In the last part of this series, we looked at the pull path of the various implements we can use to mimic the Inch Dumbbell and ways to modify those pull paths for the most benefit towards increasing our thick bar strength.
Most people will find that after a short time of training with the Inch, they will be able to break it off the ground a few inches, but it will soon tear their fingers open and come crashing to the ground. The rotation of the globe-shaped bells is what causes this.
When I first started training with the Inch, I found a few ways to reduce this rotation, so that I could increase the time I was holding the Inch aloft, and these techniques enabled me to eventually be able to pull it to lockout.
One way to defeat the rotation of the bells in the initial portion of the lift is to eliminate it all together by grabbing the bell with two hands. With a hand on either side of the handle, there is no rotation and you can pull it all the way to lockout.
From this position, you can do one of two things, either Fight it or Ride it down.
When you Fight the Inch, you try to hold it at lockout for as long as possible and when the rotation starts again, you try to fight it and hold it there as long as you can until finally it overcomes your holding strength and tears completely out of your hand. This fighting will build your endurance and you will notice that you will become more confident with the Inch in that position and your strength will increase, especially the strength in the tips of your fingers and thumb as you try to dig your finger and thumb tips into the handle. The feeling you get after several Fight attempts is a peculiar one. Not much will stress the fingertips like a thick dumbbell ripping out of your grip.
The other option is to Ride it down. This one isn’t so hard on your fingertips. Instead of battling at lockout until it tears out of your fingers, you will pull the inch to lockout and then glide down with it as it rips out of your hand.
Normally in my training, I will perform three sets of three sets in the Fighting version of these pulls. By then my fingers feel pretty worn out, so then I move on to the Riding version. I can perform several more sets of three per hand in the Riding version. I usually do the Fight attempts alone with no other grip training going on. Then when I begin to tire, I shift to the Rides and since they are not as hard on the fingers, I might also throw in some other grip training like a wrist or thumb exercise.
Another way to kill the rotation of the Inch is to pull it to lockout and then deliberately brace it against your thigh. If you have trouble bracing and holding it at parallel, try first propping it up at an angle and the gradually allowing it to drop down to parallel. It won’t be long and you will no longer have to angle it.
If you are having difficulty holding it at lockout with only one bell braced, you can also try bracing both bells on your thigh.
These simple ways to decrease the rotation of the bells may be just what you need to break through the plateaus you have right now in your Inch training. Try them out today.
Also in this series :