.
First up is the question 'Why in the hell would I want to bend nails?'
The answer - as Jedd details in the book - is more than just 'it's great fun'. There are a lot of specific strength benefits that will certainly help other areas of your lifting. This is far more than just training your hands.
The book details all of the areas vital to anyone new to the sport of bending, as well as a great deal of information that should keep even seasoned professionals off the streets. Covered are :
Types of Bending
The type of bending is largely defined by the length of the item being bent, and whether or not it is braced in the process. This book focuses on the unbraced bending of short (less than 8-10") bars and nails. This is certainly a challenging (and fun) area.
There are a couple of things that will make your life much, much easier if you are new to this uncommon pastime. After clarifying a number of the more opaque terms used in bending (such as CRS, DO and Driver Hand), the book addresses two key questions :
What factors determine how easy it will be to bend something?
What equipment will you need?
The answers to these are guaranteed to make your next visit to the hardware store a whole lot more fun.
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Although any number of items are ready for the bending treatment (including wrenches and frying pans), perhaps the simplest (and cheapest) ones to start with are nails and bolts. There are also packages of bending stock available from companies such as Ironmind - think of these as particularly strong headless nails and bolts which are manufactured to high tolerances and ready for competition.
Jedd details the various types of nails, graded bolts and bending stock available. These come in a number of forms and are created for both common and specialist uses - you'll probably notice quite a difference between the larger chain and smaller 'mom and pop' stores. This chapter will help you get the most out of both.
Tom Black performing a Crushdown behind the neck.
As with any area of strength training, understanding the preferred technique/s is vital. Not only will it assist you in lifting heavier weights (or, in this case, bending a stronger nail or bolt) and help you to minimise injuries; it will aid you in determining weaknesses and improving them accordingly.
For bending, there are two categories of techniques to be aware of. The first of these relates to the bending of the object itself (double overhand/underhand, braced/unbraced etc); the second refers to the act of wrapping (winding material about the ends of the nail/bolt in order to minimise injury to your hands).
This book extensively addresses each of these categories, leaving absolutely no uncertainty as to how to reshape an object.
74yo Sri Chinmoy wrist curling a staggering 270lb.
Once you have an idea of your starting point, further chapters discuss the conditioning of your hands, exercises that will greatly assist your bending skills (whether a beginner or professional strongman), injury prevention and numerous resources for purchasing the tools of the trade.
Everything you need to know in order to have some fun transforming otherwise ordinary nails and bolts.
All-in-all it's easily the most comprehensive manual on the subject I've ever seen. Whether you're just starting out or have been bending nails for years, this one is well worth getting. Superb.
Scott Andrew Bird is a writer, photographer and a guy who just loves this stuff. He's been at home in front of a computer for more years than he cares to remember (OK, 31) and is now making amends for years of many mistakes noted in the De-constructing computer guy articles (part 2) on T-Nation.
Stalkers may wish to track his every move via Twitter or Google+; everyone else is cordially invited to hop over to his online home. Enjoy.
Like this? Check out some of their other articles :
Matt Palfrey.If you've been involved with the fitness industry for any length of time, chances are you've thought about setting up your own gym. Perhaps you've already got one.
Either way - how do you promote it? Attract new customers? Learn about what works, and what doesn't?
This week we'll be discussing this area in detail, answering all of the above and a whole lot more. Joining us is Strength & Conditioning Coach Matt Palfrey, together with Personal Trainer (and Strength Athlete) Josh Hewett. Fantastic.
NB : We'd love to hear your questions and comments. If there's a particular subject you'd like Matt and Josh to address, just swing by the event page for this Gymchat (during the discussion itself) and jump in the Q&A.
And if you'd like to point your friends/colleagues to the discussion, just use the 'share' button at the top of that page. The more the merrier.
Thanks again to everyone who watched and sent in questions for the discussion Gymchat 237 - Old-Time Strongman Training [with 'Physical Culture Renaissance Man' Logan Christopher, joined by Personal Trainer (and Strength Athlete) Josh Hewett] - much appreciated. If you haven't seen it yet (or simply want to go over a particular point again), here's the entire video.
Logan Christopher.Old-Time Strongman Training - Phonebook Tearing, Frying Pan Rolling, Kettlebell Juggling and a whole lot more. Love it.
They're certainly uncommon areas: how do you train for them? What are the benefits of these approaches? What sorts of equipment is involved?
This week we'll be discussing the entire field of Old-Time Strength in obsessive detail. Joining us is 'Physical Culture Renaissance Man' Logan Christopher, together with Personal Trainer (and Strength Athlete) Josh Hewett. Fantastic.
If you've got questions/comments for Logan or Josh, just swing by the event page for this Gymchat. And if you'd like to point your friends/colleagues to the discussion, just use the 'share' button at the top of that page. The more the merrier.
Thanks again to everyone who watched and sent in questions for the discussion Gymchat 236 - Programming for Strength vs Hypertrophy [with Strength Coach Jason Paris, joined by Personal Trainer (and Strength Athlete) Josh Hewett] - much appreciated. If you haven't seen it yet (or simply want to go over a particular point again), here's the entire video.
Jason Paris.How do you train to maximise strength, rather than size? You'll always achieve a certain amount of each; but how do you focus on one or the other?
This week we'll be discussing this area in detail, explaining exactly how to prioritise either one - or train for a mix of the two. Tackling this is Strength Coach Jason Paris, joined by Personal Trainer (and Strength Athlete) Josh Hewett. Fantastic.
If you've got questions/comments for Jason or Josh, just swing by the event page for this Gymchat. And if you'd like to point your friends/colleagues to the discussion, just use the 'share' button at the top of that page. The more the merrier.
Görner the Mighty.This is one of the books that Logan mentioned in the Gymchat last week - Görner the Mighty. Good stuff.
Although I was lucky enough to read the original book many years ago, I'm extremely keen to dive in to this version - the 2012 reprint - as soon as possible. I suspect that things will look quite different now; after training for a number of years.
Görner the Mighty.
If you ever wake up with that 'just run over by a truck' feeling, you need a copy of Tim Hull's Functional Correction Manual. Not only will it help you to locate and repair the problem, it'll help prevent it happening in the future.
When it comes to body transformation - whether that's an increase in strength, packing on a bit of muscle or losing a bit of excess fat - this is the perfect place to start. Dr Berardi's Precision Nutrition.
If you've ever watched a Bruce Lee film and marveled at his strength, speed, agility, endurance, flexibility or muscularity, this book should take pride of place in your collection. Unlike many other writings covering everything from Lee's training methods to nutrition, this book is based not on the recollections of people around him; but on Lee's own notes. Brilliant.
For a full list of what we're reading and watching at the moment, just head over to the Recommended Books & DVDs page. See you there.