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The Importance of Competition for Lifting

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

Let Competition Bring the Best Out of You

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juha

There is this dude over in Finland that I have been watching on-line since at least 2009, and maybe since 2008. I know that makes me sound like a crazy stalker type, but I don’t care. This guy is the ONE GUY who I try to watch all of his videos, because he is ALWAYS doing something that is a world class grip feat. It’s Juha Harju, the King Kong of Grip.

At the end of 2013, Juha started something called the Grip Monsters Challenge and it involved several different lifts. Each challenge lift had a rankings list. And what was awesome was it was not just Grip Feats, but other stuff as well, such as a Military Bench Press and a Strict Curl.

I LOVE COMPETITION, so as soon as I found out about them, I started submitting videos. While I also love winning, I didn’t win any of them, I just kept on hitting the lifts trying to push my numbers up.

In a way, this was no different from how I have always trained from the beginning. I have always thrived on training in a group and pushing one another, trying to out-lift one another, and even hitting more reps than one another.

In my opinion, competition is one of the best ways for you to break through plateaus and keep them from happening in the first place.

When you know you are going to be tested by someone else, it makes you work a little bit harder, get out of your comfort zone, and in the end you are almost always stronger, and better, because of it.

Do I always win? Hell no.

Do I get better because of the competition? Hell yeah.

Don’t be afraid to compete. The beauty of the Grip Monsters Challenge is you don’t have to go anywhere but the gym. You don’t have to get up on a stage or platform, and you don’t need to do a lift in front of anyone, aside from the people at the gym.

So, here are the videos of my best efforts in the first set of challenge lifts for the Grip Monsters Challenge:

Strict Curl

Top 7 Standings:

1. Juha Harju 20 reps
2. Stephen Ruby 19reps
3. Gabriele Ferdinandi 18 reps
4. Alexander Kirillov 17reps
4. Egor Golubev 17reps
5. Matti Heiskanen 16reps
6. David Horne 15 reps
7. Jedd Johnson 12 reps

Military Bench Press

I was really surprised more people did not try this one, since the Bench Press seems to be the most popular lift in the world. It does get much harder with the feet up in the air though. Don’t let anyone tell you picking your feet up doesn’t make the chest and triceps work harder, that is for sure.

Full Standings

1. Allan “Bench Monster” Jokinen 36 reps
2. Viktor Hlestov 25
3. Wayne Mealy jr. 24
4. Vano Sukhashvili 22
5. Matti Heiskanen 18
6. David Horne 17
7. Juha Harju 16
8. Jedd Johnson 14
8. Petri Partanen 14
9. Luke Raymond 13
10. Tom Scibelli 7
11. Travis Shaffer 6

IronMind #2.5 for Reps (20-mm Block)

I was shocked I came in 3rd here. To be perfectly honest, the #2.5 I used only rated 123-lbs, so it is lighter, but I also think I was just plain on when I got my 27 reps. I haven’t gotten past 20 in my other attempts since that day.

Top 9 Standings:

1. Juha Harju 31reps
2. Vano Sukhashvili 30 reps
3. Jedd Johnson 27 reps
4. Joshua Odell 17 reps
5. Serg Sankov 13 reps
6. Jon Vance 12 reps
6. David Wigren 12 toistoa.
7. Thomas Scibelli 10 toistoa
8. Juha Piironen 6 toistoa
8. J.Henze 6 toistoa
9. Luke Raymond 4 toistoa

2x15kg/2x35lb or 3x10kg/3x25lb Plate Pinch Hold for Time

This is the one that pissed me off. I was at like 30 seconds for the longest time. Then Luke scraped all the hammertone paint off and I was finally able to get a decent grip. Holding onto these things for the better part of a minute blows my mind. Awesome job to many different guys who accomplished this.

