This is a guest post by Jedd Johnson of the Diesel Crew. Jedd competes in Grip Contests, loves Feats of Grip Strength, and has written several Grip training resources, including his Nail Bending eBook and Card Tearing eBook which I highly recommend. If you bend steel you’ll want to pay attention to this article.
Does this sound familiar?
You can’t wait to destroy that new PR bend…
You set it down on your wraps and roll it up in a hustle…
You pull it up into position as quick as you can…
You plunge down onto it to get it started…
BOOM! You smash yourself right in the face.
It happens all the time. In the haste to try to get a bend started, you put your wraps on too loose and just as you get the steel to start kinking, one of the wraps slip and your entire torso recoils as you try to stop your hand that flies off the wrap, only to punch yourself in the jaw or lip.
This self-inflicted pain is a direct result of bending wraps that are put on too loose. When the wraps are loose they slide around and it becomes very hard to predict what will happen as the bend develops.
Unfortunately the hazards of loose wraps don’t just stop at the risk of giving yourself a knuckle sandwich. Poorly wrapped steel can also lead to an injury. When wraps slip and you lose your grip on the bend, you can have a number of things go wrong, including jamming a finger, twisting a wrist, or even pulling something in your chest or shoulder.
Getting a tight wrap is key to high bending performance and risk management, so here’s a few methods you can use to get a good tight wrap.
TIGHT WRAPPING METHODS
The most important thing to understand when getting a tight wrap is that you need tension on both sides of the wrap. You will be putting tension on one side as you wrap the material over the end of the nail. You also need some sort of tension on the opposite end of the wrap. Here’s a few ways to do this.
Place the wrap flat on the floor and put the end of the steel right on the very edge of the wrap. From here, take a position similar to a hip flexor stretch and place your lead foot on the front end of the wrap. This will keep the wrap tight while you wrap the steel.
If you do not have the flexibility to get into that position comfortably for that wrapping technique, then you can try this. Take a weight plate or a block weight and set it on the end of the wrap. From there, start wrapping the nail, making sure to pull tight every time you complete a half turn on the steel.
Optimally, you want to have a partner help you wrap the nail. With a partner, he or she can respond to your wrap and pull at the right angle accordingly. This is the best way to get a really tight wrap, especially if your partner understands how important it is to have the wrap as tight as possible.
OTHER KEY POINTS
Here are just a few other points to make a practice when wrapping your steel for serious bending.
If you are doing the wrapping correctly, your wraps should begin to lose their perfect rectangular shape after only a few bends. They should become more of a long trapezoid shape because on edge of the wraps will elongate somewhat. This shows you are pulling the wrap tight on each roll of the steel.
Chalk in the Wraps
You can get the wrap to conform better to the shape of what you are bending better by adding some chalk into the last few inches of the wrap material. This helps fill the gaps of air that accumulate, especially if you are bending a bolt or a nail with a head on it.
Chalk the Hands and Between the Fingers
When squeezing on the ends of the nail, the hand skin has a tendency to become moist from perspiration. This moisture can cause your hands to lose their grip on the nail, regardless of what bending technique you use. For this reason, it is a good idea to chalk you hands well. I suggest putting a bit more chalk on the hands when bending that when gripping plates. I also suggest adding chalking between the fingers to keep that area dry as well.
NOW IT’S UP TO YOU
Once the wraps are on getting the nail bent is up to you. Remember to apply proper hydraulic pressure on the ends of the nail or bolt. Pressing on the ends of the steel will help to reinforce the tight wrap you just put on by helping better concentrate force into the nail effectively.
As you get the bend started, keep in mind that as the steel warps, it heats up. While hotter steel is easier to bend, there is no need to try to rush the bend. Rushing the bend can lead to mistakes, a slipped grip, and more injuries. Plus, if your hand slips off because you are rushing, you will lose time on the bend anyway, so it is better to stay focused and under a controlled pace throughout the duration of the bend.
The techniques covered above should help you to get a good tight wrap so that when you go for your bend you can maximize the force you drive into the nail. Good luck with your bending and if you have any questions on wrapping or bending, leave a comment below.
Thanks and all the best in your training.
Jedd Johnson is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist in Northeastern PA. He specializes in Grip Strength Training but studies all types of strength training disciplines. His website, TheGripAuthority.com is centered around building World Class Grip Strength with the goal of helping all its members accomplish their grip strength goals.