Image Source: Adriane Blewitt
Hello DIESELS! I have a very special feature today. I am interviewing Adriane Blewitt, who recently became the first woman to certify on the IronMind’s Women’s Captain fo Crush certification for the Number 2 Gripper.
What’s most interesting, however, is the fact that Adriane is not just a grip strength specialist. As you will see very soon, Adriane has been a fantastic strength athlete, a leader in her craft for many years, and is just plain all-around strong, completely proving wrong the myth that women who lift weights get big, bulky and look like men.
Enjoy the interview!
Adriane Blewitt, First Woman to Certify as Captain of Crush
Jedd: Adriane, could you please tell us a bit about yourself and your athletic background?
Adriane: Thank you for the opportunity to be a part of Diesel Crew, Jedd! I frequently check out the site for training ideas and I enjoy the discussions of the contributors.
My background in athletics has been focused on track and field and the throwing events. I graduated from Ashland University and had the majority of my strength education from my collegiate coach, Jud Logan. I was an athletic but wimpy 140lb. kid going into college and by the time I finished my eligibility I had a better understanding of conditioning, periodization, and technique in the weight room. I also earned 13 NCAA Div. II All-American awards that included 7 National titles and 6 Runner up honors.
I had the golden opportunity to continue to train with Coach Logan for the 2004 Olympic Trials and I maintained my US. Top Ten ranking. Coach Logan was a major influence in my quest for the Olympic Games. In my career, I have also trained with Charles Poliquin and then with John Godina. It was an eye opener how different their training is but the end result is always successful.
Jedd: Many women think that serious training with weights will make them bulk up and become unattractive, but you have proven this myth wrong for years. How did you get involved in strength training?
Adriane: Strength training and throwing go hand in hand. I could always move well but it wasn’t until I gained 20lbs. my first year that I understood what “mass moving mass” meant. I was fortunate to have great teammates and training partners to push me, encourage me and motivate me. I found that my weight gain and muscle development inspired me even more.
I put the hard work in and I could physically see the changes and experience the success in my throwing. In my opinion, some women are intimidated with the weight gain because they see the weight as a number on a scale instead of a measurement of strength. I still watch what I eat, take my vitamins and keep an eye on the scale only because I know that if I can get my body weight up to 180lbs. it will bring me closer to my goal of the Olympic Team.
Image source: BTiellSports.Blogspot.com
Jedd: Please tell us a bit about the strength sports you have competed in.
Adriane: Track and field built the base of my strength and competitive spirit. In training, I spent most of my time in the weight room but Coach Logan was also very creative and included alternative training methods for our group. Truck pushes, tire flips and grip training always made it into the program. However, my training for the highland games demanded a little more consistency with the inclusion of the offbeat plan.
Jedd: I know you have been a dominant force in Women’s Highland Games for many years. Could you please tell us what the Highland Games are?
Adriane: The Scottish Highland Games is a competition of up to nine events as a demonstration of strength and athleticism in early history. Today these events are still contested in the spirit and tradition of the Scottish heritage and entertainment.
The kilted athlete will throw stones for distance, weights for distance, weight for height over a bar, Scottish style hammer toss, the recognizable caber toss and then use a pitch fork to toss a sheaf bag over a bar for height. The games may offer 5 or more of these events and the athlete must compete in all the events scheduled. Most competitions are held at festivals or gatherings and can be found all over the world.
Jedd: What titles and other accomplishments have you attained in the World of Highland Games?
Adriane: I am very proud to be a two-time Women’s World Champion and the current world record holder in the 28lb. weight for distance at 50’11”. I am the first person, man or woman, to throw over 50 feet in the heavy weight event. I share the world record for the spinning weight for height event with Mindy Pockoski at 19’. I earned the World Caber Tossing Championship in Scotland at the Callender Games in 2010 and 2011 and won the overall Championship in Fergus, Ontario and Pleasanton, California.
Jedd: What other sports do you readily partake in? What do you have an interest in trying in the future?
