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Daniel Mesa

Thomas Inch Dumbbell: The Unliftable Dumbbell

Enter the realm of strength and grip training, and you’ll stumble upon an awe-inspiring legend – the Thomas Inch Dumbbell. Crafted by the renowned British strongman Thomas Inch himself, this unique iron behemoth has earned the nickname “the unliftable dumbbell.” 

In this guide, we’ll unravel the mystique surrounding the Thomas Inch Dumbbell. We’ll uncover the reasons behind its legendary reputation, guide you on how and where to find one, and delve into the specialized training techniques required to tackle this ultimate grip strength test.

What Is The Thomas Inch Dumbbell?

The Thomas Inch Dumbbell isn’t your run-of-the-mill gym equipment; it’s a vintage marvel with a reputation for being a serious challenge to lift. What sets it apart is its unconventional design. Unlike the sleek, evenly weighted dumbbells you’d find in most gyms today, the Inch Dumbbell boasts a handle so thick that gripping it feels like tackling a truly herculean task.

This unique dumbbell has earned the nickname ‘the unliftable,’ and for a good reason. Its grip-defying thickness, measuring around 2.38 inches (or about 6 centimeters), sets it apart from anything else. In strength and grip training, the Thomas Inch Dumbbell is an iconic and legendary symbol, drawing those seeking to conquer this ultimate test of grip strength.

Why Is It Called The Unliftable Dumbbell?

Why “the unliftable dumbbell”? Well, it’s not just a catchy nickname; it’s a label this piece of iron has rightfully earned. The Inch Dumbbell wears this title proudly, and for a good reason. Its design is nothing short of a challenge. 

Picture a handle so thick, measuring a whopping 2.38 inches (about 6 centimeters) in diameter, that it turns into a grip strength nightmare. And that’s not all – it comes with a weight that usually lingers around 172 to 172.8 pounds (78.2 to 78.5 kg).

When you combine the colossal handle with this significant weight, you’re dealing with a true beast. Even the most seasoned strongmen and grip specialists have found themselves grappling with this mighty challenge, making the name “the unliftable dumbbell” both fitting and well-deserved.

Where Can I Get A Thomas Inch Dumbbell?

These unique relics are rare gems, often cherished by collectors. To find one, you can explore specialized dealers who deal in vintage and antique fitness equipment. Online auctions, where fitness enthusiasts trade these historical artifacts, might also be a promising avenue. 

Alternatively, connect with the passionate grip strength community, where knowledge and opportunities to acquire such treasures often circulate.

However, a word of caution: these coveted dumbbells don’t come cheap. Given their historical importance and rarity, they tend to carry a substantial price tag. Yet, for those enamored with the history and challenges they represent, the investment can be a rewarding one.

How To Train To Lift The Thomas Inch Dumbbell

Lifting the Thomas Inch Dumbbell is no small feat; it requires dedicated grip strength training. Here are key training methods to prepare you for this monumental challenge:

Thick Bar Training

Thick bar training helps make your hands stronger for lifting the Thomas Inch Dumbbell. It’s like practice before the big game. Here’s how it works:

  1. Start Easy: Begin with regular barbells and dumbbells, but add thicker handles. These make your grip wider, like the Inch Dumbbell. It’s like slowly warming up your muscles before exercising.
  2. Get Used to It: At first, use handles that are a little thicker than usual. This helps your hands get used to the new challenge. You can do exercises like lifting weights, curls, and presses.
  3. Gradually Go Thicker: As you get better, switch to even thicker handles. This keeps pushing your hand strength. Think of it like going from practice mode to the real game but in small steps.

Pinch Training

Pinch training is all about making your fingers and thumb stronger, just like you’ll need for the Inch Dumbbell. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Squeeze Stuff: Find two flat objects, like plates, that you can hold together with your fingers and thumb. It’s like trying to keep two pieces of paper from falling.
  2. Start Light: Begin with light stuff that’s easy to hold together, just like two sheets of paper. You don’t want them to slip.
  3. Add Weight Slowly: As you get better, add a bit more weight. It’s like making the two pieces of paper thicker. Over time, you can hold heavier things together, and your fingers and thumb get stronger.

