A couple of days ago I did a workout at a crazy gym in Thailand. I posted a few photos on the Static Contraction Facebook page but for the benefit of the people not on Facebook I’ll put them at the bottom of this post.
The gym was fun but the workout I did was virtually useless and it was 100% my fault. I didn’t have my hand grips (enter Sisco-10 for a 10% discount) or my lifting hooks and I was astonished at how much of a difference it made. For one thing this gym had some pretty old equipment. It was mostly Hammer Strength which I really like because it can hold a lot of weight and is very well made. But these machines had a million miles on them and, in particular, the hand grip padding was worn flat and offered very little comfort. The pushing exercises were murder.
I’ve mentioned before that in my early thirties (20 years ago) I started to get some arthritis in my right hand which has robbed be of a lot of grip strength. It never matters much because I use lifting hooks and they make grip power almost moot.
The Perfect Storm
So what happened when I was in a gym with old, uncomfortable handgrips on the equipment and I was without my own hand pads and lifting hooks? I could only lift about 50-70% of my maximum on every exercise. I was astounded. Even at those weights the pain in my hands was causing me to quit too soon. Of course I knew those two tools made a difference in my performance but even I was shocked at how much of a difference they made.
Without being able to lift what my muscles were capable of I had to resort to just adding volume and doing as many holds as I could, but even that just got more and more painful on my hands. In the end I maybe got some stress out of the muscles but I know I didn’t stimulate any growth, or even guarantee what I had would be maintained. Classic dumb workout. Mea culpa.
These two items should be issued with every gym membership. (Or at least be hanging up next to the equipment.) Not having them is like trying to run as fast as you can with bare feet on gravel instead of wearing shoes. Yes, you can do it, but why the hell would you? You can run faster in shoes, you can push more weight with good hand grips and pull more weight with good lifting hooks.
I don’t make either of these products but they are the only two things you’ll find on this blog that I recommend people buy other than my workout. It’s the biggest favor I could do for a person serious about getting stronger. In my case it’s the difference between lifting an extra 100-300 lbs on some exercises. If that could be put in pill form somebody would be a billionaire very fast. On second thought, these two items have no side effects or contraindications so that makes them better than pills. Plus they work immediately.