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Half Way Through the Year – Are You Where You Want to Be?

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

Six months ago, on January 1st, you probably had some pretty big plans for the year.

Maybe you called them “New Year’s Resolutions.”

Maybe you just called them “Goals.”

Regardless of what you called them, the question you need to ask yourself is “Have a Done What I Set Out to Do?”

If the answer is Yes, then GOOD JOB. I am proud of you.

If the answer is No, then now is the time to get back on track.

I want to help YOU attain the goals you have set out to do.

I am opening the doors to the Diesel Grip Task Force once again and am taking on 5 new Coaching Clients.

What does the Grip Task Force Entail?

1. Completion of Training/Health History Forms

I will send you forms which will need to be completed. These forms will cover various questions related to your training background and goals. This will help me get to know you and your training history. There are also some liability forms that must be completed.

2. Initial One-on-One Coaching Call

For 30 to 60 minutes, we will get on the phone or skype and discuss your forms and your goals. We will establish where you are at now in your development, where you want to go, the equipment you have to train with, the gym facilities you have access to, and other important information that will help us get going.

3. Weekly Programming Updates

Each week, I will send you a training plan based on your specific goals. I will email these plans to you and you will be expected to complete them after each workout. I must receive them completely filled out by the end of the training week so I can assess them and make adjustments to them for the following week.

Each program I design is individualized for each specific member in the Grip Task Force. To do one program for multiple individuals would be irresponsible. You are each different and will respond to different loads, volumes, rest, and other variables that we will monitor.

4. Bi-Weekly Coaching Calls

Every two weeks, we will get together again via telephone or skype to help move you forward with your training. During this time, I can answer questions that have come up, we can look and see what changes need to be made to your program, I can watch your technique on the more technical forms of Grip Training, such as Grippers, Two Hands Pinch, and Bending, and much more. These bi-weekly calls will be like attending a live Workshop with me, without having to miss the time from work or pay for travel costs.

5. Grip Task Force Facebook Group

I have a Facebook Group set up only for Grip Task Force members. Here you can ask questions of one another, as well as announce new PR’s and share videos of your success. That’s what it’s all about!

6. Complete Access to

In addition to the programming I send you, you will also get your own login credentials to my Grip Strength Coaching Site, I started it in January of 2010, so it has 4+ years of content just sitting there, waiting for you to come and devour it.

7. Email and Text Access

In addition to the Coaching Calls every two weeks, you will also be able to ask me questions via email and text. I carry my phone with me everywhere, so you will be able to get a hold of me just about any time from 5:30AM to 9:00PM during the week and similar hours on the weekends.

The Main Idea is I Am Here to Help You Get Better

If you are not happy with the results you have gotten so far this year, then let’s work together to make some changes and get you going in the right direction again.

In just a matter of weeks, you could see the following:

  • Closing bigger grippers
  • One-hand Pinching bigger plate combnations
  • Bigger weights on Grip Sport Lifts (Axle, Two Hands Pinch, Sledge Choke)
  • Bending bigger steel and moving closer to that certification you are shooting for
  • Attaining big feats such as lifting the Blob and the Inch Replica Dumbbell
  • Performing better on all your other lifts because your grip is getting so much stronger!

Look, all of these things are well within your reach.

The problem is, there is something holding you back from reaching them.

In many cases, it is a simple TECHNIQUE FIX that makes all of the difference.

I have seen people increase a full gripper size increase in crushing strength by making technical adjustments alone. In other words, jumping from the COC #1 to the #2, and even from missing on a #2 to routinely closing the #2.5.

In other cases, the lifter may in fact be doing TOO MUCH WORK and they are UNABLE TO RECOVER well enough to make noticeable gains.

Nothing is more frustrating than when you know you are busting your butt in the gym, only to see very little in return.

If the problem has to do with VOLUME, we will be able to iron all that out through our weekly training updates and bi-weekly coaching calls.

In other cases, you may not be familiar with the established drills that have the biggest impact on the grip goals you have. You may not realize how much you are not aware of – TOGETHER, we can change that.

You may have a weakness that is holding you back. Weak wrists are an INFAMOUS progress killer. In other cases, your thumb may be so weak it is crumbling on you when you need it the most.

These are the kinds of things we can only sort out through direct one-on-one conversation, and that is what the Grip Task Force is all about.

Now’s the time to take control of your training.

Let’s end 2014 with a BANG by working toward your Grip Strength Goals TOGETHER.

