This month, Run To Win and Straight to the Bar will be looking at the many possibilities when it comes to home-made training equipment. To kick things off, I’ll be investigating several ways to keep your hands and forearms in great condition – DIY Grip Tools.
As you may have gathered, I love home-made exercise equipment. This is perhaps most evident when it comes to grip training – definitely a passion. Here, then, are instructions for making your own hand, wrist and grip tools.
Hands and fingers
If you’ve ever watched a rock climber at work – or performed a bit of climbing yourself – you’ll appreciate just how strong the hands and fingers need to be. Accordingly, several items from climbers’ training routines are featured here. Enjoy.
Invented by Wolfgang Güllich, the Campus board is a superb piece of training equipment. The video shows it in action; Metolius is definitely the place to go when it comes to making one. Full instructions on construction and use – and they’ll even sell you the stuff if needed.
Rice and a bowl
This is about as simple as it gets. Rice digs are a great way to toughen up your fingers and hands, and make use of equipment you’ve already got in the kitchen. Grab a large bowl, half fill it with rice; plunge your hands in. Repeat.
Note : if the rice doesn’t present enough of a challenge, try using sand, lead shot or any other cheap, granular material. Oh, and don’t be tempted to eat the stuff afterwards.
Ever tried holding a pile of bricks by pinch-gripping the bottom one? Ironmind’s Stacker performs the same task; letting you adjust the weight easily in small increments. If your welding skills are OK, knock up your own. This video shows a home-made version in action.
Horizontal Pinch Device
This surely rates as the simplest piece of grip equipment I’ve ever constructed; consisting solely of two nuts, two bolts and a length of chain (perhaps 2′ or 3′).
One end of the chain is looped through a plate, and ‘tied off‘ using one of the nut+bolt pairs. The other end of the chain is passed through another plate, and held there using the second nut+bolt. The picture at the top of this article show it in use.
This was one of the first pieces of equipment I made when I started working out. Although there are several variations possible, the rack-mounted version over on Dave Draper’s site is perhaps my favourite.
Clubs are great things. Although they’re one of the few items I tend to buy rather than make, there have been several attempts at constructing the perfect home-made equivalent.
Top of the list is Fightraining’s sand-filled approach. Details here. An alternative is demonstrated in the video below.
Although it isn’t always regarded as a piece of grip equipment, there’s no doubt that a dose of sandbag training will put your fingers, hands and forearms to the test. Of course there are several ways to construct these; here’s how I make mine.
If you happen to have a fitness ball lying around, here’s a great use for it. Over to Ross Enamait.
Altering existing equipment
One of the quickest ways to alter your existing equipment – so as to increase the level of grip work involved – is to fatten up the handles. This has an instant impact, and applies to dumbbell and barbell handles, and chinning bars.
To see just one way to do this, take a look at my own fattened-up chinning bar. Good fun.
Of course there are many, many other ways to enhance your grip training. What are some of your favourite pieces of home-made grip equipment?