No-hands routine

Our No Hands Routine was designed to provide a training option for a player who cannot grip due to an injury. Injuries to fingers, wrists, forearms, and elbows, occur frequently, and often prohibit a player from performing any multi-joint pushing or pulling movements. Some injuries may require a cast allowing the athlete to continue playing but prohibit the athlete from lifting weights effectively.

When an injury like this does occur, players often stop all upper body strength training (and sometimes for an extended period of time). Strength and lean body weight are lost rapidly.

It lacks logic to stop lifting during a period when a player needs to be his strongest (during the competitive season).

In our No Hands Routine our players perform every single-joint exercise in our facility. It requires performing the same exercise more than once but on a different piece of equipment. For example, we have three different Lateral Raise Machines (Nautilus Nitro, Hammer Plate Load Iso-Lateral, Medx Avenger). The volume of exercise will be too low if our players only perform four or five exercises, therefore we perform the same exercise more than once.

I constantly remind coaches there are similarities and differences between and among the strength training needs of a football player, a weight-lifter, and a bodybuilder. A No Hands Routine is a necessary contingency plan when there is an injury.

A well-equipped facility (especially for sports where the incidence of injury is high) must contain isolation exercises to accommodate injured athletes. If you are planning a facility for athletes and your budget allows, I strongly recommend you include the following single joint exercises:

  1. Lateral Raise (medial head of the deltoid)
  1. Rear Delt (posterior head of the deltoid, rhomboids, lats)
  1. Pec Fly (pectorals)
  1. Pullover (entire upper back)
  1. Rotator Cuff (external rotators)

If you only have these five pieces a No Hands Routine can be manufactured by performing each exercise in sequence (one thru five) and then perform a second set in sequence (for a total of ten exercises).

If you only have three single-joint exercises, perform each exercise in sequence (one thru three) and then perform a second, third, and fourth set (total of twelve exercises).

In our program single-joint (isolation) exercises are included in all of our routines. Single-joint and multi-joint exercises must be performed to generate total body maximum strength gains. Do not view these exercises as movements to be performed only by an injured athlete.

The energy expended to perform a single-joint exercise is less than the amount of energy used to perform a multi-joint exercise. Therefore we allow less recovery time between exercises. A maximum rest period one minute is allowed between exercises while performing the No Hands Routine. Some players will move from one exercise to the next allowing less than one minute's rest.

No Hands Routine Exercise Sequence

  1. Nitro Lateral Raise – 12 reps

  1. Nitro Pec Fly

  1. Avenger Pullover

  1. Avenger Lateral Raise

  1. Nitro Rear Delt

  1. Hammer Lateral Raise

7.    Nitro Pullover



  1. Nitro Pec Fly

  1. Avenger 70 Degree Fly

  1. Hammer Rear Delt

  1. Rotator Cuff External Rotation

12.    Hammer Front Raise



At the end of the No Hands Routine we include manual biceps curls with a towel and lying manual triceps extension.

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