Lever Shot! - Smashy's illustrated guide to levering

Discussion in 'Strength & Conditioning Discussion' started by SmashiusClay, Jul 13, 2008.

  1. SmashiusClay Avatar of Cyttorak

    SmashiusClay
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    Several posters have asked me on various occasions to produce a quick guide to basic levering, I've finally got around to filming myself demonstrating some levering exercises, now I can have a simple answer for the next time someone asks about this.

    A few quick notes before we begin - This was filmed on my cheap digital camera and then I took screen caps, as a result the quality is questionable, if you need a better description please ask or I might make some animated gifs to make things clearer. Not every single levering excercise can be covered here, but I've covered most of my favourites, if you're desperate for something to be added let me know. Yes, my beard looks dumb, it's purely for comedic value so let's not fill this with 'lol at beard' comments like my last video. Yes, I'm only using an 8lb hammer and I'm choked fairly far up on it, this is a demo, not a workout.

    Why should I lever?

    Levering is one of the best exercises for developing overall hand and forarm strength, it's also a perfect way of preparing yourself for the stresses of steel bending (the best exercise for hand and forearm strength IMO). It's also cheap. simple and easy to get started in. The carryover is obvious - anytime you need to swing a bat, club, racket or person you'll need the strength you develop from levering; anytime you try to push, pull, control or throw any kind of weight or opponent you'll use the strength you'll develop from levering.

    What do I need?

    You need some form of weight with a handle - common examples are a sledgehammer and a Thor hammer (both are pictured below), but you could also use a dumbell with weights on only one end or a large steel bar. Sledgehammers are cool and easy to come by, but take up a lot of space and you can't change the weight on the end easily; Thor hammers are easily adjustable in weight but not as cool and don't generate as much angular momentum for a given torque and angular speed.

    How do I make an exercise more difficult?

    The further from the weight of a hammer you grip the more torque it will require to lever, if you get to the end of a hammer you need to add more weight to the end, easily done with a Thor hammer, but with a sledgehammer you'll neeed a new one.

    How do I make a Thor Hammer?

    1" OD pipe, a screwdriver, some standard weight plates and two hose clamps. Fix one clamp at the end, put weight on pipe against clamp and add the second clamp to hold it in place. Make sure the clamps are tight as if the weights come loose you could get some broken toes or drop a plate on your face.

    How often should I lever?

    Depends on the rest of your training, I try to fit in 1-3 sessions a week and seem to do best from 2 heavy sessions a week and some other grip and forearm strength work in the rest of the week. Vary your training between all out attempts and higher rep training, try to train your wrists in all directions regularly to avoid muscle imbalances.

    WARNING - Some of the exercises featured here involve lifting a weight above you head supported only by the small muscles around your wrist, if you are stupid you can bring the head of a sledgehammer down on the top of your head. This would hurt. While learning all these lift use your free hand to spot yourself and only use weights you can manage easily to start with.

    NEXT POST - THE BASIC EXERCISES
     
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  2. SmashiusClay Avatar of Cyttorak

    SmashiusClay
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    BASIC EXERCISES

    These are the levering exercises you'll wanty to get to grips with to begin with, focus on learning and progressing these and you'll be well on the way to phenomenal wrist strength.

    Forward lever

    [​IMG]

    Pretty simple, hold the hammer upright and allow the head to swing away from you under control until it's parrallel to the floor. Now use the muscles of the wrist to bring the hammer back up to vertical.

    Reverse lever

    [​IMG]

    Similar to the forward lever only this time you're going to let the hammer come back towards your head, be careful while lowering as loosing control and allowing the hammer to hit you in the face could be painful.

    Quick note on form - you'll notice my forearm does not stay completely level during these exercises, this is mostly down to slightly limited wrist ROM, don't get too hung up on trying to lock your arm in place, the important bit is that the wrist does the majority of the work in lifting the hammer back into place.

    Side to side levering

    [​IMG]

    Again this is very similar to the pr4evious two exercise only this time you're going to pronate and supinate you hand (turn it palm up and palm down).

    Helicopters

    [​IMG]

    Now we're going to do all three of the previous exercise together, try to keep the hammer flat and level and move it through a smooth continuous circle. This exercise makes an excellent warm up for heavier levering and steel bending.
     
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  3. SmashiusClay Avatar of Cyttorak

    SmashiusClay
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    SOME MORE ADVANCED EXERCISES

    Weaver lift

    [​IMG]

    Starting with the hammer on the floor you're going to try and deadlift it off the floor while keeping it horizontal, the further from the head of the hammer the harder it is to keep it level. Lift slowly and under control, using the muscles of the forearm to control the hammer and keep it flat. hold for a second at the top and the lower. This lift can not only be done for max weight or reps, but can also be turned into a timed event, just keep the hammer horizontal as long as you can.

