Block weight lifting is a form of pinch grip lifting. It is also a cheap version of the “Blob“. A Blob is the end or head of a York dumbbell that has been cut off the handle. The only difference between the Blob and Block weights is the block weight is cut off of a hex dumbbell instead of a York dumbbell. Since there are several forms of block weights and blobs out there, I will only be talking about the hex dumbbell version.
Since you may not want to cut up your good dumbbells, you can go to a garage sale and pick up someone’s old rusted or banged up weights. To make a block weight, simply use a hacksaw to cut off the end of your chosen dumbbell. Make sure to place the hacksaw blade as close to the head of the weight as you can. Ensuring the proper blade placement will prevent excess grinding of any possible raw ends. Be patient because it will take you awhile to get through the handle. At least this will give you a good workout!
Once you finally get through the handle, check the raw edge to see if there are any burrs sticking out. If there are burrs, simply grind them down with a file or bench grinder.
When training with the block weight, you will be using one hand at a time. Your thumb will be the main support while lifting the weight. Your index and middle finger will be the opposing force. Even though your ring finger and pinky can wrap around the weight, they will provide little force for the pinch on this type of weight. Still you will need to use them while you lift the weight. To help prevent slippage, put some chalk on the sides and top of the weight. Remember to chalk your hands up good too. Bend down and pinch the weight, putting the weight deep into the crook of your thumb and index finger. Wrap the rest of your fingers on the other side of the weight and pinch down hard. Stand erect with the weight once you are upright set the weight back down.
It is not a complete lift until you can stand upright and return the weight under control to the ground. You can then switch hands or continue doing reps lifting the block weight if you choose to.
Once you get good with the weight you can do other movements with the block weight as well. For example lift the weight and clean it. Cleaning the block weight will be difficult. Once you bring it up to chest level you must flip your wrist to make the weight face up instead of down. This transition will be tough at first until you get a stronger grip with training. You could also pass the weight back and forth between your hands for some dynamic work or around your back to the other hand. Lastly you can also place the weight on its face and try to grab the block weight by the face. Now for those of us with smaller hands this will be difficult but not impossible. It is much harder to do with a block weight than a blob due to the angles of the weight. Just be sure that when you try this you use a smaller weight first as the strain on your thumb could injury your hand preventing you from training your grip for a while.
Implement block weights into your training and your overall grip strength will go up drastically making you ready for the next challenge. If you’re interested in buying already made block weights or blobs you can go to Gripboard.com and look in the forum for weights that are for sale. Also Sorinex sells some blobs you could pick up as well.
If you have any questions on grip training or other strength training questions feel free to email me at bodybylong AT gmail DOT com.