Straight to the Bar

All Things Strength

HELPING YOU GET STRONGER SINCE 2004

Tearing A License Plate
Filed In : Articles | featured

Tear it up

Tear it up.

First off let’s talk about safety, as this is a primary concern when dealing with a feat such as this. The potential for serious injury surrounds this feat – I speak from first hand experience. The most severe injury I have sustained thus far from tearing a plate is a cut which ran from just below my pinky finger all the way to my elbow.


When attempting this, it is essential to take proper precautions to protect yourself. First, you’ll want to get a pair of heavy suede work gloves with an extended cuff. As the tear is initiated, the sides of the hand and the wrist are extremely vulnerable to being sliced with the sharp, jagged edge of the plate. Second, it is highly advisable to wear a some sort of long sleeve work shirt or jacket that is constructed of a cut resistant material. If something does not go as expected, the arms can receive a nasty slash as you “drive” through to complete the tear. Next, you will want to clean the plate. Foreign matter such as oil residue, mud, and even light accumulation of “road dirt” can make for a more slippery surface and add a higher potential for injury.

Now that we have ourselves protected, it’s time to grab the plate. I personally like to tear plates at chest level, and that is the method I am going to discuss. As a dry run without a plate, place your dominant hand in a hammer style grip. Place the pinky side of that hand just above the bottom of the sternum. Now place the other fist in the same manner below the dominant one so you have the thumb side of the non-dominant and the pinky side of the dominant meeting. Squeeze as hard as you can and push your hands in opposite directions with the top hand going slightly upward and the bottom hand going slightly downward. If you push straight through, the potential for being cut dramatically increases.

Shredded

Shredded.

Since we have the basic technique down, lets grip up on a plate. With the same hand positioning as stated above, grip the top edge of the license plate while paying extra attention to the placement of the thumbs. You do not want your thumbs wrapped around the plate. Rather, the grip desired is more of a pinch. The object is to pin the plate between your thumb pad / palm area and your finger tips. If you wrap your thumbs around the plate, you will most likely bend them backwards against the joint. I like to place the top edge of the plate about an inch below where the fingers meet the palm, that way the plate gets very firmly anchored. Next, squeeze as hard as you can. You do not want that plate slipping out of your grip when you begin to add the force needed to initiate the tear. If it slips, again, there is a potential of being cut on the hand, wrist, and/or arm if you are not properly protected. Apply the power from your hands, wrists, arms, shoulders, and chest and tear the plate in two.

Tearing a license plate is a very visual feat of strength, and for sure, a crowd favorite. It is also a great upper body work-out and a different way to tax the hands for increased strength.

For anyone who is interested in attempting this, or any other of the traditional oldetime feats of strength, please think of your safety first and foremost so you can all come back to train another day.

What's This?

Straight to the Bar is the online home of fitness enthusiast Scott Bird, and looks at the many training approaches, essential techniques, uncommon exercises and superb equipment to help you become as strong as humanly possible. In short, this site is the home of all things strength.

images of strength

Strong.

Want to see (and learn) more Feats of Strength like this? Dive in.

Just Joined Us? Try These.

There are some incredible writers on the team here. To give you an idea, check these out :

If you enjoyed these, check out the complete ‘Best Of Straight to the Bar‘ list. Fantastic.

setting up a home gym?

If you’re getting ready to put together a solid Home Gym (fantastic thing), here’s how.

For more, swing by the full guide. Absolutely free.

And of course, you’ll find everything you need over in the SttB Strength Store. Massive range.

Ever Tried Kettlebells?

If you’ve seen people using them but never taken the plunge yourself, here are the ones I use personally. You can also pick up a book/DVD/course if you want to learn how to put them to work.

Ready To Learn Even More?

I love learning new skills, and the many seminars & workshops available are a great way to do that. If you’re looking for a specific type of workshop nearby, check out the ones on Dragon Door. Great mix of kettlebell and calisthenics-based offerings.

The Precision Nutrition Certification Program

The Precision Nutrition Certification Program

The Precision Nutrition Certification Program.

If you’re a fitness professional and love the Precision Nutrition approach, check out their certification offering. To say it’s comprehensive is an understatement.

Wherever You Are, We Are.

In addition to the main site, you can share your strength-training passion with a like-minded community on :

Wherever you like to hang out, get your regular dose of strength. Straight to the Bar.