A Journal of Strength, Health, and Self Cultivation
One of the most powerful demonstrations of finger strength I have ever seen: Robert L. Jones of Pine Bluff, Arkansas doing a truly mind-blowing stunt, circa 1927. Public Domain Photograph.
Over the years, I have experimented with many ways to build a stronger grip: hand crushers, thick-bar training, pinch-gripping, and wrist rolling to name a few. However, the biggest advance I have made in my hand and forearm strength has come within the last two months of my 30-year training career thanks to a single exercise: the finger-tip pushup. And, I must give Paul Wade full credit for introducing me to this superb exercise via his excellent book, Convict Conditioning 2.
I have found the finger-tip pushup to be second to none as a hand, wrist, and forearm builder. Since introducing this exercise into my training routine, my forearms are noticeably more muscular, and my grip strength has magnified immensely. I just can’t explain in words the power this exercise builds; the finger-tip pushup is an exercise you must try for yourself to fully appreciate and understand.
During my workout tonight, I performed the finger-tip pushup with my feet elevated approximately 36 inches (just shy of a meter) above the horizontal plane. Elevating my feet in this fashion directed a greater proportion of my body weight on my fingers and arms, and the force upon them was utterly TREMENDOUS. It took white-hot concentration to keep my fingers from buckling under the load, and if I hadn’t kept my forearms fully contracted at ALL times as I performed the movement, I think my fingers would have snapped!
It is a goal of mine to keep increasing the elevation of my legs until I can do full hand-stand pushups on my finger tips. I am sure that this goal is beyond my strength level at the current time, but I get inspiration from Robert L. Jones, an oldtime hand-balancing master. Check out the photo of him above performing a truly amazing strength stunt. I doubt that more than one person out of a million can duplicate this difficult move. What incredible finger and arm strength Robert Jones had.
By the way, if you are the person out of a million who can perform a strength stunt similar to the one demonstrated by Robert Jones above, send me a photo of yourself doing it, and I’ll be glad to post it right here on MOI and give you the recognition you deserve.
Now, I’m going to turn things over to MOI contributor Peter Yates. Like myself, Peter has been experimenting with some of the methods taught by Paul Wade in Convict Conditioning 2 with great success. Printed with his permission, below is an email that Peter sent me a few days ago that explains what he has been doing and how it is working for him.
I recently purchased CC2, and I immediately started to do the Trifecta. It is a very clever combination, and I could feel positive results quite quickly. I am also excited about working with the Flag.
Even though I have done a lot of body weight training over the years, including those in CC1, I still began at the very easiest level. My reason being that I knew that I had weaknesses in certain moves, even though I could do them at a more advanced level. And, by going back to the start, I could work on those weaknesses, something that the progressions make easy to do. I really appreciate the progressions, and my aim is to own each level thoroughly before moving on.
I also believe that my old injuries will benefit from the progressions. They are certainly paying off, and I would recommend them to anyone regardless of current ability.
Although I train with weights 2x a week and do the body weight training 1x a week, I do the Trifecta daily and some light body weight on days following the weights as active recovery. This also helps me with the skill component.
It is amusing to me to find that there are so many people wasting precious time debating weather Paul Wade really exists, if he even was in prison, or if John Ducane and Pavel wrote the books under his name. The only thing that matters is that the content is really sound and that the methods work. Whoever put it together did a great job, and it is also a fun read. I may not agree with him on everything, but I do on quite a bit. And, I respect his opinion on everything. CC works for me anyway.