MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -- With forearms of granite and fingers like vices, Jason Gulley sports a grip like few others.
To share that ability with others, the Murfreesboro resident and U.S. Marine combat veteran started Gulley Grip LLC. The small business manufactures and sells a thick-grip rotating handle he created — a Gulley Grip — that attaches to cable machines, kettle bells or to rubber bands for gym or home use.
The 32-year-old Middle Tennessee State University alumnus graduated in December 2012 with a degree in aviation maintenance management. But, Gulley has lofty aspirations beyond the aviation industry involving a passion he has developed over the years to help athletes and others develop stronger hands.
Gulley said the company is devoted to creating technology that increases the actual applied strength of the everyday laborer, individuals seeking rehabilitation therapy and athletes of all kinds.
“Simply, you can't pinch or crush it if you can’t stabilize it,” he said. “The folks that have this stabilizing power today are defined by coaches as having ‘country boy strength.’ Imagine an entire team having this kind of stability in the hands.”
An athlete himself, Gulley played for the Blue Raider football team several years ago, an undersized defensive lineman and special teams player who had superior hand strength — known by coaches as the "Gulley Monster."
After his football playing days, Gulley became an avid and nationally ranked arm wrestler and began studying the technical aspects and strength training surrounding the sport.
After studying the benefits of various techniques such as rice bucket exercises and weight training using ropes, Gulley decided to develop a 2-inch thick, rotating grip. He thanks professor Walter Boles and Rick Taylor in the department of engineering technology for making the first prototype, as well as professors Colby Jubenville and Don Roy for their help with marketing.
The business is also a Gulley family affair.
With manufacturing support from his uncle and sales and marketing support from his brother, Gulley said he is able to mass manufacture the grips, which can be ordered from his website, www.gulleygrip.com.
The product targets the “support grip,” which is the ability to hold onto something and stabilize it. Using the grip during exercises fatigues the hand and wrist muscles, gradually increasing their strength and producing “new levels of stability,” Gulley said.
Fellow alumnus and football player SaCoby Carter, 24, is a believer.
Carter, who graduated in 2011 and played defensive end for the Blue Raiders, said he wishes the grips had been around during his college playing days. He now uses them daily as he works toward a shot at playing in the NFL.
Carter said surgery on one of his arms last year weakened it significantly. Using the Gulley Grip quickly helped him to begin restoring that strength within a matter of weeks.
“I could tell a difference in my forearms immediately,” Carter said. “I could tell most of the strength was coming back.”
Carter said there are other types of oversized grips available that can somewhat help, but they do not have the rotating feature the Gulley Grip has.
He noted that football players, particularly defensive and offensive linemen, use their hands extensively. The Gulley Grip strengthens the player’s ability “to move another player,” he said, a key advantage on the field.
Gulley said 15 or more area high school teams are using his grips. On campus, MT Athletics has about a dozen of them available in its weight room and campus recreation also uses them. And just recently, the University of Georgia athletic department purchased 50 Gulley Grips.
For more information, contact Gulley at gulleylee1231@gmail .com.