Join me today…

Grip Task Force – Monthly
Monthly Payments of $125

Grip Task Force – Quarterly
Quarterly Payments of $299 (save $76)

Expect an email back from me when you sign up…

Can’t wait to get started


Feats of Strength at the Empire Classic

Monday, May 12th, 2014

phone book
Blasting Apart a Phone Book

Hope you had an awesome Mother’s Day Weekend.

I have not had a chance to visit my Mom yet. I was only able to give her a call, as I was out of town from Thursday on and just got back late last night.

I was away to Spokane, Washington at the Empire Classic, a big expo consisting of bodybuilding, physique, strongman, and powerlifting competitions.

I had the opportunity to perform Feats of Strength in front of 1200 people and it is something I will never forget.

Strongman Feats Show

Here’s the video from Saturday Night’s performance…

You will see I struggle quite a bit with the phone book. I warmed up with the same dumbbells and plates that the bodybuilders were using and my hands got super greasy and were slipping on the pan and book.

Also, I have been fighting with a sinus infection for weeks and weeks and was struggling with the hot water bottle. The first night, I totally failed because my beard was not letting me get a good seal on my face. The second night, I just couldn’t breathe very well through my nose at all, making the feat 10 times harder.

I really wish I would have gotten the Friday show on tape, because I wasn’t as rushed and really did a better job speaking. Recognized the promoter, the competitors, talked about Grip Strength’s importance, the sport of Grip, explained the feats, and even recognized the Veterans in the crowd, which is something I always try to build into my shows.

Either way, I had a ton of fun and learned a lot over the course of the entire weekend about promoting contests. Ivan and Erin Ribic operate a whole other level compared to what we do in Grip Sport. I was blown away at the level of organization.

Public Service Announcement: If you try a hot water bottle, use safety glasses. I forgot my glasses both nights and could have really gotten hurt badly.

Grip Strength Challenge

While I was there, I also ran a Grip Challenge booth.

As always, one of the biggest attractions was the Grippers I had spread all over the table.

One dude, a strongman competitor, was trying as hard as he could to close a #1 gripper, but just couldn’t get it.

Just as I figured his technique was off.

He had it positioned wrong in his hand from the start.

Bad positioning throws off the way the fingers pull on the front handle, making a gripper 25 to 50 pounds harder to close.

So, I ran him through 3 or 4 simple technique modifications and within minutes he had not only smashed the #1 gripper shut, but had also managed to close the #2.5.

While this kind of a jump is rare, I see guys going from missing the #1 to closing the #2 just through technique improvements ALL THE TIME.

That is why I urge you to pick up CRUSH: Total Gripper Domination.

The technicality of Gripper training often surprises people.

They are blown away by how much easier it is to close grippers once they understand the right technique.

No other source out there comes close to my Gripper Video.

I show you the stuff you MUST know in order to get good at Grippers.

Pick it up here today:

All the best with your gripper training,


Is Your Gripper Technique Holding You Back?
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Arnold Classic Survival Guide

Friday, February 28th, 2014

This weekend is the Arnold Classic and counting this year, I will have gone 6 out of the last 7 years. I love the atmosphere and it always triggers a spike in my training.

There’s something for everybody at the Arnold Classic. Let me paint a picture for you.

The Arnold take place in a HUGE convention center covering I don’t know how many blocks in the city of Columbus Ohio. The event started out as mainly a bodybuilding deal, but it has expanded over the years to include Powerlifting, Olympic Lifting, and Strongman contests as well as Martial Arts, Fitness and other competitions.

This year, they are also including their first ever Grip Contest on the main stage, called Mighty Mitts. I was lucky enough to get an invite and I am honored. I have been training hard and am geared up to get on the stage.

Now, here’s the deal. If you’re not prepared for the Arnold Classic weekend, you won’t maximize your experience, so here’s a few points to consider to get the most out of the Classic.

Take Water

It is extremely dry in the event center. They do sell water there, but it is like $8 a bottle, so pack your own and bring it with you.

Take Snacks

There’s very few places to eat outside the event center in the hallways, and it’s kind of expensive. There’s tons of free samples of hundreds of different supplements like shakes and bars and powders, but you can only handle so much of that stuff and some of it tastes like a pencil eraser during the SAT’s. So pack some good stuff to take in with you.

Bring Your Camera

There are lots of photo opportunities at the Arnold. There are Bodybuilders, MMA Fighters, Pro Powerlifters and Strongmen, Pro Wrestlers and dozens of Fitness chicks. They will often let you get a picture with them for free, but sometimes they do charge. Either way you’ll have photos that will last you a lifetime.

