Nail Bending

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JeffC

Level 7 Valued Member
@Anna C In yoga I learned handstands against a wall and headstannds are great to drain the Lymphatic System, twists are also good. Between sets of squats, and hinges it helps move the blood out of the lower body, and allow fresh oxygenated blood to flow in. Between sets of upper body exercises it forces more oxygenated blood into the area for faster recovery, and a bigger "pump".

Handstands are a great warmup before pressing or barbell clean and jerk to stretch the wrists, shoulders, T spine and get the body ready to support weight overhead. Frog handstands against the wall are good to stretch the hips, and t spine before squats. I use handstands as a full tension plank also.

P.S. I cannot do free standing handstands very long. Oldtime Strongman Sig Klein said anyone good at handstands would naturally be good at the bent press.
 

JeffC

Level 7 Valued Member
It is very unimpressive until you try to nose lever a 12lb sledge hammer, or close a substantial 60 penny nail. Once you try or accomplish those basic feats you appreciate how difficult the harder feats like a 16lb slim lever, or a 1/4" grade 5 bolt are.

My wife doesn't get it either. She insists I am crazy and it is a waste of money. She is correct, but it is fun and beneficial for me.
 
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TravisDirks

Level 3 Valued Member
@TravisDirks Slim Levers, front and side nose levers and various choked levers transfer best to short bending because they strengthen the wrists and thumb in the same way.

I have done get up nose levers with a 48kg bell and 12lb hammer, I saw a video of Iron Tamer doing it, and figured it out myself. You slim lever the hammer in the half kneeling windmill position, stand up, and nose lever with the bell overhead, then return to the floor. Really impressive fun feat.

There are so many ways to use sledge hammers to strengthen the hands, arms, and shoulders. I have found dozens of great exercises from videos, articles, and blogs. Do some research and get creative. Wrist turns are a staple grip Prehab exercise for me.

I do a lot of handstand holds with no pressure problems. I hold handstands very regularly for 2-5 minutes. They are great pre and post workout and a recovery position between sets. Head pressure is only while bending because of the very high tension, and I am fairly new to it and not technically proficient yet.
I've seen iron tamer do that too. I'm MUCH more impressed now that I've actually done a little levering! Nice job! A slim lever with 12lbs is impressive! (I can see how wrists aren't your problem :p ) I spend very little time levering near the end of my 8 lbs hammer and I can see how especially slim levers would carry over since they have that "make the hand and forearm one peice then move" aspect to them. Looks like I know which direction to work in. Thanks!

Well there goes my headstand theory...
 

TravisDirks

Level 3 Valued Member
I was just telling my husband, "Some of the strength people are really into nail bending. I don't really know why, but I haven't tried it yet.". He said, "I don't know why either. If you want to impress me, straighten one back out." :)
l got into nail bending via steel scrolling. Steel scrolling is and an artistic zen like meditation in strength. When you get done you've got this amazing sculpture and you feel sort of relaxed and happy. It gets addictive, and I'm not sure it's possible to make one that is not awesome. I highly recommend it! (This is the DVD I learned from, but the concept is pretty simple: Start with a straight piece of metal. Use no tools and no heat. Bend it until it looks awesome or you are exhausted.)
Steel Scrolls.jpg

Here are some of mine. Theoretically scrolling could be cheap if you were willing to keep reworking the same piece. In practice I find I get too attached to start pulling apart and the costs start to mount.

Nail bending is quite a bit cheaper, and progress is easier to quantify. That is progressive training is easier. That why I started. Why I'm a bit obsessed: You still get a trophy, but it's an all out short intense effort and you walk away feeling like you could walk through walls. (Unless you bend until you can't any more)
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
For a source for nails to bend at roughly 50 cents apiece:

Level 1 white nails for bending, wrist strength - IronMind-www.ironmind-store.com

I did this once - can't remember which level of nail I used but there are still some here so I'll have to track them down. I found it wasn't a great match for playing musical instruments with your hands, which I do a lot, so I did stop. Grippers were OK, though.

-S-
 

MattM

SFG1
Certified Instructor
Let's say I want to get into bending and know nothing about it/never attempted it.

What would I get at the hardware store? What do I need for pads?
 

TravisDirks

Level 3 Valued Member
Let's say I want to get into bending and know nothing about it/never attempted it.

What would I get at the hardware store? What do I need for pads?
Well, you've got a couple of choices. At the extremes we have Scrolling of long bars (See here for in intro article and here for some of the top of the art form.) and short/nail bending.

For nails I started with "40D Bright Commons" you might also pick up some "60D bright commons". At home depot in CA they are 7 and 10 cents a piece. For wraps I ordered this - cut it in half. I would try and learn something about the technique. I've heard Jedd Johnson's stuff is awesome. You may be able to find an intro on youtube. I learned it here.

Enjoy!
 

JeffC

Level 7 Valued Member
image.jpeg @MattM For bending pads I cut them out of the back of a welding glove. Cheap and works really well. I never saw it anywhere I was in my garage, I saw them and I tried it and it worked. You could by a piece of Econo or odd lot suede leather for very cheap and get a number of bending pads from it. In John Brookfield's The Grip Masters Manual, he suggests use an old wash cloth, I would advise against that.

Standard size of a bending pad is 4"X10". You could start with 6"x12" and cut them down as you progress. You could by IronMind cordua pads, or by from other sites, but there are much cheaper options.

Buy a sledge hammer first. Practice with that for a while first. The wrist strength that can be built directly carries over to short bending. You can also use sledge hammers in too many awesome strength, Prehab, and conditioning to list.

For bending stock I would not by round bar from a hardware store it's too expensive. You could go to Fastenal, Metal Supermarket, scrap yard, or another industrial supply company.
Maybe buy some 3/16", 1/4", and 5/16 cold or hot rolled 1018 or other similar grade steel. There are much tougher grades of steel with higher carbon contents and alloy metals.

For nails buy bright common or spiral wound is a bit easier. Start with a 6" thin shank nail to figure out your technique. I blew through a box quickly, and was bending two at a time for a bit of a challenge. Then by some 60D#4, 40D#4, and the standard 60D#2. This is the progression I used.

Once you can close a 60D#2 with 4"x10" wraps, touching in the middle, with no rubber bands, you are now a short bender, and can attempt harder feats.
 
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bencrush

Level 6 Valued Member
I was just telling my husband, "Some of the strength people are really into nail bending. I don't really know why, but I haven't tried it yet.". He said, "I don't know why either. If you want to impress me, straighten one back out." :)
I've heard the comment about straightening it back out, lol. And it is much harder than bending it in the first place.
 

ZFJango

Level 1 Valued Member
The smaller 6" nails are .190". Which is strange because I can bend two of those at a time but not one of the .280 nails. I just kinked one but ran out of gas because I was doing other arm work. I will try to finish it while fresh tomorrow.

My wrists and hands are not the weak link. I invested a lot of time in sledge hammers. I am still trying to get my technique dailed, and redirect the tension out of my head. I have given myself a headache more than once.

I have not tried my bite guard for bending yet. Will also try that tomorrow.
A good trick for getting your entire body working on the bend is to treat each exertion like you would any other exertion. Inhale as you get the steel into position, and then exhale as you apply force. This keeps you breathing, but also will allow you to remain a bit more relaxed. It helps with those headaches. I never get that swollen head feeling any more.
 
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