I recently got a call from Dennis Rogers, inviting me to perform at the annual banquet/gala of the AOBS.
From their site: “The Association of Oldetime Barbell and Strongmen (AOBS) is the arm of WLO that focuses on education regarding Iron Game history and drug free sport, while the parent (WLO) concentrates on the development of the sport of weightlifting and amateur athletes, especially for national and international competition. The organization produces an quarterly newsletter and hosts an annual gala the educates, entertains and provides an opportunity to visit with legends of the Iron Game and old time friends.”
The WLO, or Weightlifting Org., Inc., is “… a 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit corporation. It was created to educate the public and public institutions regarding the nature, benefits and history of weightlifting and related activities; the hazards of drug use and benefits of drug free sport; and to develop amateur athletes for national and international weightlifting competition.”
You can learn more about WLO and AOBS here.
I am totally honored to be invited to perform this year. In the past, true legends of strength and strongmanism have performed at the AOBS dinner, including names like Slim “The Hammer Man” Farman, Dennis Rogers, Stanless Steel, “The Human Vise” Pat Povilaitis, and Steve Weiner, just to name a few.
I feel particularly privileged to be chosen to perform this year because I’ll be doing something a little different, in my presentation.
I’ll be performing feats of grip strength, with popular grip challenge items, like the Inch Dumbbell and 50-lb Blob.
50lb Blob (right-hand) Inch Dumbbell (left-hand)
Since finding out about this incredible opportunity, I’ve totally re-examined my training, and have taken some emphasis away from my Grip Sport competition preparation (the King Kong of Grip is taking place on October 24th), and more toward refining some of my specialty feats with the Blob and Inch Dumbbell.
As a result of keying in on the Blob and Inch Dumbbell, my performance has truly skyrocketed, and I’m breaking through barriers that have been in my way for several years.
Here’s a couple examples…
Blob Deadlift for Reps
In 2009, out of nowhere, I decided to go for 40 repetitions in the Blob Deadlift. I don’t remember why anymore, to be honest. Well, I ended up miss-counting and only got 39, but that’s not important.
What’s important is it took my 6 minutes. Here’s the video from 2009:
50lb Blob for 39 Reps (2009)
I had stumbled upon this video after not watching it for quite some time, and when I watched it and saw that it took me 6+ minutes to get to 40 reps, I honestly couldn’t believe it. I remember thinking back then that this was pretty much unbeatable.
What a fool I was. There have been times in my life where I have gotten complacent, and this, obviously, was one of them. As I watched myself struggle to get to 39 reps, like a man with concrete boots trudging uphill through a quagmire, I knew that I could beat this.
So, the next workout, I dragged the Blob back out and went for 40 reps again, as fast as I could. Here’s the video:
50lb Blob for 40 Reps
It’s like my Dad always said to me as a kid. “You can never rest on your laurels.” In other words, you can never feel that what you’ve done is enough. You’re always capable of more. You need to know that you can surpass what you’ve done in the past with the right training.
Inch Dumbbell Rows
Another feat I just recently FINALLY was able to reach, involves Inch Dumbbell Rows.
I have been able to perform a Side Dumbbell Row with the Inch Dumbbell since the mid-2000’s. I think I got my first one in 2007.
Here’s another case, where I was letting my mind get the best on me.
For nearly 8 years, I’ve been stuck at 1 Rep. In fact, I remember a few times thinking that I’d NEVER be able to get 2 reps, meaning 2 consecutive reps, without dropping and/or re-gripping the Inch Dumbbell.
Inch Dumbbell Rows (2011)
Again, what a fool I can be sometimes! Why would I ever think that something is impossible? Talk about mentally painting myself into a corner. Unbelievable.
Finally, for the first time I was able to perform 2 consecutive reps in the Inch Dumbbell Row. Here’s the video:
Inch Dumbbell Rows
I’m still not totally pleased with these, as there’s quite a tilt going on, but I’ll continue to work on them.
