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Maximizing Pull-Up Strength...
John Peterson John Peterson is offline
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12-02-2010, 08:27 PM
Hey Friends,

A man e-mailed me asking, "John, what is the fastest way to develop High Volume Pull-Up strength? Would it be through high repetition sets of 'the Milo'?"

Answer: first and foremost high volume 'Chins' require a super human grip. Without it you'll never approach high volume sets of 20 or more. So prerequisite number one is to develop your grip. Here are the best exercises to do it. (This is a chapter from my new book.)

Get a Grip--How to Develop Powerful Fingers, Wrists & Forearms

I'm sure that many of you are seriously considering the purchase of a set of Warrior Power T's. Truth is, if you're serious about achieving the absolute limit of functional strength that can be applied to sport, as well as developing a set of forearms like Popeye's and a grip of steel you could not do better. But here's the deal, although Warrior Power T's develop a super human grip and create a level of full body strength and fitness that must be seen and felt in order to be believed, the fact is you must already have a strong grip in order to begin training with them. If you don't, you won't be able to use them to your best advantage. But don't despair. This next series of exercises is especially for you.

Super Forearm Builders (Spinich is optional but highly recommended)

The importance of strong fingers, a strong wrist and a powerful grip cannot be over emphasized and because of that fact I have made it a top priority for you and an intregal part of Transformetrics Physical Culture Training System. In fact, your success at all raquet sports, golf, baseball, football, archery, boxing, wrestling, and even rock climbing will be determined to a great extent by the strength of your grip. The same is also true for every day life activities whether you are playing the piano, drums or guitar, shoveling snow, carrying in three bags of groceries, or opening a stubborn jar. Bottom line: you need and want strong fingers, a strong wrist, and a world class grip because it will make every activity you do easier and more rewarding. With the foregoing in mind I am presenting to you the best exercises ever devised for quickly and safely developing the wrist, fingers and forearms. After a few weeks of conscientious practice and application you will be truly amazed at the increased strength, dexterity and endurance you will possess from these simple movements.
Here are the exercises; get to work and you will have a grip of steel.

EXERCISE 1—Close your hands into tight fists. Extend your arms forward straight from the shoulder to full extension. Now turn your fists inwards and downwards as far as they can be turned (the muscles of the forearm will be powerfully contracted). At this point, suddenly and with great force open your hands flinging the fingers as far open as is possible. Hold for a count of "one thousand and one, one thousand and two" and then immediately regain the tight fists and flexed wrist position. Continue for twenty repetitions contracting and opening as powerfully as you can.

EXERCISE 2—Perform the same exercise as above only this time bend and straighten the wrist only while flexing the muscles of the forearms as powerfully as possible and forego flinging the fingers open. Perform twenty repetitions for each hand.

EXERCISE 3—Repeat both of the above exercises, alternating from hand to hand rather than performing both simultaneously. This is a great exercise for developing coordination as well as finger, wrist and forearm strength. Ten additional reps with each hand or until the muscles are fatigued.

EXERCISE 4—Bend the right fist inwards toward the left as far as you can. Now grasp the fist with the left hand and try to extend the right fist as far to the right as you possibly can against powerful resistance provided by the left hand. Perform ten repetitions.

EXERCISE 5—Perform the same exercise as above by switching hands and providing resistance with right hand for left fist. Make the exercise as poweerful as possible. Perform ten repetitions.

EXERCISE 6—Flexing the right wrist, turn the right fist as far to the right as possible so that it is facing outwards from the body. Now grasp the back of your right fist with your left hand and try to pull the right fist toward the left (that is inward) while powerfully resisting with your right wrist. Ten powerful repetitions are all that is necessary.

EXERCISE 7—Perform the same exercise as above with left fist facing outward away from the body as far as possible and use the right hand to provide resistance in pulling toward the right or inwards while powerfully resisting with the left wrist. Once again, ten repetitions against powerful resistance are all that is necessary.

EXERCISE 8—With right hand in tight fist and right wrist flexed upward as far as possible, grasp the right fist with the left hand and try to pull it downward while powerfully resisting the downward pull with the right wrist. Ten intense repetitions are all that is necessary.

EXERCISE 9—Same exercise as above only with left fist flexed upward at the wrist and right hand providing downward resistance. Make the exercise as vigorous as possible for ten repetitions.

