As I always say, don’t EVER count yourself out.
At the beginning of last Thursday’s session, I was questioning if it was even a good idea to train with all the aches and pains I had all over my body. It was hard getting warm, and it seemed like even the equipment was working against me, as my Pull-down Machine was giving me a hassle and so was my Glute Ham.
It would have been easy to just say, “Screw It,” and wrap the session up before it even started, but Luke was making the drive down, so I just put my head down forged ahead.
The resolve paid off BIG TIME, as I had what I can only describe as my absolute best day of thick bar training in my lifetime.
I’ve rarely been able to even Deadlift 2 Inch Dumbbells more than once in my lifting career, so to be able to carry them multiple times in one session is out of this world for me.
What’s crazy is my best DIFW probably would have been my first one, but I wasn’t prepared to even walk them. They just felt good when I stood up, so I decided to take a few steps and had to set them down because I ran out of platform to carry them on.
My training has definitely been dialed in as of late. I thank God for that.
After years and years of Inch Dumbbell Frustration, it is nice to have finally carried these beasts a few times the other day. I pretty much carried them on Thursday, in that one session, just as many times (if not more) than I have carried them in all the rest of my life, put together.
Next time, I gotta get them outside for some REAL distance!
All the best in your training!
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This past weekend was “Nationals,” the North American Grip Sport Championship.
If you’re not familiar, the way Nationals works is you must qualify via 1 of several ways.
One way is based on your finish in a sanctioned contest. Generally, top 3 in your class will get you qualified.
Another way is by breaking a long-standing record, such as a bodyweight record for certain lifts, or by breaking a World Record in other lifts.
Still, another way is to certify on highly recognized 3rd party feats of strength, such as the IronMind #3 Gripper or Red Nail.
Finally, if you can qualify one year, and you go to the NAGS Championship and compete, then you’ll be qualified for the next year.
Various contests take place all over the United States and Canada throughout the year, and competitors qualify at every single contest, for the chance to compete at Nationals, the biggest and most prestigious competition all year long.
In 2014, I was lucky enough to win the overall competition. The events were good for me, and I trained them hard, and it resulted in a strong win over top competition.
This year, the events were a bit different. They were events that I was OK in, but the mix wasn’t anywhere near as strong for me in 2014, so I knew I had my work cut out for me.
Going in, I knew my main competition would be Andrew Durniat and Kody Burns. Andrew and I have been battling it out in Grip Sport since 2008, and Kody has proven to be extremely talented in all forms of grip in the last few years.
I knew going in that Grippers would be strong for me. I have been closing my 170-rated Tetting 7 on a regular basis in training. I’ve done it before, but more sporadically.
The grippers used at Nationals are only used at Nationals. They were first used in 2014, so the 2015 contest was only the 2nd time they’ve ever been out of a shipping box.
Last year, I managed a 155 Left and a 170 Right. This year, I PR’d on both hands with a 160 Left and a 180 Right. I believe this makes me only the third or fourth person to ever close a Top Row gripper. There are three rows of grippers on the table, and 180 begins the top row. It’s a strange feeling being able to say that, as I have never been crazy strong on grippers.
Right Hand Grippers
Left Hand Grippers
Two Hands Pinch
What was once my best event that would be a sure overall win for me has turned into a nightmare. Training for this event went straight into the toilet mid-way through April for unknown reasons. In April, I had lifted an all-time training PR of 258lbs and broke 260 off the ground. Then, the next workout it was like I had no idea what I was doing.
I was able to get 235 fairly easy on my 2nd attempt, but 245 laughed in my face in my 3rd and 4th attempts. It would have been really nice to get those points, but I ended up just an inch or so shy on my 3rd lift and less than an inch on my 4th lift.
Kody Burns hit a successful lift of 254. This was the first time I’ve been beaten on 2 Hand Pinch in a contest since 2005, when Chad Woodall beat me at the Global Grip Challenge.
Double Overhand Axle
In contrast from Pinch, my Axle had been super strong throughout April and May. I was lifting 393 for multiple singles and some doubles in May. I just recently hit my first ever lifts of 400lbs on the Axle at the New York Grip Throwdown in April, so I figured this year would be the year I finally got 400lbs in competition at Nationals as well.
Unfortunately, I didn’t quite get legal lifts. I got them very close to Lockout, but didn’t have enough control over the bar to get good calls. Close but no cigar.
The Wrist Roller this year involved an elevating lift arm and a sled drag. I feel like I prepared very well for this event, as I cut my time down to a third of what it was in March when I tried it at Andrew’s gym in March. I got a little over 10 seconds.
Going into the Medley, I was sitting in 2nd Place. I didn’t know how far behind I was of the Leader, Kody Burns, though. I knew I beat him in Grippers, and that he had beaten me in Pinch, Axle, and Wrist Roller, so for all I knew I was down 3 to 5 points.
I didn’t worry about the deficit I was facing. Instead, I just focused on seeing each one of the implements coming up when it was my turn to make my run.
