The wrist roller is also a very good choice because it is simple and very effective: Mr. Lacy’s choice here is just a sturdy tree branch with a cord tied to it. You can get more fancy than that if you like but when it all comes down to it, that is minimally all you need.
How does Mr. America build forearm strength? The Wrist Roller, of course. It was a great method then and still a greta method now. If you could peek into the training log of just about every strength champion throughout history, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll find the wrist roller as a part of their respective programs.
To my knowledge, I am the only man in the world to accomplish this feat: a picture perfect to-the-nose-and-back lever of the Gama Club. The “Gama Club” is a modern representation of the trophy from traditional Indian wrestling called a Gurz, which can be seen here. No idea about the original, but the ‘Gama Club’ pictured above weighs 32 pounds with a 1-1/2 inch thick handle.
It’s a little shorter than a regulation sledge hammer but a lot heavier. Like I said, a lot of strong people have attempted to do this but no one so far has been able to… I think the Hammer Man would be proud.
Sledge hammer training has always been a very popular way of building forearm and wrist strength among many oldtime strongmen. Based on the leverage principle the sledge hammer makes a very efficient workout tool as it can provide a great deal of resistance without the need for a lot of weight. Here, Murl Mitchell of Los Angeles, tests his wrist strength with a pair of very interesting looking sledge hammers. Look closely and you’ll see that Mr. Mitchell is wearing glasses which he just slightly and gently tapped before levering the hammers back to the vertical position. It was said that these hammers weighed 25 lbs. apiece — Superb. Mitchell also placed second at the Sr. Nationals Weightlifting Championships in 1945 in the 123 lb class with a 470 lb. total.
A rare shot of Slim The Hammer Man doing his thing on the streets of New York, circa the early 1970’s. During a visit to Slim’s place I had a chance to try these very same hammers without any added weight and couldn’t budge them an inch – Slim was (and is) the real deal. There’s more to “Strength” than just sets and reps. As a protege of The Mighty Atom Slim learned how to channel his mental energy into physical strength~ a pretty unique skill to have. No one else has even come close to The Hammer Man’s records so it’s safe to say this is a skill that few people are in possession of…
Here’s one you can try at home: do a front hold out with an Olympic barbell, then, by wrist power alone twist it from horizontal to vertical and back again. At 70 years of age, “The Mighty Norseman,” Karl Norberg could do this with ease.
Joe Price, of Gloucester, England, is one example of many blacksmiths who were also strongmen. Needless to say — and very obvious in the photo above — the vigorous muscular development due to smithing came in very handy while performing feats of strength. Price was trained by W.A. Pullum and went on to win the British Heavyweight Lifting Championship in 1922 and 1923. In addition to his lifting exploits, Price was also British Champion Farrier in 1928. Price even wrote an excellent “Vulcan” training course on using a sledge hammer to build strength (a copy of which we have been lucky enough to recently come across.) Here, Price nails in a notice with a hammer weighing in at half a hundredweight – not bad!
There’s no question that the traditional barbell wrist curl has been and can be a very effective method for building wrist strength — but that doesn’t mean it can’t be improved upon. This nifty piece of training equipment from Hammer Strength offers a few interesting possibilities: 1. a standardized range of motion and 2. the ability to do something that no barbell can match: negative accentuated training capability i.e. lift with two hands then lower with one… This is a technique very much worth experimenting with, if you happen to be lucky enough to have access to one of these devices (there aren’t many around.)