Many years ago, when I first came to China in 2003 – the MASSAGES (of all types, if you get my drift, hehe) were something that were high on my list of things “to experience”.
And truth be told, it was NOTHING like what I had expected – especially the foot massages, which were my first initiation into the wonderful world of massage in China.
We in the West think of foot massages as something that are “pleasurable, relaxing and romantic” – and yet the reality is the polar opposite in China.
While you’re generally tended to by gorgeous young masseuses in uniforms, the “pleasure” aspect generally stops there (if we’re talking MASSAGES as opposed to, well, “something extra” if you get my drift).
I literally used to be yelling out loud as the masseuse would first knead and pummel every knot out of my upper back while my feet were soaked in hot water.
After this, it was on to the shoulder – and when they’d dig deep into the shoulder joint, the pain used to be so “excruciating” that I’d literally bellow for them to stop – and they wouldn’t.
Giggle, giggle, and on they’d go – and more of the same to the soles of the feet.
What was amazing was this – they could literally tell what was wrong with my body (at the time) by looking at the soles of my feet.
I had liver problems back in ’03 – and the masseuse that I met on my very first visit pointed it out, along with the fact that I was overweight at the time.
I had shoulder issues as well – but hold on. This isn’t about my issues, is it?
No, it’s about STRENGTH – and believe me, these tiny little girls (usually weighing around 50-60 kgs soaking wet if even that) – have the strength to work on adult men – gargantuan men at that – all day long without breaking a sweat.
And what strikes me the most is the way they actually adminster the massages.
Anyone thats been to a true Chinese style massage will tell you that the thumbs and fingers are used to dig into problem areas and literally “wring” the stale energy out of the muscle or tendon.
They’ll poke, prod, twist, feel, turn – and generally do everything they can in their power to resolve the issue (and I had many, thats for sure) – – and when it’s over, you’ll feel like a billion bucks.
Quite literally – it’s a feeling I’ve never gotten after a Western style massage.
And though YOU will be feeling on cloud nine, the fact remains that some serious grip, finger and forearm strength is required on the part of these masseuses to administer said massages – that too ALL day long.
And thats just one part of it. If you book two hours with these ladies, the second hour involves (amongst other things) them literally “twisting you into a pretezel” and getting you into a semi-back bridge even if you’ve never done it before.
Pop, crackle, pop! I still remember the snaps that emanated from my back the first time a lady pulled me into that back bridge (when I least expected it).
The back bridge, and all it’s variants, btw are great exercises for back and spine health, and feature prominently in 0 Excuses Fitness. A great alternative to regular visits to the chiro – if you so choose!
(0 Excuses Fitness is available right here – – http://0excusesfitness.com/0excusesfitnessystem/)
Anyhow, how do these young ladies build this sort of incredible strength in their wrists, fingers and forearms?
How do they literally go all day long for HOURS – massaging one client after the other – with seemingly little fatigue?
Well, there are many reasons, but one prime trick is something that most of us know, and yet most of us ignore.
This one trick is a favorite for old time strongmen and wrestlers as well – and it is – the fingertip pushup.
There are many ways that fingertip pushups are being taught out there, and believe me, there is a right way to do ’em – and MANY wrong ways.
Do ’em the wrong way, and risk a finger popping out or worse (remember my January incident I spoke about? Ouch!).
Do ’em the right way, however, and you’ll build fingers like iron claws – and forearms of steel and rebar, if I might say so.
Believe me, if one of those ladies got a hold to your paw and were to give it a massive squeeze – you’d FEEL it. They’ve got some serious, serious grip strength going on – and given their tiny size, that is NO mean accomplishment either.
And since it’s so easy to use improper form on this excellent exercise, I teach you EXACTLY how to position the fingers and fingertips in the 0 Excuses Videos. Well worth a see – and even if you’re not interested in fitness, strengthening your hands this way will get rid of that nagging wrist pain many of you experience on a regular basis (sound familiar, huh?).
On another (last) note, the ladies I’m referring to were required to do uptil 500 fingertip pushups daily before they were even ACCEPTED in their positions.
It might have changed now, but thats how it was back then.
Think about it. 500 pushups a day. 500 FINGERTIP pushups a day.
Would it build strength? Fitness? BRUTE strength in the fingers and wrists?
Well, my friend – thats what I had to share with you this fine ‘here Thursday morning. I’ll be back soon!
P.S. – Yes, I could have promoted Gorilla Grip as opposed to tell you what I just did (a trick that by itself has the potential to turn you into a grip monster) – but the truth is that fingertip pushups are but ONE of the exercises contained in Gorilla Grip. Grab both these excellent manuals right HERE – http://0excusesfitness.com/gorilla-grip/ (the basic manual that’ll knock the average gym rat’s socks off) and http://0excusesfitness.com/gorilla-grip-advanced/ (advanced – it’ll have even strongmen screaming for mercy!)