The Contact Points of Functional Strength

Traditional weight lifting and even what are deemed functional training exercises do not do justice to hand strength as do manual labor or labor with tools. But not everyone has enough work projects with tools to make a difference for their hand strength.

Yet nearly everyone faces the following daily or weekly:

(1) Packaged goods, wrapped foods, and sealed containers;

(2) Fresh produce needing washing, peeling, processing;

(3) Goods that come shipped in boxes;

(4) And the old Charles Atlas standby, frequent yellow paged directories dumped on the doorstep from competing publishers.

With each of the above, most of us resort to tools, kitchen tools, or office tools to cut, unzip, peel, pry, snap, peel open, or otherwise process an item we must unpack or prepare. Because we have internet, many just throw the printed directories into recycling.

Yet here is food for thought: where safe and possible, can you devise a method to use your thoroughly washed, cleaned, and healthy hands to accomplish these tasks?

Think of all of the varied pulling, prying, separating, tearing, breaking, and other force- intensive functions you face with tools every week, and try to face them with your bare hands instead.

Use your mind and dexterity to unpack or process these products in a safe, controlled way that doesn’t send the contents flying all over the room or get you hurt. This often requires more thought, force, and functional strength to do under control. And this is why we normally resort to quick-draw tools without thinking.

Therein lies an adaptive training opportunity with our bare hands. Now add to that the use of hand tools in construction and yard projects, and this can amount to significant strength training for your points of contact with the material world: your hands.

Here’s to training mindfully and safely!

WARNINGS: Beware of some hard plastic encasements on hard goods in which the plastic becomes sharp on edges when pulled apart or cut away. DO NOT DO THIS ON ITEMS THAT COULD SHATTER, BREAK INTO SHARP PIECES, OR OTHERWISE CUT OR EMIT DANGEROUS CONTENTS UNDER PRESSURE. USE common sense to avoid uncommon injury.

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