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How To Close The Captains of Crush: Towel Rolls

A simple towel can strengthen your grip
A simple towel can strengthen your grip

I have been making steady progress on my 1.5 Captains of Crush (COC) and wanted to share another tip that has helped.  This technique comes from John Brookfield (like most worthwhile grip tips) and his book The Grip Master’s Manual. Many of the techniques in the book are specifically recommended to aid with closing the COCs.

Like the strap hold, the towel roll is very simple, and very effective.  It specifically targets the lesser-used fingers: the ring finger and the pinkie.  It is often wrongly assumed that in order to finally close a #3 Captains of Crush gripper, that the index and middle fingers must get stronger.  Usually it is the ring and the little finger that are either holding you back or pushing you over the top.

How to do the Towel Roll

  • Take a small towel about the size of a washcloth.  A bath towel is too big unless your hands are like Paul Bunyan’s
  • Grasp one corner with between the fingertips and thumb of one hand
  • Slowly roll the towel up until it is balled up in your palm
  • Repeat 10 times (or as many as you like)

It sounds simple and it is.  But don’t mistake simple for easy.  If you do the motion deliberately and really focus on manipulating the towel with your fingers, you’ll be hurting about five reps in. Of course, it does get easier, like everything else.

When it gets too easy…make it harder

Make a hole in a towel and attache it to a small bucket with some rope.  As we did with the strap hold, add some water or sand to the bucket.  Now try that towel roll again.  Even two pounds can make a world of difference.  You’ll have to move even more deliberately to make sure the towel doesn’t get away from you while gravity is yanking at that bucket.

When that gets too easy, add more weight.

The Grip Master’s Manual has a goldmine of grip training information.  Brookfield is the go-to guy for a reason: his methods work.  Take his advice, get yourself a Captains of Crush Hand Gripper – No. 1, and get after it!

Go have some fun and let us know about your progress.

PS: Do you have a great grip training method that we all need to hear about?  Please tell us in the comments section.


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  • Al in Vancouver May 26, 2009, 12:17 pm

    I like to do sledgehammer walking, really enjoy it actually. Also a good way to work the small fingers. Not so much crush specific but good for balanced development. Learned it from a Diesel Crew video:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mgZsZ7vbAYw

    • Josh Hanagarne May 26, 2009, 1:15 pm

      Al do you use two fingers at once? For example, do you walk both index fingers up and down using two hands, or just one hand? I still can’t do much with one hand only.

  • Al in Vancouver May 26, 2009, 1:19 pm

    Josh,

    I can only do the negative with two hands. Someday I’ll get that! My only sledge is, I think, 10 pounds. A lighter one would help with this.

    I can manage the one-handed method pretty smoothly with my 10pounder.

    • Josh Hanagarne May 26, 2009, 1:51 pm

      I’m still using an 8lb sledge with a 2.5 taped to it. Really puts it in perspective when you see guys leverage 23 pounds, huh?

  • rhoneyman January 18, 2012, 12:31 am

    i’ve just started working grip. towel rolls routine is a great place to start. i find that i have little coordination. rolling the towel is a bear but it’s almost more difficult to keep the towel centered. i’ll track this and see how long it takes for this to become routine. thanks.