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For this discussion I am focusing on gripping for the gymnastics movements on the pull-up bar and rings, and how your grip will help increase your power. Additionally, I will explain how to use your Victory Grips properly so that they protect your hands and help your grip.
Grip comes down to hand position, or should I say knuckle position on the bar or rings. When you grip, you want your knuckles on top of the bar. David Durante, Olympic Gymnast, founder of Power Monkey Fitness and CrossFit’s go to for all things gymnasty, terms this type of grip with the knuckles on top the “neutral false grip”. This is opposed to the regular false grip, used on rings, where the wrist is on top. (I will focus on the false grip in a future post.) When you are on the pull-up bar or rings and when you have your knuckles on top (neutral false grip) you are really locking in; and according to Kelly Starrett and Carl Paoli, you are exaggerating external rotation at shoulder level creating more torque on the bar (especially at the bottom of the skill), which creates a safer more powerful movement. This type of grip is especially effective on muscle ups, whether on the rings or bar, because it creates a more of a pushing down motion on the rings or bar, engaging the lats in shoulder extension allowing you to propel yourself on top with minimal bend at the elbows. Less moving parts, more efficiency, more power…amazing.
The best way to get into this grip with knuckles on top is to think about getting you pinky knuckle over the bar. Why the pinky knuckle? If your pinky knuckle is over then all the other knuckles are over, because your pinky knuckle is the lowest knuckle on your hand when held at a neutral position. One thing that you will notice is that your calluses, or the skin of your palm underneath your fingers, pinches between your fingers and the bar. Now, this is not a bad thing although it may be uncomfortable at first. The reason why this is not bad is because your calluses will end up creating a natural dowel that will help you hold on. This is like the dowel you see in grips for competitive gymnastics. Dowels on grips are not legal for competition in CrossFit, which is why you don’t see them. Besides, you will not be able to grip a barbell properly with doweled grips. You may say that this grip will make me rip more. However, Carl Paoli points out that having a good grip “you can now hinge around the wrist make the kip smaller and tighter and faster, you avoid ripping.”
Here are the links to references I mentioned:
In my next post I will talk about how to use your Victory Grips properly so they will not only protect your hands, but also help you create an even more powerful grip use the technique I just explained.