Adriane: I love to train but in my off-season I love to golf. I started golfing when I was 8 and plan on golfing until I am 80. It would like to get with Ingrid Marcum and figure out the bobsled someday…
Jedd: How did you find out about Grip Strength and Grip Training, and especially about the Women’s Cert for the IM CoC #2 Gripper?
Adriane: My first experience with CoC grippers was my second year in college in 1999. A teammate bought a #1 and #2 and I can recall closing the #1 after a few weeks. Coach Logan started incorporating more fat bars, wrist exercises and pinching to enhance our hand, wrist, and forearm health. This type of training was essential for a shot putter.
Andrew Durniat passed the word to me as soon as the CoC #2 certification was announced on the IronMind online forum. I have trained at his gym in Wooster, Ohio a few times and he knew how close I was to finally getting it. Since the printed announcement in current issue of Milo I moved to Irmo, South Carolina and began training at Athlete’s Arena at the Sorinex showroom. Richard Sorin was very supportive in my quest and urged me to get on it as soon as possible.
Left to Right: Rich Williams, Adriane Blewitt, Richard Sorin, Donnie Thompson
Image Source: Adriane Blewitt
Jedd: Have you found that your performance in Highland Games has improved since implementing regular grip training into your routine?
Adriane: Grip strength definitely helps performance in the heavy events. Handling the implement and holding on throughout the movement can be challenging for weak hands but the endurance for up to nine events, three or more attempts at each event can take a toll on even the strongest hands. Regular grip training improves my strength endurance throwing and lifting.
Jedd: What kind of Grip Training do you do most regularly?
Adriane: I was pretty fortunate to train in places with fat bars, fat handle dumbbells, plate loaded pinch equipment and grip specific extras. Grip training was easy to incorporate in workouts. However, when I was coaching at a small university, I had to provide the equipment myself. I got creative and pinched plates, used grippers, squished silly putty, crinkled newspaper and finally used my prize money from my first Highland Game Championship to buy myself an Apollon’s Axle. I loaded up the axle for presses and auxiliary work. I now train in the gripster’s paradise in Sorinex with every piece imaginable with an impressive collection of blobs, Forearm Factory, multi-width thick bars, ropes, and things I haven’t even tried yet.
Image Source: Adriane Blewitt
Jedd: How did you train for the #2 Cert? Did you have to specialize on Grippers in order to reach the level of crushing grip strength in order to certify?
Adriane: My fiancé, Joe Wilson, set up my training for the #2 certification. He helped Richard Sorin recertify on the #3 and started me with the basics. We have every level gripper at the gym so I began with the guide to relearn hand position and set up for the credit card set. I chatted with Dr. Randall Strossen at the Pleasanton highland game and we discussed the difference between placing the card from the bottom of the handles with the hand supinated or keeping the hand semi-supinated and placing the card perpendicular to the handles. I continued to work reps at each level gripper with the new set.
Gripper progression with at least 2-3 minutes between sets:
- Guide (x10 reps)
- Sport (x10)
- Trainer (x10)
- #1 (x6)
- #1.5 (x6)
- #2 (x4-6)
- #2.5 (x2)
I would go through this series one time twice a week. Occasionally I would go for 5 second closes with the Trainer or #1 following the workout. I closed the #2 consistently by my fourth workout. I found that I had the hand strength to achieve the close but I needed the practice and reps for proper set to certify an official close. I used the IMTUG once in my training. They turned out to be an afterthought but I think I will incorporate them for my next block of grip training.
Jedd: What would you tell other women who are interested in one day certifying and getting their name alongside yours as a Women’s Captain of Crush?
Adriane: DO IT! There are so many women out there performing amazing strength feats that are not recognized. I appreciate the continued support IronMind and Dr. Strossen has for female athletes and it is great to see the encouragement from the strength world. I would tell women to take advantage of the valuable information on training sites like DieselCrew.com. The information is out there, find a gym, train at home, do what you can to achieve. Guys dig strong chicks.
Adriane, thanks so much for taking the time to do this interview, congratulations again on your accomplishments and all the best in the future with your training and competitions. I hope to see you at a Grip Contest sometime soon!
P.S. I have an article by Adriane that I will be putting up very soon on the Highland Games, so stay tuned, DIESELS!