Friday, December 6, 2013

Hand Strength - Mike Dayton (1978)

Pim "Billy" Block, of the Dutch hand-balancing and posing act known as THE THREE KEMMYS. 
Phenomenal muscular development for the 1920's.

Mike Dayton

 - Mike Dayton is certainly no stranger to readers of Iron Man. His study of Chi has been gaining popularity, but he still remains best known for his extraordinary feats of strength. Mike's most fabulous feats involve the use of hand and arm strength, such as bending coins, breaking handcuffs, tearing tennis balls and smashing baseball bats. He is currently on the refuse-entry list in over 100 sporting goods stores throughout the Midwest. 

One of the most important, and certainly the most used parts of the body are the hands. Although there are no trophies for good hand development, hand strength is a necessity for performing the lifts which will give the rest of your body that outstanding physique.

By working your hands you will also develop your wrists and forearms. You will notice an increase in your lifts from using a regular hand routine. Chins will also become easier. Having a good hand routine also helps when the wife asks you to open a mayonnaise jar, and in numerous tasks around the house. Anyone interested in performing feats of strength realizes the importance of having strong hands. Hand routines also help increase dexterity and coordination in the fingers. Another good side effect is a well developed and cut up forearm.

In other articles I have explained the mental application of Chi which I use in performing my feats of strength.

"A Complete Guide to Learning and Understanding Chi Mind Control"

But just as the body could not function without the mind to direct it, so the mind requires a body in good tone and shape to direct.

Since so many of my feats of strength require use of hand strength, I have developed as extensive training routine. You will probably not use all of the exercises I do. You must look at your own needs and decide how you want to develop your hands.

My hand routine is divided into three sections. The first is weight training for the hands. Weights develop hand, wrist, and forearm strength.

The second area is Chi training. These exercises work not only the muscles, but also the tendons to achieve additional strength and endurance. The Chi exercises help in developing coordination and quick reflexes.

The third area is Kung Fu hand training. This area works primarily on toughening the skin of the hands in order to withstand hard blows or extreme pressure.

Weight Training 

Wrist Curl
Sit on a bench with your feet resting flat on the floor. Hold a barbell in your hands, with your forearms resting on your thighs. Your hands should hang out over your knees, with the backs of your hands facing the floor. Lift the barbell as high as possible without moving your forearms from your thighs.

Perform 3 sets of 20 to 25 repetitions every other day.

Reverse Wrist Curl
This is performed in the same position as the Wrist Curl, except that the backs of your hands should be facing the ceiling.

Perform 3 sets of 20 to 25 repetitions every other day.

Hand Squeeze
In the gym I often use the handles of dumbbells for this exercise, however, anything which you  can form a fist around will work. If you use dumbbells leave them in the rack and squeeze the handles as hard as you possibly can, for about seven seconds. If you choose to use this exercise I suggest you read the Chi Training section for instruction on achieving maximum exertion.

The Chi Towel Squeeze exercise is the same as this one. This exercise should be performed once a day, every day. 

The Grip
Stand in front of a power rack so that the barbell is about mid-thigh height. Lift the barbell off the rack and hold it until your hands give up and drop the barbell back down to the rack pins. You should use about 100 more pounds than you can deadlift.

This exercise should be performed once, every day.

Chi Training Exercises

To achieve maximum benefit from exercise you must learn to work your mind as well as your body. Always remember that your mind has ultimate control over strength. The Chi exercises are designed to increase the strength of your mind and your muscle.

These exercises don't just stretch the muscles, they push blood into the center fibers and also work the tendons. These exercises require concentration and imagination. No gym equipment can work a muscle the way your mind can, but you must use your mind to increase and benefit from the exercise.

In performing these exercises you must concentrate all your mental energy on the point you are working. You must forget that the rest of your body exists, and concentrate only on your hands. Before beginning the exercise relax your whole body. Let your arms, legs, back and neck go limp. Take inventory. Is everything relaxed? Your toes? Your jaw? Your eyebrows? Your forehead?

Once you have relaxed, begin to take in several deep breaths of air, just as if your were about to start a heavy set of presses or squats. Take one last breath of air and hold it.

Now focus all your energy, mental and physical, on your hands. Immediately tense your hands and exert as hard as you possibly can.

Do not gradually work your way up to an exertion.
IMMEDIATELY focus all your energy on your hands.
Do not give your mind the time to wander.
Do not breathe out.
Do not relax.
Tense as hard as you possibly can and then tense harder.
Use your imagination to make this simple movement seem monumental.

Watch your hands tense and harden as you do these. Think to yourself the count of seven seconds. Do not actually count to seven, just imagine seven seconds (or thereabouts) passing. After seven seconds, relax completely.

The Chi exercises can be done daily. Do them only once a day.

The Towel Squeeze
Follow the above guidelines, relax, breathe fully and hold the last breath. Holding a towel or other object which you can make a fist around, squeeze as hard as you possibly can.

Forearm Bend Back
Remember to relax, breathe fully and hold your last breath. Bend your hand back at the wrist, trying to touch your knuckles to your forearm. Your fingers can be in any position you want. Pull back as hard as possible. Perform for each hand separately. After seven seconds relax.

Fist Pull
Again, relax, breathe fully and hold your last breath. Form a fist with your hand, then, bending your wrist, attempt to touch your fingers to your forearm. Pull as hard as possible. Perform for each hand separately. After seven seconds relax.\

The Spider Web
Again, relax and breathe fully, holding your last breath. Spread your fingers and thumb as far apart from each other as possible. You may hold your hands in any position you desire. This exercise may be performed with both hands at once. These exercises come directly from my book "Chi Mind Control". 

Kung-Fu Hand Training

These exercises toughen and strengthen the outside skin of the hand. Calluses are developed only over a period of time. Be sure to build your calluses slowly. If you break the skin open you will only delay building the callus until after the injury has healed. 

Depending on your needs, you may want calluses only on your knuckles, the sides of your hands  or your finger tips. The only way to form calluses is by repeated pounding.

To start, I suggest pounding into a rug or other slightly cushioned object. Punching bags are ideal for callus building. You should pound hard enough to make your hand numb and as your calluses form you can increase your pounding.

You should pound an object about 500 times every day. It is important to work on developing calluses every day for success. 

For strength and calluses in the fingertips try doing pushups using only the tips of your fingers and thumb. Your fingernails must be cropped very close for this one. You may find that you have to work your hands for a while before you can do it, but as you improve you will find that you can not only do pushups on your fingertips, but on only your index fingertips!

You should do one set of all you can do, every day.

Another good callus builder for fingertips and knuckles is to pound your hand into a bucket of sand. This is good for fingertip calluses because the sand provides a brace to keep your fingers from bending backwards when you push into it.

You should do this about 30 times per hand, every day.

For finger strength, a good exercise is to squeeze a tennis ball, using your fingers only. You should perform this one hand at a time, and can do it every day.

I use all of these exercises for my hands, and as I said earlier, hand strength is invaluable, in lifting and in everyday life. Take advantage of simple exercises. Very often they do the most for your general health and abilities.

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