Wear Comfortable Cargo Pants

Get yourself a pair of loose fitting cargo pants with lots of pockets. This way you can easily carry your water, snacks and camera among other things. Make sure they are loose fitting and not a set of butt huggers. There are plenty of feats of strength to try in the event center, and you don’t want the seam in your ass to tear while trying to do them.

Bring a Back Pack

You may get the opportunity to get some free shirts and other swag while you’re at the Arnold. You’ll turn around and see some fitness model throwing them all over. Fight for the free shirt and stuff it into your pack. Aside from free stuff, you may want to buy shirts and stuff at the seemingly thousands of tables that are there, and the last thing you want to do is carry that stuff around in your hands all day. Now, if your back pack has the Care Bears on it, leave it at home. Some booths will hand out free plastic bags if you need them.

Try the Grip Gauntlet

Each year I have gone, the GNC booth holds the GNC Grip Gauntlet featuring IronMind Grippers, IronMind Rolling Thunder, and the Blob. If you lift the Blob, 207 on the Rolling Thunder, and close the #3 Gripper, you get a real nice gift certificate – I think it’s like $50 or $100! What’s a Blob? Check out this article = = > What is the Blob?

Bring a Towel

A lot of greasy sons-of-guns get their hands on the Blob over the course of the weekend. I mean THOUSANDS of people try this thing. The Blob is hard enough with the ultra-slick stove paint they put on it. It will just be harder if it is covered in hand sweat, so bring your towel to wipe it and the Rolling Thunder off before you make your attempt. A trip through the Gauntlet is worth just the opportunity to meet and shake hands with the Gillingham brothers.

Bring Some Cash, but Take a Deep Breath

You will have opportunities to buy a lot of cool stuff at the Arnold, so bring some cash or a credit card, but take it easy. Don’t just buy on impulse, because you could end up going off the deep end. If you are going with a friend, tell them to monitor your spending. Know what you want to look for, but set your limits.

Bring Your Diesel Shirt

When you walk through the event center, if you see me make sure to give me a holler, and wear your Diesel shirt so I can spot you easier.

Check out Mighty Mitts

Mighty Mitts will be taking place between events at the Arnold Strongman Competition on Friday Afternoon and Saturday evening. I will be competing with 10 of the top dudes in the world. Many, I have competed against in standard Grip competitions. Others, I have met before, but never competed against, and still others I have never met and never competed against. Some of these guys have tremendous Grips on them and have done awesome things Grip-related in the past, just never competed in standard contests before. With this event being all thick bar, it is going to be something to behold!

Wear Comfortable Shoes

You spend a lot of time on your feet at the Arnold and there is almost nowhere to sit down except on the floor, so make sure your shoes are comfortable or else your feet will be screaming by the end of the weekend.

Steal a Seat

It is a cut-throat process getting a chair in front of the stage. You basically have to swoop down immediately once someone stands up. This may mean if you are traveling in a group that you might get split up. The seat is worth it to give your feet a break, so steal your buddy’s seat if you have to.

Cell Phone on Vibrate

If you get split up from your crew, it’s very hard to meet back up, and it is so loud that it is almost impossible to hear a cell phone ring, so set the thing on vibrate and put it in your hip pocket so you will feel it.

Wallet in Hip Pocket

Not sure what the crime rates are at the Arnold Classic, but there are pick-pockets everywhere. it is slightly harder for someone to pick your pocket if you stick your pocket in your front hip pocket than your back pocket or leg pocket. Don’t stick it in a zipper pocket in your book bag. They are too easy to unzip by someone else while you walk and you will never know it. It’s a shame this tip even has to appear here, but it is a sad truth. Awareness is preparedness.

Alright, my friends, it’s just about time for me to hit the road and be on my way to Columbus, Ohio. If you have any more tips for the better of the order, then please leave a comment in the comment box below!

Thanks a ton and have a great weekend, especially if you are at the Arnold.

And if you see me and I don’t see you, yell, shout, hit me with a rock, poke my eye or something to get my attention. It’ll be nice to meet everybody.

Read about last year’s Arnold Classic = = > Arnold 2009

Arnold Classic Weekend Special on the Card Tearing eBook = = > 33% off on Card Tearing eBook Just $19.97!.

Gripper Training | Credit Card Sets | 20-mm Sets

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

Gripper Training Update

I have not given up in my quest to re-certify on the IronMind #3 Gripper, which I originally wrote about here: Evolution of the #3 Certification and My Quest to Re-Certify

During August and September, my Gripper Training was primarily focused on 20-mm Block Set work though, because I was preparing for the Holdfast Gauntlet.

