by Al Myers
Would you like to try an exercise that works the grip, forearm muscles and the upper arm in one exercise? Then try the Block Bar Curl! This is a very simple exercise – but does require a piece of specialized equipment. I initially made this Block Bar for grip training, but the guys in the gym have found many other uses for it. It has the same gripping dimensions as the IronMind Pinch Grip Block (3″ by 6″) and is painted with the same slick gloss paint finish. The Block Bar is 36 inches long and weighs 45 pounds empty. I am really surprised no one has marketed a bar like this (at least I haven’t seen one). Really anyone could make one without even having shop skills. All it would take is two 2×6s nailed together, with a bolt on each end to bolt weight to.
It is very difficult to do curls with it, as all the arm muscles need to be contracting in unison to be able to execute the curl. You will find this exercise is great for developing wrist strength and stability. Surprisingly, you will “feel” it in the biceps even with the much smaller amount of weight used versus a regular bar curl. I think the reason for this is because of the added demands the Block Bar Curl places on the forearm muscles, and the forearm muscles must be in contraction at the same time as the upper arm muscles. This exercise has to be performed with good technique and under control or the grip on the block will be lost. The sets and reps we do with this Bar are pretty typical - 3 to 4 sets of 8-10 reps and adding weight with each set.
The Block Bar Curl is a very practical exercise, and the strength it develops in the hands and arms will carry over to work applications. Casey is a Veterinarian, and doing Large Animal Veterinary work requires strength in the hands and arms to perform some procedures. Much of his training is geared to increase the strength in his hands, arms and shoulders. His training is not just about getting stronger, but about making his work easier! You have to remember weight training can accomplish different things for different people.
Casey’s favorite weight training exercise for fishing!