Build your own Dynamometer
Section reprinted from the article ‘Develop the Grip & Forearm’ by Peary Rader, from Iron Man magazine, Vol.8 No.2, July 1948.
A few years ago we used to promote a weight lifting contest in connection with a local Fall Festival program every fall. One of the most popular contests was the gripping contest. To test the grip of the farmers and labourers present, we built a framework in which we place a regular bathroom scale. On the platform of this was placed a rod about a foot long on the end of which was welded a crosspiece. This rod passed through a cross brace of the frame which formed a part of the handle. When the crosspiece on the rod was squeezed towards the cross brace of the frame, it registered on the scale thus indicating accurately the grip of the man. The two cross pieces were properly spaced to fit most hands. The whole thing had to be picked up between the legs and held in mid-air while making the attempt. Thus the competitor could not cheat by pushing down against the handle with his bodyweight and it was thus made a pure test of gripping strength. This is the most honest testing device we have ever seen. Such a machine is easy to make and is an excellent method of developing a tremendous grasping squeeze. With it you can also have an accurate record of your progress. You should procure a good scale to be used in this device-one operated by levers rather than springs if possible.
[Editor’s note. Most flat bathroom scales would suffice.] Remember that when computing the gripping poundage you should also add the total weight of the gripping machine, which is hanging from the fingers during the test. [Editor’s note. It’s easy to just alter the dial of the scale to zero.] If you wish, you can thread the ends of the rod and make it adjustable to fit all sizes of hands by screwing the handle in or out on the threads. This requires a long threaded coupling on the cross bar. The young man who used to win this contest was a young farmer with huge hands and very large wrists. He could squeeze nearly 300 lbs. His grip was terrific. Many fellows who do a lot of milking have strong grips. I recall that when I was a young fellow on the farm, my grip was always much better when I was doing considerable milking than when I wasn’t. It is also good for the grip to drink some of the milk.
Copyright David Horne 2006