Credit Card Set Training: 10/15/13

Here are some clips from a recent session where I worked the Credit Card Set intensely:

I am actually continuing to work both the Credit Card Set and the 20-mm Set for both hands during this time. I will continue to do so until I stop seeing improvement.

Gripper Training with 20-mm Block

I recently was able to smash my Atom Gripz Quad Band for a solid Double and a near Triple with the 20-mm Block:

No doubt my crush is getting stronger this way, as I am getting doubles with that gripper every workout now.

Mash Monster Level 0 Qualification

And, it is not just my right hand that is seeing improvement. I recently attained my MM0 status for the Gripboard Mash Monster system with my left hand, something that took me three different tries in order to attain.

With the Mash Monster Cert, the requirement is to set it to visual parallel prior to closing it. The set and close must be captured clearly for the judges to make their pass/fail call.

The gripper I closed is a 139# rated #3 gripper. This is a light end #3. My plan, at this time, is to sign up for the MM#1 and see where I stand with it, and to be able to try to pin-point a gripper in my collection that rates similarly, so I can focus my left-handed 20-mm training on it.

I truly feel one of the biggest things I have going for me in my gripper training in the near future is that I
now have almost every single gripper I own rated.

What I mean is, I have run each gripper through my own gripper rating system using the same device under as strict
parameters as possible.

So, I essentially know the order all 50+ of my grippers go from weakest to hardest, and I know how all 10 or so of my #3′s compare with one another.

I will now be able to approach my gripper training like someone would build their Bench Press or Squat, gradually moving up in weight a couple of pounds at a time.

This is a HUGE advantage, because there is no more guess work for me.

I just move to the left or right 1 or 2 places on the gripper table and I know
I am squeezing a gripper just a touch harder or slightly weaker.

I feel that gripper rating is a key component to my gripper training, and it will soon create an explosion in the number of new Captains of Crush, similar to the one that took place in and around 2003.

People will know exactly where their grippers lie and be able to set better goals and outline better programs for themselves.

If you are interested in having your grippers rated by me, please let me know.

We can set it up so that you send them, I get them, and I have them rated for you and on their way back the next day.

I have a special going on right now where it will cost you only $5 per gripper to get them rated.

Just email me to set everything up, or contact me on Facebook.

I also have other things I am working on along these lines that will make it EVEN EASIER for you to accomplish your gripper training goals in the future.

More to come. Stay tuned.

All the best in your training.


Take Your Crushing Grip to New Heights
Check out CRUSH: Total Gripper Domination

Evolution of the Captains of Crush Certification and My Quest to Re-Certify

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

Captains of Crush Certification

The Captains of Crush Certification is the most widely known Gripper Certification in the world. For men, it involves closing a brand new IronMind #3, #3.5, or #4 Gripper. For the women, it involves the #2 and the recently added #2.5, as well the #3, once Red Sonya hits that mark.

And while this much is fairly common knowledge for those who practice Grip Strength, what many people don’t realize about the Captains of Crush Gripper Certification is that it has changed over the years.

Most who have come into Grip the last couple of years have no idea that some of the people on the list of certified #3 closers actually did it slightly differently from how the guy these days must do it, and they are shocked when they learn about it when watching my On-line DVD, CRUSH: Total Gripper Domination.

Please don’t take this post the wrong way. I am in no way saying the guys who certified on the #3 under the old rules are pussies or cheaters or any less than the athletes who are doing it today.

In fact, I am one of the guys who certified under the old rules. I certainly believe that closing a #3 gripper with a deeper set is a fine feat of grip strength, after all, the hardest part of the gripper sweep is the finish.

What I am saying, however, is that I think it is definitely a tougher feat for those who have certified under the new rules.

As you will see in the video below, I can not close a #3 with a credit card set. But I want to very badly.

Before we get into that, for those who are not familiar with these changes over the years, I have put together a short timeline of how the cert has evolved since I got into Grip. Take note, I may be slightly off on actual dates of when things changed, but they are close enough to give the story a solid outline.

Captains of Crush Evolution Timeline

2002 – I found out about the IronMind Captains of Crush grippers and the certification from Rick Walker. The passion with which Rick spoke about Grip training was extremely infectious and I soon wanted to get certified as well. This is what got me involved in Grip Training.

2003 - I certified on the #3 Gripper at Fitness Headquarters in Johnson City, NY. My witness was Dave Thomas. At this time, you could use the off-hand to position and pre-close the gripper, provided the last inch was clearly visible by the judge. This is how I certified, along with an explosion of new CoC’s that year.