Here’s the thing guys, take a lesson from my mistakes, and get your head right with your training.
The mental side of training is HUGE. If you’re head isn’t right, it will keep you from attaining your goals.
And you can’t rest once you hit a certain mark. You can’t get complacent. You can’t hit a goal and just get comfortable. Keep pushing hard and keep growing.
Get your mindset locked in, starting today.
And if you need help with that, stay tuned for a message from me next week called Mental Muscle.
All the best in your training.
P.S. Wish me luck at the AOBS on 10/17/15!
Training to Lift the Inch? Get This:
Training to Lift the Blob? Get This:
There were Superheros all over the place, this past Sunday.
From little kids with their faces painted like the Ninja Turtles, Spider Man, and even characters from Frozen…
To the athletes who participated in the 5K Run/Walk…
To the entertainers who did their thing after the event was complete.
It was a day to celebrate the inspiration we get from one awesome little boy and his family.
Sunday, August 23rd, was the 2nd Annual Mason’s Hope 5k Run/Walk.
And I had the honor to be a part of it for the second year, perform classic oldetime strongman feats of strength.
Above, I’m blowing up a hot water bottle until it bursts…
The whole day of activities is dedicated to Mason Barto, a boy from Towanda, PA, who has CDG (Congenital Disorders of Glycosylation) and it keeps him from living the kind of life most youngsters enjoy.
However, despite the challenges he faces, physically, Mason and his family continue to be bright faces in the community and an inspiration for countless people.
I know that when I came home later on and did my August of Arms workout, thinking of Mason made me focus in and take things a little bit further than my body wanted to.
It truly is my privilege to be a part of this great day each year.
Below, you’ll see the video of the entire show I did, and after I finished up, local singer, Aaron Kelly, who was on season 9 of American Idol, gave a little concert as well.
A great day indeed. I hope you enjoy the videos.
Intro and Warm-up Bend – Bending a Horseshoe
A nod to Pat Povilaitis, “The Human Vise,” and first person I ever saw do this feat.
Bending a 60D with Aaron Kelly in my Arms
A nod to Dennis Rogers, Grandmaster Strongman, who made this feat famous.
Bending a Nail on the Bed of Nails
I invited Mason up to help me out with this one.
Kid Lifting with the Strongman Bench
The kids always have a lot of fun with this one. I got the idea from Strongman John Beatty, who was once on America’s Got Talent and performs strongman shows all over the country.
Breaking a Chain with Arm Strength
I wanted to do something cool involving Arm strength, so I decided to break a chain. Looking back, I wish I would have gone for a double chain break, because the single ended up being too light.
Ripping a Phone Book in Half
This was a Pittsburgh phone book, so I made a couple sports jokes before ripping this book in two.
Bending / Breaking a Hammer
This was a Pittsburgh steel hammer, so I worked the Pittsburgh sports joke in one more time. Somehow, the handle broke on this instead of the neck bending like it usually does, so it didn’t look as good as it usually does.
Bursting a Hot Water Bottle with Lung Power
The hardest challenge of the shoe, I always feel like I might pass out doing this one.
Dousing the Flaming Hammer
This is one of my signature feats, I guess, since I light it on fire and talk about my original interest in becoming a pro wrestler called Napalm Jedd. I also use it to salute Slim “The Hammer-Man” Farman, one of if not THE oldest living performing strongman.
Performing feats of strength is a fun and reward form of training, and I’d love to share my knowledge with you, via any of my various resources. Please check some of them out below and let me know if you have any questions as far as what can be the best fit for you.
All the best in your training.
Tags: feats of grip strength, strongman feats, strongman feats of strength, strongman show
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Inch Dumbbell DVD
I’m excited to announce that I have a new DVD coming out soon on How to Lift the Inch Dumbbell.
This is a topic that readers have been asking me about for several years.
For many, Lifting the Inch Dumbbell is a lifetime goal of theirs.
For others, it’s something that they think they might never be able to reach, because it is so challenging to lift.
