Grip Training - Lifting the Inch Replica Dumbbell IV

Adjusting the distance.

Inch replica starting position
Inch replica starting position.
In the last article on Lifting the Inch Dumbbell, I looked at varying the percentage of 1-rep maximum, and the speed of the repetitions we executed. This variety will keep your grip workouts interesting, and keep the increases in strength coming.


This time, I'd like to discuss varying the distance we pull the implements. There is a correlation between how long (time) the effort will last and how far (distance) you will have to pull the implement in order to deadlift it from the floor to the fully locked out position. For me, this distance is about 2.5 feet. The time will vary depending on how I am feeling on the given day, but for me, it takes bout 1 full second to pull the inch to lockout.

In order to effectively train to lift the inch from the floor to lockout, your training should reflect that distance.

Loadable Dumbbells and Shot Loadable Trainers




A loadable dumbbell is excellent for replicating the distance you have to pull the Inch. Load the dumbbell with 25-pound plates in order to most accurately replicate the height of the dumbbell at the starting point on the floor. As you can see, the handle sits at nearly the same height when the dumbbell is loaded with 25's. If you load it with 35's or 45's the handle will sit higher, and the length of your pull will be shorter.


Loading 25's instead of the larger plates also ensures that the edges of the plates will not brush against your forearm as the implement tilts when you lift. Called bracing, this leaning of the weight will make the lift easier and make the effectiveness of the lift reduced.

Shot-loadable Inch Trainers

Shot-loadable Inch Trainers will also accurately imitate the pull length of the Inch Dumbbell, because their size and shape is patterned very closely after the design of the original Inch Dumbbell. They do fall somewhat short on the complete simulation of the lift however, because the shot tends to settle and not move when you lift the implement. Because the implement does not try to spin out of your hand, you do not get an accurate display of the grip-ripping action that the Inch Dumbbell creates.

Rolling Thunder



The pull distance is one way the Rolling Thunder falls short for training to lift the Inch Dumbbell. The path over which one pulls the Rolling Thunder is abbreviated in comparison to a lift on the Inch Dumbbell, a loadable dumbbell or a shot loadable replica. When lifting the Rolling Thunder, you start in a nearly locked out position. In contrast, the starting position for lifting the Inch Dumbbell is bent over. While the stimulus you get from the handle is fairly accurate due to its large size and its rotating nature, the duration of effort over the distance is just not there.

This is not to say that the Rolling Thunder should not be used as a method for training to lift the Inch Dumbbell. You can easily modify the kinetics of the Rolling Thunder lift so that it more closely resembles the pulling path of the Inch Dumbbell.



One thing you can do to change the Rolling Thunder lift is to reduce the length of the loading pin you use, or completely eliminate it altogether. Now, your starting position will be much lower and the path you pull to lockout will be much longer.



You can make the starting position in the Rolling Thunder lift very low by stringing a chain through the center hole of the plates and locking it in place with an empty dumbbell handle on the bottom and a spare nail through the top. The v-shaped bottom of the Rolling Thunder will go between the two lengths of chain and beneath the nail.



Using a non-rigid loading device like the chain will bring about more movement and sway in the lift, which can also help you get used to the Inch Dumbbell trying to rip out of your grasp. The Rolling Thunder alone does this somewhat, but the action is more controlled than the Inch Dumbbell itself.

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Extension of the Movement - Increased Pull Path

One technique we use at Diesel Crew to make or lifts more demanding is what we call Extension of the Movement. Making your training lifts more demanding will make your basic lift easier to complete when you go back to it.

There are many ways to make a lift more difficult. One way is by increasing the distance you have to pull an implement.

Let's take the loadable dumbbell as an example. We have already established that if we do not have an Inch Replica, we should use something that is very close to it to train as effectively as we can for the real thing. The Loadable Dumbbell has the thick handle we need in order to simulate the handle of the Inch. We load it with 25's so that we can avoid bracing. We should check to be sure that the weights are loaded as tightly as possible. If the weights are loaded loosely, they will rotate freely and you will lose the grip-ripping effect that the Inch Dumbbell throws at you. We have now created an implement that simulates the Inch Replica Dumbbell very well, but of course it is not perfect.



We can introduce another layer of difficulty by pulling off blocks. The increased range of motion combined with making the implement as accurate as we can will increase our effort levels and help us become better prepared for attempting to lift the real thing.

Pulling from boxes can also be used to make the Rolling Thunder more closely resemble the pull path of the Inch Dumbbell, if you do not want to mess with the chain set-up that we saw above.

Extension of the Movement - Increased Pull Path

Another way I like to incorporate Extension of the Movement is by using giant rubber bands. Two great sources for rubber bands of this sort are and


I start out by wrapping the band around one foot.


Next, I even out the bands so they are flat.


I string the Rolling Thunder over the bands and stick my other foot inside both bands.


Once the Rolling Thunder is in the center of the bands, you are ready to pull.


Bands are great for what is called Accommodating Resistance. Simply put, the further you pull, the harder the lift gets. Believe me, at lockout it feels like you're pulling almost 200 pounds.

At the beginning of this series, we started out learning about the implements we could use to simulate the Inch Dumbbell. Now we know several methods for varying the load and speed we move these implements, and we know how we can kinetically alter the pull path of these implements. Our training arsenal is growing.

It will grow more next time when we see what other ways we can use these implements to prepare us for battle with the inch.

Napalm's Corner

Also in this series :

Jedd 'Napalm' Johnson

Jedd 'Napalm' Johnson is a name synonymous with grip strength, and he has been training, sharing and competing with these skills for many, many years.

To acquire some serious grip strength yourself, head over to The Grip Authority and check out his superb ebooks and DVDs.

One of our favourites - Fixing Elbow Pain - takes a very thorough look at banishing elbow injuries completely. If you've ever experienced something like Tennis Elbow or Golfer's Elbow, you'll understand just how incredible that is. Fantastic.

Jedd blogs over at The Diesel Crew, and can also be found on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Swing by.

Like this? Check out :

Setting Up A Home Gym.

Ready to get started? Great.

DIY Equipment Ideas.

Stuck for ideas? Try these.

70 of the Best : 7 Years of Straight to the Bar.

This site - Straight to the Bar - has been around for an incredible 7 years (the first post was on Jan 17th, 2004), and to say I'm grateful is a gross understatement.

Thank you.

Westside Dead Lift Secrets.

This review looks at the 2003 DVD edition of the Deadlift Secrets offering, which is an updated version of its early '90s predecessor. Whilst there has been a significant amount of change to some aspects of the Westside approach, the fundamentals remain constant and this DVD helps to show just how important those fundamental concepts are.

Of course, if you enjoyed these, I'd highly recommend grabbing the Strength & Fitness Newsletter. Delivered weekly, and absolutely free.

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