2005 – I believe it was sometime during this year that the rules governing the set were modified. You could still position and pre-close the gripper with assistance from the off-hand, but prior to going for the close, you had to be able to insert a credit card clearly between the handles to show proper set-width. Soon, IronMind began making their own credit cards to be used. These are pretty cool Grip collection items.

2006 – One of the first men to certify under the credit card rules, Tex Henderson, certified at the Sorinex Facility in Irmo, SC following the gripper event at the Global Grip Challenge. I served as the witness, and slid the card through for him.

After this, my memory gets really shady without doing some research. I know there was quite a drop-off in the number of newly certified CoC’s for a while. I also remember that eventually a rule was established that the certifying athlete had to swipe the card between the handles himself.

2007 – Richard Sorin, the first man to ever certify on the #3 gripper, re-certifies under the new credit-card rules.

2010 – Paul Knight, owner of one of the strongest crushing grips in the world re-certifies on the #3 gripper. Paul has since certified on the #3.5, closed many #4 grippers with a deeper set, and is a Mash Monster Level 7. He also inspired me to write the Push and Crush Workout, a Gripper Training System I have followed off-and-on since 2010 and steadily for a year.

Since 2010, there have been plenty of men who have certified on the #3 and #3.5 under the new rules, but I do not know of any other athletes who have re-certified, although there certainly could be some.

Since the rule change in the mid-2000′s re-certifying on the #3 has not been one of my main goals. I keep my sites set pretty firmly on deeper sets because that is what is used in contests. From 2006 to 2010, I was constantly training for Grip Contests and almost always a parallel set or 20-mm set was used, so I figured it would be counter-productive to work both the credit-card set and the deeper sets…but I was wrong.

My Students Have Inspired Me

In working with some of my clients in my on-line coaching system, I have found that without a doubt, it is possible to improve your crushing ability, both with credit-card sets and deeper 20-mm or 30-mm block sets.

Whereas I figured your hands would be too tired to get quality work on narrow block sets after working with the credit cards, as it turns out, if you are properly conditioned, and if you monitor your volume appropriately, you can progress at both ends of the setting spectrum, while training both sets in the same workout or in separate workouts.

Seeing the people I was working with improve at both ends of the setting spectrum on grippers inspired me! After watching person after person making increases, I decided that after the 2013 NAGS Championship Grip Contest, I would begin working the wide-set gripper training harder with the end-goal of re-certifying this year.

I see many benefits of this training goal:

1. Training the wider sets will strengthen the hands more, and contribute to my contest closes with deeper sets

2. Training the wider sets will most likely strengthen my thick bar lifting, because the hands will perform more work in the same general range as thick bar lifting

3. Training the wider sets actually seems easier on the muscles of my hands and forearms. Whereas sometimes my hands and forearms feel tender after deeper set gripper work, they do not feel this way with credit card work.

4. I will no longer have to tell everyone who asks me, “I certified under the old rules.” There has been more than one occasion where people did not know about the rule changes and when they have learned that I certified with a deep set, they look at me as if I have a third eye growing out of my head. Those couple/three times have been enough, believe me.

And so, I plan on posting more routinely about my gripper training, specifically on my credit card gripper training. The plan is to gradually work up through the many #3 grippers that I own. Each one is a little bit different in strength as per my gripper rating system, so it will be a good way to progress slowly.

For instance, I know my easiest #3 is rated at 138#, while my hardest #3 is rated at 154#. I figure once I am able to close the #154, I should be able to close a brand new #3 gripper, right out of the package, which has been another part of the rules for quite some time now, although I do not know exactly when it was instituted – in 2007 perhaps?

My Starting Point with the #3 Gripper

Here is a video of some credit card #3 attempts from this week. This is a 139-lb rated number 3. As you will see, I am VERY close to closing this one, as I am routinely getting it down to the 1/8″ mark or deeper, although I have not sealed the deal as of yet.

Incidentally, if you are interested in having your Grippers rated, I highly suggest it Getting them all done on the same rating device by the same person is the absolute best way to get it done, because it gives you an accurate comparison of all of your grippers. This is also a great way to know as accurately as possible, where all your grippers lie, which is particularly useful if you have several grippers that all fall in the same general range, and you can’t quite tell which are harder than the others.

To find out more about my Gripper Rating process, click here: Get Your Grippers Rated.

Thanks for all the support from everyone on my journey to re-certification. If you too are training for Captain of Crush status, I wish you the best as well.


Want All the Info You Need to Attain Your Gripper Certification?
Check out CRUSH: Total Gripper Domination