Well, I say, STOP PUTTING THE INCH ON A PEDESTAL.
With this DVD, everyone, from newbies in the world of Grip, to wily veterans who’ve set the Inch as their next goal, and even to the gripster who bought the Inch on a whim and is unsure how to go about working with it, will understand how to train on the Inch Dumbbell.
To be the first to get your hands on this DVD, add your information to the box below:
Here are some of the things you’re gonna learn when you pick up this DVD:
1. Inch Dumbbell Lifting Styles
There are 4 main ways to lift the Inch. You’ll learn exactly what they are, which one provides you with the most mechanical advantage, and which ones are more challenging.
2. Getting a Good Grip on the Inch
Do you just “Grab n Go?” They you might be making it harder on yourself to lift the Inch. You’re gonna learn the way you should apply your grip to maximize your grip strength, and also how to take advantage of the elastic properties of your hand skin.
3. Taking Advantage of Your Strengths
: You may not know it yet, but you may not be truly taking advantage of your individual strengths when you try to lift the Inch. You’re going to learn the three grip variations you can use on your attempts so you CAN take better advantage of your strengths and make lifting the Inch easier.
4. Inch Training Alternatives
What if you don’t have an Inch Dumbbell Replica yet? Does that mean you’re outta luck? No way! There’s plenty of good implements you can use to build Inch Lifting hand strength, you’ve just gotta know which ones are legit, and which ones are a waste of your time. You’ll find all that out here.
5. Inch Training Drills
There is SO MUCH you can do with your Inch Dumbbell, but you might not have thought of it yet. In 10 years of Inch Dumbbell training, I’ve discovered dozens of ways to work with the Inch. You’re gonna learn my absolute best Inch training drills so you can waste less time and move closer to the Inch faster than ever.
6. Inch Implement Drills
If you’ve bought a bunch of gear and you’re not sure what to do with it, no worries. You’ll soon see some High Impact drills you can do with things like the Rolling Thunder, Wrist Wrench, Gulley Grip, FBBC Crusher, Shot Loadable and Plate Loadable Dumbbells, and MORE!
At this point, your mouth MUST be watering to get your hands on this DVD.
Well, I’m not even done shooting this thing yet, so there’s gonna be EVEN MORE once this thing’s done.
While it’s not 100% complete yet, I’m at the stage where things are going to accelerate very quickly.
Make sure you’re on the Inch Dumbbell DVD List so you’ll know when it comes out ASAP.
For now, I’ve got a little bit more filming, quite a bit of editing, and some uploading and mastering to do.
All the best in your training!
Grip Training with the “Chunk”
My gym is filled to the brim with cool grip training gear I’ve accumulated over the years.
That’s what happens when you collect stuff for over 10 years!
Every so often, I like to dig one of the hidden gems out of the corner, dust it off, and give it a few pulls.
Recently, we pulled out the “Chunk.” This one isn’t really “new” to me, as I’ve had it since 2006, but I don’t think I’ve ever put anything out in the public about it until now. So, in that sense, I guess you could say it’s new…
The Chunk Block Weight
The Chunk is a 66-lb steel or iron drop, or scrap piece, essentially a piece that was cut off and never used. The Chunk is what’s considered a Block Weight. Even though Block Weights are usually one of the heads of a dumbbell, they can be any block-shaped implement that you lift with an open handed pinch grip.
Block Weights can be very beneficial for your training. They work the thumb very hard, and they make the entire lower arm work together in order to perform your lifts.
Block Weight Training is a great form of grip training to add into your routine.
Block Weights develop hand and grip strength in a general sense, which means it has the potential to improve strength in order types of grip training, and will carry over to other types of lifting because you’ll be stronger overall from doing Block Weight Training.
Here’s a few videos where we lift the Chunk and try some cool variations by adding weight to it…
Intro to the Chunk
Just taking a look at the Chunk to see its weight and features such as edges and surfaces.
Protected Training on the Chunk
With the sharp edges the Chunk has, we tried protecting our skin with a suede bending wrap and lifting it.