    This lift should be done both ways round (with the hammer head on the thumb side of the hand and with it on the pinky side) and as a variation you can try lifting two hammers at once.

    Weaver walks

    A variation of the previous exercise (sorry no pictures) where on lifting the hammer to the end position, instead of returing the hammer to the floor, you try to walk as far as possible before the hammer can no longer be kept horizontal. This is a rather nice cross between levering and a farmer's walk that not only requires a great deal of muscular endurance but also forces the lifter to fight the hammer's tendency to bob up and down and wobble side-to-side as they walk.

    This lift is fun done with a single hammer but is much better if you have access to two matching hammers.

    Hammer pull over

    [​IMG]

    This is effectively a form of cheat reverse lever. The hammer starts out hanging vertically behind the lifter and the lifter uses the muscles of the tricep, shoulder and forearm to bring it overhead to a vertical position. Because the other muscles assisst the wrist with the lift, a much larger weight can be used and the wrist is taxed in a different manner. Try to make this one smooth controlled motion with the whole arm working together to pull the hammer over and into position.

    A variation of the previous lift I didn't film because I'm still not allowed to hit things uses the same motion, but the hammer does not finish in a vertical position. Instead the hammer is swung downwards into a tyre, not only does the wrist have to continue applying force to the hammer to accelerate it into the target, but it also has to struggle to regain control of the hammer after it bounces off the tyre.

    Hammer press

    [​IMG]

    Again this is an exercise where the whole arm lifts the hammer and the wrist has to work to control the weight. Starting out with the hammer at shoulder height and held flat and level the lifter has to press the hammer overhead while keeping it in a horizontal position. As pictured this exercise can be done with the hammer in both orientations. Shouting 'By the power of greyskull' at the top of each rep is entirely optional, but reccomended.

    DU lever

    Forgot to tape this one, but it's one of my favourite variations and has a great deal of carryover to double underhanded steel bending. This is a normal reverse lever but in this case the forearm is held vertical with the palm facing the lifter (mimicing the handposition in DU style bending). It may seem like a small change, but by changing the orientation of the hand the stress through the shoulder changes considerably and this can really make for some rapid gains in steel bending strength.
     
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  4. krellik Gimli son of Cisco

    krellik
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    In my opinion on of the coolest posts in strength and power for quite some time. Great fucking shit and lot of new stuff for me. -runs to 8 pound sledge-
     
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  5. zop <img src="http://img240.imageshack.us/img240/7201/

    zop
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    I like your beard.
     
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  6. Jake Martin Amateur Fighter

    Jake Martin
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    You look right at home with a sledgehammer. Also, thanks for this awesome post! Great illustrations as well.
     
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  7. niagareven Blue Belt

    niagareven
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    I was going to post this as well. It's seriously badass.

    Thanks for the post... I was going to start playing with my sledge hammers again this week and now I have ideas of things to do other than just reverse/side levering like I used to do.
     
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  8. mungos Purple Belt

    mungos
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    lol at beard.
    I'm using E-Z bar for levering, it's about right weight and gets the job done.
    Side to side and helicopter is something I've never tried before, well done Smash.
     
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  9. Klotz Shalom

    Klotz
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    Great. Thanks
    *should actually lever*
     
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  10. Cmart Compassionate Conservative

    Cmart
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    Nice tutorial!

    You look like a slim Tank Abbott.

    Right on!
     
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  11. Old Man Black Belt

    Old Man
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    Great writeup, thanks.

    Does the beard contribute to your grip strength?
     
    #11
  12. canadapride** Banned

    canadapride**
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    fixed
     
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  13. canadapride** Banned

    canadapride**
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    double post
     
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  14. BlastBeats Cogito Ergo Dubito

    BlastBeats
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    Great post!

    If there's a grip section in the new FAQ this should be in there.
     
    #14
  15. MatterOverMind Abort, Retry, Fail?

    MatterOverMind
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    Nice writeup!

    I've never tried helicopters, the weaver lift, or hammer presses before.
     
    #15
  16. Keiwil Blue Belt

    Keiwil
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    So smash, how many times a week should one perform these excercises? Is once a week enough? How many reps do you usually do or is it better to do a circuit?
     
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  17. vince89 Banned

    vince89
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    Great thread, put it in the FAQ!
     
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  18. Cap'n <img src="http://img248.imageshack.us/img248/1955/

    Cap'n
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    Coooooool. There was so much I was missing with my levering. Thanks Smashykins!
     
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  19. B3rserk3R Brown Belt

    B3rserk3R
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    Me too: like doing it. But now I know better. Thanks Smash!
     
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  20. Disembowelement I have to return some videotapes

    Disembowelement
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    Very comprehensive, thanks I can use some of those. I climb weekly, will add some of your exercises on my grip program
     
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