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SpareTopChange

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Reply with quote  #1 
Some people suggested that I use the Gripmaster to build up pinky strength in order to improve my pinky count:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000UMHURY/?coliid=I2OO23C6SFAPSD&colid=3HF1PYV6U4Y77&psc=0&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it
Does anyone who has used these have an opinion as to what difficulty I should get?

I'm male with an average build.  I lift weights, but I'm not in contention for Mr. Universe.

Thanks!
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MagikDon

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Reply with quote  #2 
Wasn't there a physical therapist at the last Saturday Session? Sorry, but I forgot his name, but I think he was from Australia.

Don

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Anthony Vinson

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Reply with quote  #3 
The pinky count, it seems to me, is more a matter of feel and finesse than strength. What specific problems are you experiencing? Are you having difficulty mastering the count? Are you able to successfully count two, but not three? While no expert, it seems to me that practicing with the cards might be the best approach... unless I'm missing something. As for me, I slightly bevel the deck toward my thumb to better execute the count.

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DJ

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Reply with quote  #4 
For what it's worth, another technique to try...leave your pinky stationary but apply pressure with your thumb at the upper left corner of the deck.  The thumb is usually the stronger of the fingers.  A bevel helps as Anthony suggested too.
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magicfish

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Reply with quote  #5 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJ
For what it's worth, another technique to try...leave your pinky stationary but apply pressure with your thumb at the upper left corner of the deck.  The thumb is usually the stronger of the fingers.  A bevel helps as Anthony suggested too.

This is correct but should be done in correlation with the pulling down of the pinky as described in Ortiz' At the Card Table.
The best way to build the strength in the pinky is to practice the pinky count. Ortiz' description is the best there is.
Utilize the bevel and the thumb pressure.
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Chi Han

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Reply with quote  #6 
Quote:
Originally Posted by magicfish

This is correct but should be done in correlation with the pulling down of the pinky as described in Ortiz' At the Card Table.
The best way to build the strength in the pinky is to practice the pinky count. Ortiz' description is the best there is.
Utilize the bevel and the thumb pressure.


Agreed, he also gives a reasonable description in his At the Table DVD's and Penguin Lecture, but the book version is superior. Although, the videos obviously have him demonstrating it, which may be helpful.

Personally just him mentioning the word bevel was all it took, and watching to see how much bevel was required cemented it for me. I can count 2 instantly, and up to 10 confidently (albeit very poorly and with much grimacing).
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Gareth

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Reply with quote  #7 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChefDon
Wasn't there a physical therapist at the last Saturday Session? Sorry, but I forgot his name, but I think he was from Australia.

Don


That would be me ChefDon.

OK the numbers first.

40 year old average male whole hand grip strength should be approx 45 kgs in the non-dominant hand and 47 kgs dominant hand or 99lbs and 103lbs for you imperial colonials.

When the pinkie is immobilised and taken out of action while testing grip strength the grip drops by an average of 15%, so pinkie contributes approx 12-15lbs. So if you think you have a grip strength and pinkie strength a bit below average then you might look at a resistance of 10lbs and up. Getting a resistance less than 10lbs would not offer enough resistance for a training effect.

During the discussion in the session I think Jim said he got the strongest one and that makes most sense (looks like his was the grey one. There appears to be one that is even stronger the 'Gold' one on the amazon link). This is of course a discussion about resistance training and strength. Is that what you are after?

Jim's made the point of "build up the strength and the precision will follow" I'm not sure that is a solid connection. My thinking would be that precision comes with practicing with precision and is imdependent of the amount of resistance beyond a certain cut-off,  but I'm certain Jim's pinkie count and experience far outweighs and outshines mine so I'd accept his advice on any facet of sleight of hand.

I don't think you need 10-12lbs of power to click 3 inner right corners cards off the packet. I think you need endurance and softness. Perhaps you need more strength to count 26 reliably.

Pulling the deck down hard and strong, giving the deck a big bend and building lots of pressure is gonna result in 2 things, loss of delicate control card to card, and CLICKS, big, loud count-along-with-me-everyone-while-I-get-a-break-under-these-top-five-cards clicks.

  • I think Andru's advice of rolling the pinkie was excellent.
  • Andru's pinkie rolling with Dave Wiliamson's advice of starting with a packet of 10 or so and work on a delicate, quiet count or 2 or three, then add some more to the packet over time gradually.
  • I learned mine from the Darwin Ortiz DVDs and Williamson's Ridiculous DVD
  • In his lecture for us here Jason Ladanye talked briefly on the pinkie count.
Please remember I'm a hobbyist not a pro and have a reliable and quiet 3 count but nothing more. Please give Jim's opinions greater weight than mine. 
Thanks
Gareth

PS. Last night I re-watched Eric Jones's Lecture he did for us here at the forum. He had wonderful advice about how to build strength in the muscles used for a classic palm. Slightly off topic I know but he included exercises to do to build reliability and confidence in classic palming coins and balls etc.
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SpareTopChange

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Reply with quote  #8 
Thanks for all the replies.