Throwing Chains on the Chunk
Adding chains makes it tougher to complete the lift because it gets heavier, the higher you pull it. It’s an excellent way to train your grip, borrowed from the world of Powerlifting (Louie Simmons introduced me to the concept).
Major Take-aways from Today’s Post
Here’s a few things to remember from today’s post for your training.
- Block Weights are beneficial because they target the thumb (often neglected in training) and develop the entire lower arm in a general sense.
- Block Weights come in nearly endless shapes and sizes and can be used for many different types of lifts.
- Don’t be afraid to pull from other established training protocols and try the concepts in your grip training in order to spice things up a bit and keep yourself progressing. Naturally, do so safely!
If you’d like to get started with Block Weight Training, but don’t know where to begin, then grab my Block Weight Training DVD today. It also comes in digital format so you don’t have to mess with shipping.
All the best in your training.
Discover New Levels of Hand Strength with Block Weight Training
Tags: block weight lifting, block weight training, block weights, grip strength, grip training
Posted in block weights blob, feats of strength, grip strength, grip strength blob, how to build pinch strength, how to improve grip strength | No Comments »
To me, the greatest thing about lifting weights is the never ending ways to challenge yourself.
Just when you accomplish one goal, there’s any number of other things you can do to make yourself better.
In the Fall of 2014, I pushed myself to the limit with 20-Rep Squats.
I wanted to see how far I could go.
I started with 225-lbs, and over the course of about 10 weeks, I worked my way to 355-lbs. I only got 16 reps with that, however, as on my last rep I strained a hamstring/groin muscle.
But I had no regrets. Sometimes an injury happens when you’re trying to see what you limits truly are.
After a couple months of rehab, recovery, and rebuilding, I decided I was ready for another round of 20-Rep Squats, only this time i was gonna do it a little different.
Instead, this time, the goal would be to hit 20-reps of Goblet Squats with the Inch Dumbbell.
Here’s my best effort to date in max reps: 13 with the 176-lb Inch Dumbbell on loan from John Eaton:
Goblet Squats are a great exercise. While they are usually used as a precursor to Back Squatting by using lighter weights, they can also be used for heavy training as well. On top of using the Inch Dumbbell for Goblet Squats, I was also using the 200-lb Kettlebell for Goblet Squats for a time this year as well. You can see some videos of that here => 200-lb Kettlebell Goblet Squats.
What’s interesting about Heavy Goblet Squatting, especially with a circus-style dumbbell such as the Inch Dumbbell, is that a part of the bell lies on your stomach.
So, not only is breathing difficult due to the dumbbell being held at chest height, you’ve also got the additional challenge of breathing through the belly against the lower portion of the dumbbell at the same time.
I liken this challenge to performing multiple repetitions of Atlas Stone lifting. The difference is, you never drop the stone to re-grip or load it atop a platform. Instead, it’s like you just keep going from the lap to the chest-load position.
Stone Lifting Technique: The Chest-Load
Above, Steve Slater lifts a stone to the chest-load position. Going from lap to chest-load like this feels VERY similar to Inch Dumbbell Goblet Squats.
It makes for an awesome physical challenge, and that’s what it’s all about, for me, when it comes to strength training.
I’ll keep you updated on the 20-Rep Inch Dumbbell Goblet Squat Saga.
Speaking of the Inch Dumbbell, next week, I will be shooting a DVD on that very subject. If you’re training to lift the Inch Dumbbell, make sure you sign up for updates about it using the form below.
Lift the Inch Dumbbell – Sign up Below:
All the best in your training.
Are You Training to Lift the Inch Dumbbell? This DVD Will Help You:
Tags: atlas stone lifting, atlas stones, inch, inch dumbbell, stone lifting, stones, strongman, strongman stones, thomas inch dumbbell, thomas inch replica dumbbell
Posted in feats of strength, inch dumbbell, stone lifting, strongman | No Comments »
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