Cobra’s Strategies for Hand Strength

February 27th 2015

Legendary arm-wrestler Andrew "Cobra" Rhodes is known throughout the sport as a man with unmatched hand and finger strength – he can hold a 20-pound weight or more with just his fingertips. Here, Cobra offers some tips for developing a steel-like grip:

SQUEEZE A BALL: Basic as it sounds, squeezing a ball is a great exercise for strengthening hand muscles. Start with a small ball that fits in your palm, like a tennis ball. Wrap your fingers around it and squeeze as hard as you can. Be sure to stretch your hand between sets. As you get stronger, you can increase teh size of the ball you use.

KEEP SQUEEZING: The old, basic stuff is often the best, and Rhodes recommends using the tried-and-true hand grippers, such as the "Captains of Crush" series, to achieve a massive grip strength. These aren't a set of flimsy, plastic hand squeezers – they are solid metal and the scale up to profoundly difficult resistences.

DON'T IGNORE YOUR FOREARMS: Forearms must be developed along with the hands to achieve a dominant grip that will pay dividends on the arm-wrestling table. Rhodes recommends wrist curls and reverse wrist curls to get those forearms into fighting shape.

GO OLD SCHOOL: For Rhodes, there is no substitute for a tried-and-true strength builder that works the whole system: pull ups. These strengthen hand grip, and add a variety of other benefits for the arms and the muscles that move those levers in the shoulders and back. Try them with every grip you can imagine, because you never know what position your hand will be in during a arm-wrestling clash, Rhodes says.