Top 10 Standings:

1. Juha Harju 2x15kg 95sec
2. Kody Burns 2x15kg 93sec
3. Grip monsta p. 2x15kg 74sec
4. Matti Heiskanen 2x15kg 73sec
5. Matti Harju 2x15kg 70sec
6. Pinch Master J 2×15 69sec
7. Jedd Johnson 2x15kg 55sec
8. Riku Karu 2x15kg 44sec
8. Juha Piironen 2x15kg 44sec
9. Vano Sukhashvili 3x10kg 42sec
10. Pasi Mehtälä 2x15kg 33sec

The period for submitting videos for these lifts has now gone by. As you can see, I didn’t win any of these challenges, BUT, I improved a great deal over the course of a month or two, just by putting focus on the lifts. You can do the same thing too. You don’t have to take part in a challenge on-line to do it either. If you are stagnant in your regular lifts, then do some different ones and get some progress going again.

A couple other challenges were added part way through and are live until January 11th, the Double Overhand Thumbless Deadlift and the 50-lb Blob to 50-cm. My back has been very achey, so I have not deadlifted heavy, but I did give the Blob50 to 50cm a try and am currently in 1st place.

Double OverHand ThumbLess DeadLift

Current Standings:
1. Juha Harju 230kg
2. Juha Piironen 200kg
3. Tatu Karhu 190kg
3. Mike Rinderle 190kg
4. J.Henze 183.5kg
4. John Wojciechowski 183.5kg
5. Juha Lehtimäki 170kg
6. David Miitti 161kg
7. Pyry Harju 45kg (13 years bw 37kg)

50-lb Blob to 50cm

I was pleasantly surprised to see this challenge listed.

Current Standings:

1.Jedd Johnson 15 reps
2.Juha Harju 14 reps
3.Nathaniel Brous 6 reps
4.Juha Piironen 3 reps

Will Juha be able to pull ahead of me? We shall see.

Also, Juha took a vote and has 4 other challenges that he will be maintaining lists for through the end of February. Check them out…

COC#3.5 Silver Bullet Timehold (2.5kg)

Tricep Dips with Extra Weight 1RM (bw+kg=total kg)

Ironmind Hub Lift 1 RM

Euro Pinch 80kg (As many reps as possible in 90sec)

2x20kg Plates Time Hold Left & Right Total Time

Like I said, I LOVE competition. Love it. I will be attempting as many of these challenges as I can fit in. It’s always fun to see your name in a standings list, even if it as the very bottom.

I hope to see many of you submitting videos for these challenges as well. Push yourself – You never know where you will end up!

All the best in your training,

Jedd


The True Test of a Strong Man: Stone Lifting
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The Purest Test of Strength


Top 10 Videos of 2013 Countdown

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

Happy New Year, Diesels!

Today, I have the Top 5 videos of 2013.


1. Fix Elbow Pain with Tricep Work? – 4143 Views

I don’t know how many people are bothered by high forearm and elbow pain, but I do know that it is WAY TOO MANY PEOPLE. Earlier this year, I learned that one possible cause of this, or a factor that contributes to it, is tight triceps, so I began stretching my triceps more as a preventive measure and shot this video to help out others who are having pain in the forearms and elbow areas as well.

If you are still dealing with high forearm and elbow pain, then get Fixing Elbow Pain today. This program has helped hundreds of people get rid of this annoying, nagging pain.


2. Prevent Elbow Pain with 5 Minute Warm-up – 3844 Views

One of my favorite warm-up methods for preventing elbow pain is a few quick trips through some easy and lightly advanced speed bag strikes. It gets blood flowing through the arms and elbows which helps lubricate the area prior to heavy lifting. BUT, if you don’t have a speed bag or know how to hit it, that is no problem at all. In this video, I show you a similar drill that gets it done just as well.

