Archive for June, 2010

Why Has Nothing Changed? Improper Wrist and Forearm Strength Training

Guest Post and Free Sample Workouts by Jedd Johnson of the Diesel Crew

If you’re a baseball player, you know that hand strength and forearm strength are very important to your game.

This is something that my coaches told me all the years that I pitched.

So, when I was 12, my parents got me this weird looking wrist-strengthening thing that you put your hand inside of and then performed wrist flexion.  It kind of looked like this thing (see picture below), only it had a resistance dial that you could turn to make it tighter:

After like 3 weeks of that, even if I had the dial turned up to the toughest levels, I could do endless repetitions while watching TV and riding a unicycle.

Well, maybe I wasn’t that strong at 12, but the machine was essentially a pointless device.

When I got to high school I was shown other forms of wrist training.  Dudes at the gym introduced me to wrist curls. They felt cool and made the veins in my forearms pop out like crazy, so I did them religiously.

When I got to college, I was shown the wrist roller.  It was a PVC handle with a rope tied to it and at the end of the rope was a 2.5-lb weight.  It was so light it was a joke. I remembered feeling a pinching in my shoulder every time I did it, but I never said anything and just kept on doing it because everybody else was doing it too.

Contrary to what you might be thinking, the purpose of this article isn’t to tell you my life story about wrist training.  Actually, I want to change your life story going forward about the way you train your grip and forearms, so you can take your game up to a higher level.

You see, I haven’t played baseball for 10 years, but in the meantime I have become a strength and conditioning coach and it amazes me that to this day, kids that are 12 years old are still training with the similar wrist flexion devices I was.

Kids in high school are telling me that their grip work still involves mostly wrist curls and maybe some tennis ball squeezes, and I talked to a guy I know that goes to college and he says they don’t do ANYTHING for their grip there, let alone the pinch-your-rotator-cuff front wrist roller.

So, I ask, “Why Has NOTHING Changed in the Last TEN Years?

It’s time to change the way we think about Grip and Forearm Training.  A steady diet of wrist curls, wrist roller and squeezing a tennis ball is BUSCH LEAGUE at BEST – it sucks.

Think about it this way…

Those three movements work mostly wrist and finger flexion.  That is only one movement pattern of the wrist and forearm.

You see, the wrist and forearm work together to move in 6 main ways:

  • Flexion:  Moving the palm toward the front of the forearm
  • Extension:  Moving the back of the hand toward the back of the forearm
  • Radial Deviation:  Moving the thumb-side of the hand toward the radius bone of the forearm
  • Ulnar Deviation:  Moving the pinky-side of the hand toward the ulna bone of the forearm
  • Pronation:  Turning the palm down toward the floor
  • Supination:  Turning the palm up to the sky

In order to be fully strong, you must work the wrist and forearm in all of these plains.  Also to avoid injury, all these plains must be exercised, because if there is an imbalance, it can cause pain and injury as well as limit strength gains in the future.

The fingers and thumb are the exact same way.  Working only flexion all the time is a recipe for disaster in the form of discomfort, strength limitations, soft tissue injury, etc.

If you capitalize on these six movement patterns of the wrist and forearm, you will be stronger than all of the other players who are just doing wrist curls.  You will notice that not just the flexors of the forearm start to grow, but you will also see that the extensors in the back of the forearm as well as the other synergistic muscles will be popping out of your forearm too.

This increase in strength will allow you to hit the ball farther because your bat speed is going to go up and you’ll be able to drive through the ball with more power.

If you are a pitcher, you are going to feel more “snap” at the end of your delivery as well as more endurance during the course of the game, as well as less pain and better recovery post-game.

And for all the players on the team, you will feel more stamina in the lower arms both during games and over the course of the season, as well as being more resilient against lower arm injuries from intense play in the field and on the base paths.

So now the question is, How do I begin?

Fortunately, I have the perfect resource for you – Ultimate Forearm Training for Baseball. This manual is over 500 pages in total, and includes 300 pages of exercises.  It also shows you how to keep your lower arms in top shape using stretching and preventive protocols that most therapists don’t even know about.  It has 20+ fully designed workout templates, and 20 pieces of equipment you can use for grip training you can make yourself or buy at a hardware store.

This is the only resource of its kind.  It is your SECRET WEAPON for lower arm strength.  Make sure to pick it up now, before your opponents find out about it.

Find the product here Ultimate Forearm Training for Baseball

Editor’s note: Jedd was kind enough to include a COMPLIMENTARY sample forearm training program for my readers.  You can download it here: Ultimate Forearm Training for Baseball Sample Workout

This is a great start in how to incorporate forearm training to enhance your athletic skills, increase your performance and minimize injuries.  If you like it I encourage you to purchase his Ultimate Forearm Training for Baseball Manual.

I had the privilege of reading the manual before he put it on sale and I must say it is quite good.  Jedd leaves no stone unturned in the 500 page manual, complete with the “hows and whys” along with exercises, do it yourself equipment instructions and tons of programs.

I make absolutely NO money off of you purchasing his product but I fully endorse it.


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Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010 Articles, Sports Performance Training No Comments

Fix Your Kettlebell Clean

I feel that one of the most difficult kettlebell movements to learn is the kettlebell clean. The kettlebell clean should build off the single arm swing. During the single arm swing the upper arm should extend out in the parallel position and during the clean it should stay close to the body, and this is where the problem occurs. I’ve been fooling around with way to make the learning process simpler and I came up with crossing your opposite arm over the upper arm and performing the clean. This forces the upper arm down, keeping it close to the body and the clean smooth.


Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010 Kettlebell Training, Videos 2 Comments

90-Day Challenge Winner: Mike

The competition was fierce but Mike fought hard and inspired us all in the process. He puts it all on the line every time. With a smile on his face he stays mentally focused, holds nothing back and continuously pushes himself to the limit while challenging us to give him more. His determination to reach his ultimate goals have made him a winner and saved his life. Congratulations Mike! You deserve it.

Mike’s Interview:

Mike at 305lbs.

Tell us about your background and what got you interested in working out?

I’m 41 years old and have been a cop for 12 years. I am married and have two kids, 8 and 6 years old. After about 25 years of alcohol abuse (a whole other story), I had my last drink on July 25th, 2009. I weighed 305 pounds, couldn’t walk a flight of stairs without a rest and knew that a heart attack was waiting right around the corner if I continued living the way I was. I decided that after poisoning my body and mind for most of my adult life, I was going to make a sincere run at changing my life. At first, exercising was something that I was doing to kill time and release some energy now that I wasn’t drinking or nursing hangovers. My workouts were occasional at best, and even then they were half-hearted efforts and thoroughly ineffective. They were usually torn from some muscle mag that promised quick and easy results and focused on the arms and chest. My nutrition had to improve generally, due to my lack of alcohol intake but I had just as many misconceptions and poor information about nutrition as I did about exercise. In hindsight, I can see that I was spinning my wheels regarding my fitness during the first few weeks of my sobriety. But then the rubber met the road when I met Doug and AJ from Rise Above and my fitness level took off!

Mike now at 253lbs. and counting

Describe your first Rise Above Class, was it what you expected?

My first Rise Above class was not at all what I expected. It was an intense, grueling, full body experience. It included using chains, sledgehammers, ropes, a tractor tire and those silly looking cannonball things with handles that I’ve since learned to love and respect so much. This was not an ordinary gym or an ordinary experience. I’d be lying if I said that first class was fun. It hurt. It hurt because my body only knew to be stagnant, lazy and ineffective and I was now getting my ass kicked by this explosive, full body experience! I literally couldn’t walk the next day. I’m not kidding. My legs wouldn’t move, I could barely lift my arms, and muscles I didn’t know I had were screaming at me! But I still felt great! I felt like just completing the workout was an accomplishment and that If I could make it through just one more, I would feel even better about myself. I felt I was paying the price for years of neglect and when I had paid my bill, I would have my reward. I went back again and again. Now fitness and Rise Above are an important part of my daily routine.

This old tire is no match for Mike's thunder

What motivated you to come back to the gym and start working out again?

My motivation for my commitment to fitness comes from many factors in my life that are specific to certain scenarios. I’m motivated by my wife and kids who never wanted anything except for me to be a husband and daddy. They could have left me a hundred different times during my drinking days but they didn’t and when I finally walked out of the fog, they were there to take my hand and support me. I want to be the husband and Dad I should have been all these years and Rise Above helps me be that guy.

I expect every workout at Rise Above to be harder and more brutal than the one before. I push myself to leave it all out there in the gym. If I drop dead during my last set of a prowler pushes or a killer kettlebell circuit, I’m cool with that because it’s the one place that I know I’m giving 100% of myself, for myself. The great feeling of the pump afterward, the confident feeling, the higher energy level …those are things I get to share with others in my life. But the work I do to get those rewards is all mine.

I wouldn’t be true to this process if I didn’t mention that I’ve learned from Doug and AJ that motivation breeds motivation. In all aspects of life, it’s contagious. Doug and AJ are as fanatical as I am about my progress. They treated me with respect, patience and tolerance the first day we met and it continues today. I hope that someday someone will look to me to motivate them as I look to Doug and AJ. I credit them both with being part of a small group of people that literally saved my life. Essentially, I went to two strangers and asked for help in changing my life. They gave all without question and do so every time we meet. If that’s not motivating, I don’t know what is.

Mike tearing up The Prowler

What were some of the changes you made in your diet that enabled you to lose the weight and keep up your strength?

As you know by now I’ve discovered that I’m allergic to alcohol (It makes me grope women and say things I regret). It’s also really bad for your fitness goals….unless your goals are to be fat and lazy. So I don’t drink alcohol.

Secondly, I didn’t do everything all at once. It’s a lifestyle change and it can feel overwhelming at times so I didn’t want to set myself up to fail. After getting used to living without booze, I cut out refined sugars found in all the stuff I love like pastries, cookies, pies, and on and on. Then after getting a handle on that I cut out all fried foods. Now, I’ve moved on to eliminating (or cutting way back) on carbs. Not all carbs obviously, just the bad ones found in all the stuff I love (see above) and pastas, breads and potatoes.

I think people are doing themselves a disservice and will be working against themselves if they don’t make an effort to understand nutrition and how foods are processed by the body before starting a diet. Although diets are traditionally thought of as eliminating foods, you also need to add healthy foods that support lean muscle growth. I also eat more often. I try to eat some protein about every three hours and don’t allow myself to get so hungry that I make poor choices. It takes some practice and training of the mind and body, but it’s very doable and results come quickly if it’s taken seriously.

Lastly, I would say that the occasional beer, burger or slice of pie won’t kill you or de-rail your fitness goals. Life is good and it was meant to be enjoyed. You just need to find the right balance that works for you.

For newcomers to the Rise Above experience, what words of encouragement can you give them?

Believe that your mind and body can do things you never thought were possible. You are the only thing holding yourself back.

And because I’m a drunk that lacks originality, I’ll steal a common line from Alcoholics Anonymous that applies to Rise Above also: Keep Coming Back. It works.

Looking good in his uniform; sorry ladies he's taken


Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010 Articles 5 Comments


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