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Mike Burke attributes his top-notch strongman grip strength to 20 years and counting of working construction. “I’ve swung a hammer and carried wooden beams most of my life,” Burke says. “Working with your hands gets your grip stronger.”
A world-record holder in two grip events, Burke trains his grip directly only to prepare for a contest; otherwise, it’s all about manual labor. “I use a 5-3-2 routine with strongman training on Saturdays,” he says. “I work up to a five-rep max one week, then a three-rep max the next, then two.”
Try Burke’s grip strength workout below and follow his top three tips to build the kind of strength that can be used anywhere.
WEIGHT: 345 lbs
RESIDENCE: Aurora, CO
SPONSOR: SBD Apparel
1. NO STRAPS
Lift as much weight as possible in an exercise before using straps.
2. GET WRINGING
Soak a bath towel in water, then wring it out dry. Repeat six to eight times.
3. LIGHTEN THE LOAD
Double-overhand deadlift light weight for three sets of 12 reps.
*You’ll need special equipment from Ironmind.com to perform the workout below.