All NCK training programs start with an introduction to the concept of engaging the entire musculature against any physical resistance. I refer to it as Radiant Compression and while the act makes it possible to safely move heavier loads, it also helps the lifter develop a firm understanding of how to apply our entire ability to any physical task.
This article is about an engagement drill called "The Handshake Drill", which is a sequence that involves squeezing a partners hand with progressively increasing force. Though you could use a weight clip or a crush gripper, another person is helpful for providing verbal feedback about how well the force created is being transferred into the squeezing hand. The set up is identical to a typical hand shake, Person 1 will be squeezing while Person 2 braces their hand.
In the first part of the sequence, Person 1 will squeeze as hard as they can for at least 3 seconds, engaging the glutes by imagining “Pinching A Quarter” with their butt (see part 1). Be sure that you are visualizing the force of the squeezing glutes transferring up the body and into the squeezing hand. At this point, if Person 1 is transferring their force correctly, Person 2 should begin to feel increasing pressure at the hand. It is important that all the force created is being transferred up the body and into the squeezing hand. Also, make sure that you do this drill with both hands.
Before performing the next part of the sequence try this. Relax your body and poke your index fingers into your abdomen, take a moment to observe how deep into your belly you can push in. Next, brace your abdominal muscles so that you can't push your finger past the wall of your abs, notice the force that you are producing in order to stop your abdomen from collapsing. Now, apply this part to the handshake sequence. Squeeze your hand, tighten your butt, brace your abdomen and feel the force increase as it travels up your body and increases your grip strength. Person 2 should feel a noticeable increase in pressure at the hand.
The last part of this sequence is to squeeze your empty hand just as hard as your "shaking hand". To demonstrate this, brace your entire body, including both fists, your butt, and your abs, and imagine that you are bending an iron bar. You should feel the muscles under your armpits engage as well as the force of your entire musculature making your body rigid and stable. Once this is applied to the Handshake sequence, Partner 2 should feel the most powerful stage of the drill, as all of the musculature is working to support the squeezing hand by transferring a maximal force through the body.
Enjoy this drill and apply the concept to your exercise practice in whatever way you see fit, tell a friend who you know is trying to push their strength. In addition to exercise, this is a great concept to know for any level of manual labor. From carrying and shoveling, to everyday moving about our lives, Radiant Compression plays a large role in how much we support ourselves during activity, it is a skill to be practiced and elaborated on for the entirety of life and it is your birthright as an active human being. Enjoy!