EXERCISE 10—With right hand in tight fist flexed downward as far as possible, grasp the back of the right wrist with the left hand and provide powerful resistance while powerfully extending the right wrist back and up. Ten intense repetitions are all that is necessary.

EXERCISE 11—Same exercise as above with left fist flexed down at the wrist and right hand providing powerful resistance. Perform ten powerful repetitions.

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John Peterson John Peterson is offline
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12-02-2010, 08:33 PM
Maximizing Pull-Up Strength (continued)

EXERCISE 12—With fingers and thumb all close together, hand open, bend the wrist in a circular movement, first in circular motion to the right and then in a circular motion to the left. Practice with both hands simultaneously. Perform ten repetitions in each direction. (clockwise and counter clockwise)

EXERCISE13—Get a large double sheet of newspaper opened flat. Hold it in one hand at the corner with your arm fully extended in front of you. Now slowly roll the piece of paper into a small ball in the palm of your hand. Repeat the same exercise with your other hand. When you become proficient at it try to do this exercise with both hands simultaneously while arms are extended outwards to the side directly from the shoulders. This is an excellent exercise that increases both strength and dexterity of the fingers. Practice it regularly.

EXERCISE 14—Clench your fists tightly and make a further effort to grip them even more tightly, as though you were making a superhuman effort to crush some strong resisting object. Hold for up to twelve seconds. Be sure to open and shake out your wrist and fingers between each effort. (I used to practice this exercise with a can of Coca-Cola until one day I burst the can.)

EXERCISE 15—Shake hands with yourself, squeeze and grip as vigorously as you can. Practice this often and make it powerful. You can also practice this exercise with friends but be sure not to hurt anyone by crushing their hand. Trust me, that's no way to win friends and influence people.

EXERCISE 16—Get bundles of old newspapers, magazines, cardboard, paperback novels, telephone directories and before throwing them into the trash or the recycling bin, practice tearing them to pieces. Be sure that they are thick enough to offer powerful resistance.

EXERCISE 17—Place the tip of one of your fingers on the edge of a table or chair and press down firmly, make an effort to press down still more and then hold the tension isometrically for a slow count of 12 seconds. Exercise each finger. One intense repetition at any given time is all that is necessary.

EXERCISE 18—Repeat the above exercise for each thumb.

EXERCISE 19—Bring the corresponding fingertips and thumb tips of each hand together (as shown) lightly. Then press together with great intensity and hold at peak intensity isometrically for 12 seconds.

EXERCISE 20—Press your right hand (palm and fingers as shown) against your left hand directly in front of your chest. While in this position position bend the elbows upward and outward. Make it as powerful as you can with both hand pressing inward with great intensity. Once at peak intensity, hold isometrically for 12 seconds. This is a very powerful exercise. Be careful not to strain.

EXERCISE 21—To enhance the dexterity and control of each individual finger open the hand wide, fingers well apart, now bend each finger individually toward the palm while trying to keep the other fingers in their original position. This is much more difficult than it sounds but it's one great exercise. Practice it often with both hands.

EXERCISE 22—Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart and your hands in front of just a little lower than your waistline. Lock the fingers of your right hand in the fingers of the your left hand with the left hand turned up and the right hand turned down in a reverse grip. With both hands pulling apart as vigorously as possible slowly raise your hands as close to your body as possible until they are fully extended over head. At about chin level the hands will naturally start to twist so that the left hand ends up on top when the arms are fully extended above your head. Remember to maintain a steady outward "pull" the entire time. In addition to developing a fantastic grip this exercise helps to build a fabulous upper body as it develops the muscles of the arms, chest, shoulders and upper back. It is definitely, a superior multifaceted exercise. I personally perform 60 repetitions of this exercise with the first 30 repetitions performed by starting with the right hand facing down and the left hand facing up and then reversing it on the second 30 repetitions with the left hand facing down and the right hand facing up.

I positively promise you that the 22 exercises featured above will develop extraordinary and marvelous strength and power of the fingers, wrists, and forearms. But realize that success comes as a result of actually performing the exercises faithfully and not just reading about them.

Simple? You bet they are. But they are not easy. Do them and see how vigorous and powerful they truly are. At the end of three short months you will have a vice-like grip, and strong, well developed wrists and perfectly muscled forearms of which you will be more than pleased.