Gymnastic Rings

Gymnastic rings are fantastic for enhancing overall hand strength and control. Exercises like ring pull-ups and hangs can help build the finger and thumb strength necessary for lifting the Inch Dumbbell. Here’s how they can help:

  1. Hang and Pull: Use the rings for pull-ups. When you pull yourself up, your fingers and thumbs have to hold onto the rings. It’s like hanging onto a tree branch and lifting yourself up.
  2. Just Hang: Sometimes, just hanging from the rings is good. It makes your fingers and thumbs work hard to keep you up. It’s like hanging from a monkey bar in the playground.

The rings wobble a bit, so your hands have to work extra hard to stay in control. This makes your fingers and thumbs super strong, which is important for lifting the Inch Dumbbell.

Grip Training Routine

Building the formidable grip strength necessary to conquer the Thomas Inch Dumbbell requires a well-structured training routine. Here’s a detailed plan to target and enhance your grip strength.

1. Farmer’s Walk

Begin your routine with farmer’s walks. This exercise involves carrying heavy weights, typically dumbbells or kettlebells, in each hand and walking a set distance. This not only builds grip strength but also engages your entire body. Start with a weight you can comfortably carry for a certain distance and gradually increase both the weight and distance over time.

2. Wrist Curls

Wrist curls are fantastic for strengthening the muscles in your forearms and wrists, essential for a robust grip. You can perform both wrist flexion and wrist extension exercises. Use a barbell or dumbbell, and gradually increase the weight as your strength improves.

3. Plate Pinches

Plate pinches target your pinch grip, which is crucial for lifting the Inch Dumbbell. Hold two weight plates together (smooth sides out) and pinch them with your fingers. Lift and hold for as long as you can. Start with lighter plates and work your way up to heavier ones as your grip strength advances.

4. Dead Hangs

Dead hangs involve simply hanging from a pull-up bar or gymnastic rings for as long as possible. This exercise not only enhances your grip but also builds endurance. Try various grip widths and incorporate them into your routine for short, intense sets.

5. Grip Strengthening Tools

Consider investing in grip-strengthening tools like grippers or hand strengtheners. These devices allow you to isolate and target your grip muscles directly. Choose a variety of resistances and incorporate them into your routine for specific grip-focused workouts.

6. Recovery and Rest

Adequate rest is crucial for recovery and muscle growth. Ensure you allow your grip muscles time to recover between intense grip workouts. Overtraining can lead to injury and hinder progress.

7. Tracking Progress

Keep a training log to track your progress. Note the weights, distances, or times for each exercise. This will help you gradually increase the challenge and ensure that you’re consistently progressing.

Final Thoughts

The Thomas Inch Dumbbell is not just a tough nut to crack; it’s a symbol of incredible determination and extraordinary grip strength. While lifting this legendary hunk of iron isn’t a walk in the park, always keep in mind that it’s not an impossible feat. With consistent training, a sprinkle of patience, and a profound respect for the rich strength heritage it embodies, you can proudly stand among the select few who’ve conquered the “unliftable.” 


Has anyone ever lifted the Thomas Inch Dumbbell?

Several strongmen and grip specialists have successfully lifted the Inch Dumbbell, but it remains a remarkable feat due to its unique design.

How much does the Thomas Inch Dumbbell weigh?

The Inch Dumbbell typically weighs around 172 to 172.8 pounds (78.2 to 78.5 kg).

Are there any modern replicas of the Inch Dumbbell available for training?

Yes, some companies manufacture replica Inch Dumbbells with adjustable weights to mimic the challenge.

Can women attempt to lift the Thomas Inch Dumbbell?

Absolutely! Grip strength training is not gender-specific, and women can certainly train to lift the Inch Dumbbell if they’re interested.

How long does it take to prepare to lift the Inch Dumbbell?

The time required varies from person to person, depending on their starting grip strength. It can take several months to years of dedicated training to achieve this feat.


  1. 10 Ways to Exercise Hands and Fingers. Retrieved from,for%2030%20to%2060%20seconds.
  2. Gain Insane Strength With Gymnastic Rings (All You Need To Know). Retrieved from