This year, I will be putting out a product on how to hit the speed bag. If you want to learn, be sure to add your email into the box below:


3. Get Bigger Shoulders | Kneeling Landmine Press – 2525 Views

In the dog days of Summer 2013, I was brainstorming ways to build my front delts a bit more, when all of a sudden I saw an article by Tony Gentilcore covering the Kneeling Landmine Press. I thought it was perfect – emphasizing the anterior delts a bit more, plus it is a pressing movement, which I love, and not just another version of a front raise. I have hit this lift on a weekly to bi-weekly basis since then and love them.

Here’s the original article: Get Stronger Shoulders and Bigger Front Delts


4. Misses Are Just Warm-ups | Old School York Pinch – 2389 Views

One of the feats I have been chasing for years is pinching two Old School York 45-lb Plates with one hand. These beasts are about 4 inches thick, the edges are rounded, and only 3 or 4 people have been documented as completing it, so I am happy to be one of the few you can count on one hand to have done it.

Here’s the original post from April of 2012, where I talk about my focus on this feat: Old School York Pinch


5. What is the Inch Dumbbell – The Full Explanation of its Challenge – 2037 Views

The Inch Dumbbell is a classic grip challenge. It is well recognized within the Grip Community as one of the true tests of Grip Might. In this video I cover everything you need to know about it, its history, what makes it hard, and why it is so awesome.

Want an Inch Dumbbell? Contact me for pricing. Also, keep you eyes open for a product on the Inch coming this year.


That rounds out the Top 10 Videos of 2013. Had you already watched them? Were there any you forgot about or missed? What was your favorite on the list? Were there any that you were surprised that did not make the list from 2013?

Add a comment below.

In the meantime, make sure you are subscribed to my channel to be sure you get all the videos I put out this year emailed directly to you. You click the following like to Subscribe to Jedd’s YouTube Channel.

Have a great year!

Jedd


The True Test of a Strong Man: Stone Lifting
Click the Image Below to Learn Everything You Need to Know about
The Purest Test of Strength


The Morning Ritual Just Got Greener

Monday, October 14th, 2013

Every morning, I start my day with the same exact routine, whether I am home, in a hotel, or at a friend or family members house.

You see, about 4 years ago, I was having a run of nearly daily headaches.

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This is kind of what the headaches felt like

Every day I went to work, the headache would start about 9 AM.

That meant the daily dose of Tylenol or Advil or some other pain relief pill.

Sometimes it worked a bit, but usually it did nothing.

I knew it wasn’t migraines. I’d had migraines before, and these weren’t that bad. They didn’t stop me in my tracks. They were just that dull, annoying, ache, that never changed, kind of like when the radio dial isn’t quite exactly where it needs to be for the station to come in perfect, and you are stuck with that little bit of static over top of every song that plays.

You know what I mean.

Ice-Ice-Baby

The static where it’s not Ice Ice Baby that’s playing, but Zice Zice Baby.

I knew it wasn’t a sinus infection. I’d had those before, too. I still do to this day. Generally, once in May and once in September my cheeks, forehead, and sinus cavity gets so filled with junk and the tissue so inflamed that every step feels like someone jabbing me in the sinus cavity with a pitchfork. And the only way to sleep is by placing my face on top of my fist so that the skin is pulled off to the side.

And I hadn’t had any head injuries, thank god, so it wasn’t some kind of trauma that had set these things off.

So I began looking at what else could be causing these low-grade daily headaches.

And the hunch that I came to was “maybe I was dehydrated?”

So, the next day, when I got up out of bed, I used the toilet, and I walked straight to the kitchen.

There, I filled up a glass of water, about 12 to 16 ounces, and drank it down. Then, I did it again.

My hunch was that I had somehow gotten myself into a rut of dehydration. I hypothesized that I was going to bed dehydrated, waking up dehydrated, and going through the entire day dehydrated, and this was causing me to have this crazy, nearly hungover, type of headache.

And I was RIGHT.

super-mario

Once I downed that water, it was like I had hit the re-set button on a bad game of Super Mario and was able to start over from the beginning.