I should clarify that I'm actually gradually getting good at this move.  I started with 10 cards and built my way up to 52.  I can now do the move correctly about a third of the time (getting the first card to pop up singly is the toughest part).  There was a time when I thought I'd never get even this far!

I'm still practicing every day and I'm optimistic about getting good at this.  But since a few people recommended the Grip Master, I thought I'd give it a shot.

I think a lot of people don't think that activity X requires a lot of strength, but that's only b/c when you're strong enough to do something, it no longer seems to require a lot of effort!  I suspect that's what's going on with the pinky count.  And I also think if you want to get good at effortlessly lifting 50 lbs (for instance) then a good approach is to practice lifting 75 lbs.  Analogously, if you want to do a pinky count reliably and without grimacing, then building up "excess" strength might be the way to go.

Gareth, thanks for all the advice.  Maybe I'll order the gray one like you suggested.

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Mike Powers

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Reply with quote  #9 
Jim Krenz was recommending the grip thingie to strengthen fingers for the pass and pinkie counting. I have one made for musicians, especially guitar players. It's called Gripmaster VIA. I'm not sure why they have a special model for musicians?? It does seem helpful.

Mike
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Bob Farmer

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Reply with quote  #10 
I use the Gripmaster Medium Tension but I use it for finger strength for guitar and sax playing.

I've never used a pinky count--with some thought, you can always come up with some other strategy that's easier.
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Wayne T

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Reply with quote  #11 
Maybe if I had have bought one of those grip master things bullies wouldn't have kicked sand in my face at the beach, alas I wasted my money on the Sea Monkeys and X-Ray specs.[rofl]



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Bmat

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Reply with quote  #12 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne T
Maybe if I had have bought one of those grip master things bullies wouldn't have kicked sand in my face at the beach, alas I wasted my money on the Sea Monkeys and X-Ray specs.[rofl]




Me too.  And those sea monkeys were really hard to train!  I had not realized brine shrimp could be so stubborn.

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Dave Campbell

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Reply with quote  #13 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blathermist
As for guitar, the surest workout is a cheap "guaranteed not to split" acoustic effort. Strings about an inch above the fretboard. That’s the kind of thing I learned my three skiffle chords on. It’s the Fenders and Gibsons and suchlike with their super-low action that turns us into feeble wrist-wimps.


Had to laugh at that one, Blathermist!

I have a classical guitar I brought back with me from Germany when getting out of the Army. The wider neck and the action make it a great one to practice on. Then when on a gig, the action on my Gibson is awesome and I feel like my fingers can fly.

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Michaelblue

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Reply with quote  #14 
Darwin Ortiz says that constant pratice of the pinky count is the to get pinky strength. It's not an easy one to get down, though
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Dave Campbell

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Reply with quote  #15 
Playing guitar for 56 years without any issues using my pinky hasn't helped my pinky count one bit. I can hit it once or twice then things go to crap.

Pinky pull-downs counting 1 or 2 cards I'm better at.

Once I learned Larry Jennings "Snap Double", I stopped being overly concerned about pinky counting. I can hit 2 any time I want, and 3 if I try. And it doesn't necessarily have to 'snap' either.

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Gilles

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Reply with quote  #16 
I'm late on this one, but this is how I trained my pinky when I began magic twelve years ago: very effective... and quite inexpensive! The wieight is an old half-kilo (One pound, give or take) I found on a flea market , but anything would do! Begin with no more than a half-pound or less! You need to make 3x10 reps in the beginning, then 3x20, that's the Pinky Gold Gym! Resting the tip of  your third finger on the edge of a table makes it easier. Second exercise is same but palm up this time, the nail of the first, second, third fingers on the edge of the table. Voilà! Pinky training.jpg 
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Gilles

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Reply with quote  #17 
Gerard Majax- for the french magicians from the seventies!- used to practice this with a bunch of keys...
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Gilles

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Reply with quote  #18 
BTW I do own a Gripmaster Medium, and the spring is still too hard for my pinky; and like most of the hand grips it doesn't allow you to train your thumb, which would be fine for the pressure fan for example... I once had a tiger claw, or eagle claw but can't find any on the flea markets I eagerly visit...
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magicmann

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Reply with quote  #19 
Just keep practicing with a deck of cards and it will get stronger
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