A great way to get a little grip work.

I think I've discovered a new word for Webster's Dictionary: GripWalking. My word processor doesn't like it. Well for a number of years carrying small (or large) weights for distance has been used by strength enthusiasts. The "Farmers Walk" is a familiar strongman (300+ lbs) exercise, although I have heard of carrying a "Fat Man" Blob (end of a 100 lb Roundhead 50+ lbs) about 91 feet. As hunter-gatherers 50,000 yrs ago we certainly carried spears and rocks as weapons, so we're made to do this.

That's a bit much for my term GripWalking. I'm talking about < 15 lbs in one hand at a time, switching hands, and walking a couple of miles. Small dumbbells <5 lbs have been used to walk with, although they are held in the usual fashion not requiring a persistent grip effort.

The most common form is to carry 1 or 2 lbs in each hand, not much for gripping. If you bump up the weight (5 to 10 lbs), use a round object that requires grip effort, now you're talking about GripWalking. I've started this after training with many grip tools: hand crushers up to 250#, Blobs, plates sideways, and balls 3" to 5". Various GripWalking objects are seen in this photo:

The steel ball bearings are what I use but are somewhat pricey. They are also used for massage of sore muscles. I started with a 3.5" ball bearing @ 6.4 lbs and have worked up to a 4" @ 9.5 lbs. I have a 5" @ 18.5 lbs, but can't hold it long enough, establishing my limits for GripWalking. Here's what I do normally:

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Other round objects that are cheap to make (see photo):

Second hand sports stores like Play-It-Again, are goldmines for cheap used dumbbells, kettlebells, plates, etc. Balls both wooden and steel must be sought on the Web, although 3" croquet balls are easy to get. Junkyards may yield other odd objects.

You should see your grip improve when you try the grippers or heavier blobs. Adding weight also burns more calories as carrying light dumbbells, so you've benefitted twice from the same exercise!!

Dan Hardisky

Dan Hardisky is a long time fan of the iron, and an author for Straight to the Bar.

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