That day at work, it felt awesome to be able to look at other Managers in the eye without having to squint if there was a light behind them. I could sit and have conversations with employees without shuddering in pain if their voice was high pitched. And my workout that night was the best I’d had in a long time.

two_glasses_of_water
Every Day Brotherrrrr

So now, every morning, since then, with only a handful of exceptions, I have started the day with the Morning Gulp – 24 to 32 ounces of water, depending on how big the actual glass is, and I always will from now on.

But tomorrow, I am running a new experiment.

You see, my good friend Mark, with whom I train Back and Triceps on Friday mornings, pointed out something that I have been over-looking all year.

The water that I have been pouring down the sink after steaming my vegetables every other day or so, is most likely LOADED with nutrients and vitamins. So, today when I steamed the latest batch, afterwards I poured it into this giant plastic glass, and even though it looks like alien urine, tomorrow, I will be pounding this like a Keystone Pounder instead of just plain water, broccoli stubs and all.

veggie-water
Left-over Water from Steamed
Broccoli, Green Beans, Cauliflower, and Carrots

The idea is that tomorrow I will not only start the day off with a burst of hydration surplus, but also get a shot of vitamins and nutrients along with it.

Can’t wait brother.

Are You Chronically Dehydrated?

A quick google search on dehydration will tell you that an estimated 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated.

When you consider that it takes only a 1% dehydration level to drastically decrease your mental focus and physical prowess, let alone cause headaches, it is worth it to sacrifice the 30 seconds of your morning in order to jump start your hydration status.

Yep, 30 seconds to fill and chug two glasses of water, first thing in the morning.

Risk of Water Intoxication

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Naturally, if you drink too much water, it can reach levels that are considered poisonous, even carrying the names “water poisoning,” “hyperhydration,” and “dilutional hyponatremia.” So, you can’t go overboard here. I am not a doctor and have no idea how to figure out how much is “too much.” So don’t try this until you talk to one about it.

Either way, if you aren’t drinking enough water, you’ll know it when you take a leak throughout the day because your urine will be yellowish, or if you’re really dehydrated, then it will be like neon orange, and you’d better start drinking more water.

Why not get ahead of the curve by drinking it first thing upon waking up?

Start with just one glass.

Give it a try and let me know how you feel by leaving a comment below.

It’s been roughly 6 months since I’ve gotten a legitimate comment on this site. I half wonder if anyone reads this site anymore, since I get no feedback, no props, no complaints, nothing.

All the best in your training,

Jedd


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Upper Body Strength Training for Powerlifters

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

Upper Body and Grip Training Workout 8/29/13

Lots of people love the idea of building a Big Bench Press, but have little idea how to go about doing it.

Often, the type of Bench Press training we learn about is what we learned in our High School Gyms, which are most likely recycled information that the coach learned when he was in High School and has never changed one single bit. It often ends of becoming a vicious cycle of bad, out-dated information.

My suggestion for people who want to bring up their Bench is to find someone who actually is a Powerlifter and is seeing some success in their training. When you train with someone who is successful in the Big Three Lifts (Bench Press, Squat, and Deadlift), Strength becomes Contagious. Just by lifting with them, you get stronger, and all awhile learn the proper way to train.

Last Friday, I had someone visit who has done just what I am suggesting. He went from having very little structure in his training a few years ago, to following one of the most popular Powerlifting Programs that is out there. As a result, he has seen impressive gains from the new-found structure and is enjoying the design of the program and the increased numbers, for sure.

This lifter is Josh McIntyre
. I first met Josh through the Diesel Crew website in January of 2011 when I started the Weekly Grip Strength Challenges. Josh won many of these challenges during the year and has gone on to perform lots of Elite-Lever Grip Strength Feats since then, although these days his primary focus is Powerlifting with a little Strongman and Grip thrown in, a great mixture for developing incredible strength.