Don't try to tell me you don't have time for these exercises. You have lots of time at odd moments throughout the day or even while resting between other exercises. A perfect time is just before meals while waiting at the table to be served. Utilize odd moments throughout the day while watching television or even when you are at a sporting event. Many can be performed without anyone else noticing.

NOTE: practice these exercises daily. Focus your mind on the group of muscles involved, and relax the muscles after each exercise. Don't exert to the point of strain but use plenty of muscular tension so that you really feel each exercise. These are infallible keys to your success.

----John Peterson
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tom tom is offline
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12-03-2010, 06:32 AM
Hanging by one or two hands for time is something I've always used. Since you need a bar it doesn't have the anytime anywhere advantage of the other exercises. Hanging onto a rope adds difficulty.

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keith james keith james is offline
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12-03-2010, 07:18 AM
Hi John

A big thank you for publishing this part from your new book.

I have never come across a workout for your fingers, hands and forearms, that is so extensive in it's entireity, most programs feature 3 - 4 exercises not 22, awesome.

All the best.

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12-03-2010, 02:58 PM

I consider to train the grip and the muscles of fingers, wrists and forarms as really
Not only will a firm grip benefit you in any sport -
your hands and fingers are one of your significant instruments!

Bruce Lee trained most of all his abs and then his forarms.

It's a good feeling to know you've the strength to tackle a problem.

Who wants to be a fool and his life is easily parted?!

Thanks John for this great grip-report!

Best regards!
You don't have to be great to start,
but you have to start to be great!
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jeremyelder jeremyelder is offline
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12-03-2010, 03:42 PM
Excellent stuff! I remember some of these from Pushing Yourself to Power. Incidentally, I must agree with you that it was exercises like these that enabled me to start training with the power Ts.

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bennyb bennyb is offline
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12-03-2010, 10:30 PM
I love pull-ups not only are they the cousins of push-ups but they also build more mass and strength then almost any other upper body exercise. Grip strength however is important and is a prerequisite for pull-ups but in my opinion it doesn't need to be too complicated, the grip alone doesn't mean you can automatically do pull-ups, your entire body must be in unison. Many people believe if you have a strong grip and grip the bar hard they can do a 1-2 pull-ups starting out but really it doesn't always work out that way. I learned that the hard way when I first learned to really do pull-ups. The grip is one of the weakest links in the chain of strength. As a strongman I have to have strong hands and doing pull-ups is no exception but not only do I need grip work but my shoulders have to strong and supple, my core needs to be strong and believe or not the chest needs to be strong too because if you dont have the breathing down you're not going anywhere trust me. I have learned that if you want the maximum benefit for pull-ups you must strengthen and consistantly work with the muscles and tendons needed for pull-ups. Now not many can do more then 5 at a time let alone just doing 1. Even if you can't do pull-ups, grip work and shoulder strength/flexibility plus your breathing can carry over to many other areas. pull-ups however are not one of the hardest forms of upper body movements but also one of the most beneficial when it comes to getting that awesome V-Taper and massive natural arms. Even Arnold Schwarzenegger gave great praise for how pull-ups increase upper body mass and size. DVR/VRT/DSR/Isos and Power Cals do wonders when you do them right and with consistancy and doing pull-ups is no exception.
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shamus23 shamus23 is offline
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12-04-2010, 11:23 AM
this thread should be archived
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monty monty is offline
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12-04-2010, 03:33 PM
The last few weeks I have done 200 pull/chins in various sets and 1000 push-ups in various sets.

I usually do the 200 pull/chins with 500 various push ups, then do 500 more throughout the day.

Gotta say this combo has added some muscle and I am a little more cut.

Pull ups are my favorite exercise and have transformed my body.

I started out a few years ago just doing sets 5-10 , with 10 reps.

"The really great man, is the man who makes every man feel great"
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John Peterson John Peterson is offline
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12-04-2010, 04:43 PM
Hey Monty,

Pull-Ups are my favorite power calisthenic exercise too. Followed closely by Atlas III Push-Ups. I do think though that the vast majority of men that want to incorporate High Volume Pull-Ups into their daily training need to maximize lung capacity and grip strength first. By High Volume I mean 100 or more reps in sets of 12 or more.

---John Peterson
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