The way the Medley worked was there were two rows of 12 implements. One row was lighter, one row was heavier. If you completed the lighter implement, you got half a point. If you got the heavier implement, you got 1 point. You could try the harder one, and if you missed, you could go do the lighter one, but you would only get points for the heavier variation. So, the best possible score was 12 points.
I honestly thought I was going to Stack the whole Medley, except for the Sledge Lever to the Face. I figured I would run out of time to even try it, so my goal was 11 points.
To my surprise, the Saxon Bar loaded to 205lbs was EXTREMELY tough. The finish was very slick and chalk would not stick to it, so NOBODY ended up getting it.
Also, the Sorinex Anvil proved too heavy for me. I got it an inch off the floor, but nowhere near lockout. In both cases of the Saxon Bar and the Anvil, I had to go to the lighter versions and settle for half a point each.
Additionally, the adrenaline must have given me a kick, because I shot through the entire Medley and had time to try the Hammer Lever, and I completed it. So, that gave me 10 of the 1-point feats and 2 of the half-point feats, for a total of 11 points, exactly the total that I wanted.
The scores must have been closer that I anticipated, because the 11 points was enough to allow me to inch my way past Kody Burns in the Final Standings, and I was elated to learn that I had won the Overall competition.
With this victory, it makes my 3rd consecutive Division Champion and 2nd consecutive Overall Champion. I honestly couldn’t believe it.
I am beyond thankful to God for my health and my ability to stay focused. In past contests, my disappointing finishes in the Pinch and Axle would have resulted in a great deal of anger, but this year I was able to remain focused.
I am thankful to my wife, Delraine, and my family for supporting me in my endeavors in Grip Sport.
I am so thankful to have a great partner like Luke Raymond who trains his butt off every bit as hard as I do and truly pushes me to be better.
I thank my other training partner, Mark Gannon, who pushes me hard on Friday mornings and lets me work a little thick bar into the sessions, even though it eats up some time and makes me grumpy to train with.
I sent a note to my parents who have supported me in athletics since I was a child and these days listen to my Grip stories with the same attention they used to listen to my baseball and basketball reports.
I sent out thanks to my massage therapist, Rachelle and my chiropractor, Dr. Napp for helping to keep me healthy throughout the year and especially the last few weeks.
And I want to thank all of you in the Diesel Universe for all the continued support over the years.
I couldn’t have done this without any of you. Thank you.
All the best in your training.
Many have asked me what’s next for me. The primary goal is to lean up a bit. I have already made some modifications to my diet and added back in morning and lunch-time cardio sessions. If you’re interested in taking off a few lbs, check out Napalm Fat Burning. That program covers exactly the kind of stuff I’ll be doing in the next few weeks leading up to my August family vacation to the beach!
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
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On 4/18/15, at the New York Grip Throwdown in Carmel, NY, I finally hit a lifetime Competition PR on the IronMind Double Overhand Axle Deadlift Axle Deadlift with 400 and 408 pounds.
This is the best lift I’ve had in competition since 2007, when I first lifted 396lbs.
It felt great to finally complete these lifts, and the fact that there was absolutely no doubt in either one of them puts even more icing on the cake, brotherrrr.
Jedd Johnson – 400lb IronMind Axle Deadlift
Jedd Johnson – 408lb IronMind Axle Deadlift
It’s been a long-time coming, and I’m pumped to be able to share this with you.
Keep hitting it hard in your workouts. It’s all gonna pay off.
All the best in your training.
Learn the Basics of Strongman Training with the Introduction to Strongman DVD
When you read the title of the post, you probably thought I was going to try to sell you some kind of new training equipment out on the market when.
That’s not it at all.
If you want a truly strong grip, there is one thing you need to have that you might not be doing in your training.
I know for a long time when I first started, I left this out, and because of it, my numbers suffered.
Since then, I no longer make that mistake, because I keep this in my training on a regular basis now.
No, it’s not a special piece of equipment.
It’s actually much more simple than that…
If you want a strong grip, you NEED strong wrists.
Think about it this way…
Many of the muscles that control your grip run through your wrist.
So, all the power is running right through that joint.
If you’ve got good wrist strength, that power will pass through well.
If you neglect your wrists, they’ll stay weak, and that means you’ll never reach your potential with your hand strength.
If you don’t have good stability there, you’re SCREWED.
So, the question is, how do you train for wrist strength?
One way is with Sledge Hammer Levering.
Sledge Hammer Levering involves gripping a sledge by the handle and then lifting the head up and down, under control, using wrist strength.
Chances are you already have a Sledge Hammer. If you don’t you can use any type of leverage device.
A mop or mop handle will work great.
Even a baseball bat can do the trick.
Remember, your objective is to work against leverage through a variety of angles, in order to make the wrists as strong as possible.
Because if you don’t have strong wrists, there’s virtually NO WAY you can have a strong grip.
If you want ideas on how to build wrist strength, check this out: Lever Bigger Hammers.
All the best in your training.
Bring Up Your Wrist Strength TODAY
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