I did some very quick research after writing you that last email – so this is likely going to be a very short dispatch.
But, basically I looked up something I didnt really bother about before, ie the contribution of fingers to grip strength.
My contribution to that sort of discussion has always been very bloody blunt in that I’ve always said this idiocy of people not doing pull-ups with the thumb to “isolate” the lats … NOT ON!
Why someone would not use their thumb while doing pull-ups or any grip work is beyond me, I mean, when you grip something in nature, do you focus on “just the other fingers”, or any finger – same thing for when you’re wrestling, swimming, whatever, I dont think so! (or lifting things up!) …
But apparently the fools that believe in “isolate muscle groups” advocate this, so whatever – its stupid and I’ve never shied away from pointing it out, but that has been my sole contribution to such discussions.
Anyway – I sort of suspected the middle, ring and little fingers dont contribute a hell of a lot to the grip – but they do obviously help.
If you look at the area between the thumb and index FINGER – bingo – THAT is where your grip comes “hand wise”, that is usually the super sore area if you’re training right (along with forearms and shoulders, chest, etc) …
The Thumb is half of it most likely.
But anyway – since a lot of people believe in “formal reasearch” –
Here goes, from the University of Western Ontario no less…
This study determined the test-retest reliability of a grip device that measures the contribution of individual fingers to grip strength and described the pattern of contribution in subjects without hand pathology. Subjects repeated a set of three maximal grip efforts on two occasions separated by two to seven days. Intraclass correlation reliability coefficients were high (>0.75) for eight out of ten strength measures. The percentage contributions of the index, middle, ring, and small fingers to grip were approximately 25%, 35%, 25%, and 14%, respectively. Grip and finger strengths were highly correlated. Anthropometric measures of body size or finger length were moderately correlated with strength measures. These data suggest that there is a predictable pattern by which individual fingers contribute to overall grip strength, which is partially related to body size. The ulnar side of the hand contributes to the smaller proportion of overall grip (approximately 60% radial, 40% ulnar). The clinical utility of finger strength measures should be explored.
The real point of me saying this is this – if what my buddy was saying is accurate, and it most likely IS – he FELT it – he’s got years of real world experience in this sort of thing (though he didnt quite judge the weight of a heavy ass suitcase accurately despite lifting weights for years, hehe) …
… well then, I’ve just followed my own advice – yet again – unconsciously -for years.
By strengthening the WEAKEST Links in the chain!
I’ve said it often, you’re only as strong as your weakest link, my friend.
Life, business, fitness, all of it – you focus on your strengths yes, but you also focus on strengthening your WEAK links to the point they no longer stay “that weak” (although your strengths will always remain your strengths).
Think about it, if “all my strength” comes from (or “most”) from an area of the hand which contributes no more than 25% or so …
(of course, I dont put much paid into these sort of studies, they’ve never worked for me, including this idiocy about “underweight” – even BMI indexes and stuff, some super fit people fail those tests (and of course lazy asses globally use that as an excuse to justify their own “phatness” hehe) but still..)
And thats the point of this.