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In Strong Hand Land
What a Difference a Grip Indicates

The Journal of the American Medical Association reported in about 1997 or 98, on a study that indicated that grip strength was a determinant for longevity in men. One of the theories was that strong hands helped prevent falls and lethal hip fractures among the elderly. Interestingly, there is an old Germanic saying that translates roughly to “the strongest man of hand.”

Never being much concerned about longevity, but keenly aware of the effects of strength on personal autonomy, after hearing a reading of these medical findings on the Doctor Dean Adell syndicated radio show, I became a student of hands. In boxing hands are a big deal and mine had been better than average but quite damaged. At this time in my life I was transitioning from boxing to stick fighting and found to my surprise that hands were an even bigger deal in stick fighting than boxing, as the hand was also a target and grip strength was more crucial than in boxing due to concerns with weapon retention. You don’t really want to box in a stick fight if you can help it.

As I landed in the Rocky Mountain Region I have been reminded of two masculine facts:

-The men are much more friendly and there is almost no violence, exemplifying the truism that an armed society is a polite society

-The hand-strength of these rural men is roughly thrice that of urban and suburban men.

To the second point, since my stick-fighting activities of the past 20 years, my grip-strength has increased a lot and I am used to having stronger hands than about 75% of those men who I meet in the Mid-Atlantic Region. But in the Rockies, due, it seems to the high level of tool use in adolescence and adulthood, I have dropped in relative grip-strength from roughly the 80th-percentile to the 20th. This may well account for much of the rural over urban and suburban dominance in wrestling.

In a larger context, I suspect the last hundred handshakes have reminded me that I was born into a society which is merely a weigh-station in our devolution. That said, every man whose meat claw I clutched in those high places was wishing me well…

Thought Crimes: Capital



Add Comment
ShepOctober 26, 2018 10:51 PM UTC

Soak a beach towel - or better yet, a judo jacket - in water. Wring it out by hand. Repeat.
Bryce SharperOctober 23, 2018 4:25 AM UTC

Whatever can be gripped can generally be lifted. YOu can't deadlift anything you can't grip, so grip strength I think is a proxy for overall strength.
BobOctober 23, 2018 12:16 AM UTC

@ Boswald:

This looks like a good tool to improve on farmer's walk:
BobOctober 22, 2018 11:44 PM UTC

Wrist/finger training with various aids:
BobOctober 22, 2018 6:38 AM UTC

Mr. LaFond addresses it in one of his book, but it bears repeating: extensor muscles of the fingers and wrist should be exercised just as vigorously as contractor muscles, to avoid tendonitis, CTS, etc.. I like the Alliance Pale Crepe Gold rubber bands. Gyro-balls are good for wrist strengthening, but tricky if multi-tasking.☺

As I understand it, grip strength is delivered by the pinky and ring finger. Any injury to these digits will compromise grip, perhaps permanently.
BoswaldOctober 22, 2018 5:18 AM UTC

Your mentioning of the Germanic saying reminds me of the Beowulf poet’s treatment of the subject. Grip strength comes up again and again in the poem. Not only is Beowulf extremely strong, especially in grip, but one of the kings who kills a foe in a wrestling match in a digression is as well. This was something important to Iron Age warlords.

One way to train this in the weight room is with farmers walks...or just fix sinks, that will do it.