We hit an awesome workout this past Friday, about 2 hours and 15 minutes of Upper Body Training and then about an hour and a half of Grip Training, with a little break in between for a short interview.

Below is the video, which contains the entire session.

I asked Josh to send in a little write-up about himself so you could get to know him a bit better. I think you will also see that once you get some programming into your routine, you can expect to see some increased strength levels across the board. Here you go.

Josh McIntyre Interview

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Jedd: Who the hell are you and how did you end up getting into Powerlifting?

Thanks Jedd for having me up to your place. My name is Josh McIntyre, I’m 32 and have been lifting off and on since I was 14, but with goals in mind since 2010 and most seriously since 2012. I’ve competed in both Powerlifting and Strongman. My best lifts to date are a 565 squat (raw w/ wraps,) a 390 raw bench and a 635 raw deadlift (no belt) but I’m seeing now that I’m capable of a lot more.

I never did anything more than a set of curls and some push up’s right after highschool. I thought I was strong back then. It’s amazing to look back at pictures and see a guy who thought he was the man. In 2007, I moved to NC from NJ and found myself with a spare room to fill. So I assembled my rusty old H.S. weight bench and got some cheap standard plates from craigslist ads and used sporting goods stores.

Around the same time I spent a lot of time on Youtube looking for workout routines. I found your channel and was floored by the feats I was witnessing. I had a “monkey see, monkey do” mentality like many others, and trained until I could replicate whatever it was that I was training for, like a 5 dimes pinch (have still to get 6 without a pipe through them,) pinching two 45’s, levering a 45# plate (still sloppy,) hubbing a 45# plate, closing an Ironmind #3 etc etc.

I also started to train the powerlifts. I use the term “train” loosely here because I had no idea what the hell I was doing and ended up with a lot of shoulder pain. For a while, since I had no squat rack and it hurt my shoulders to bench a lot, I focused primarily on the DEADLIFT. To this day, it’s still my best and favorite lift. (long arms)

Once I scored a power rack off of craigslist for $100, it was on from there. I read up a bunch on rehab and prehab for shoulders here on DieselCrew.com and Elitefts. I watched a lot of video’s and inched my DL up over 500 in 2009.

Jedd: Tell us About Your Early Competition Days

I competed in my first powerlifting meet in 2010 in the APA. I entered Deadlift only, weighed in around 235 and competed in the 242’s. I opened at 505, went 565 for my second and 585 for my third. Unfortunately they called me for hitching (rightfully so) and I was credited only for my opener. I learned a lot that day and I was hooked!

Since then I’ve competed in 6 powerlifting meets and 1 strongman contest. I’ve learned so much from each one. I really enjoyed the strongman contest but PL is where my passion is. I’ve also trained with a lot of brutally strong PL competitors I’ve met at meets and gained a lot of strength and knowledge from them.

Jedd: When I first learned of you, you were training mostly at your house and from time to time in a gym where they wouldn’t even let you bring in chalk. These days, I have seen you have been training at Raleigh Barbell.

Since March of this year, I began training with a PL team at Raleigh Barbell. I’ve seen my best gains ever just in the last 5 months since training there. We trained 2 cycles of Brandon Lilly’s Cube Method with some success. The guys are great, supportive, serious and very goal motivated. If I squat high, they let me know. If my back started to round a little there, or my ass rises off the bench slightly, they’re right there to correct it for me. Having an extra set of eyes is really helpful when you can’t see where you’re screwing up.

josh 510s
5-10′s Pinch for Grip Specific Warm-up – NO PROBLEM!

As far as the gym, Raleigh Barbell is an 864 square foot training facility located in the heart of downtown Raleigh which is owned and operated by Elite Strength and Wellness Coach Jackson Williams. He’s been a great coach and he’s strong as hell! I’ve seen him pull 650 raw like it was 315. Training with guys stronger than me has been exactly what I was missing. Coach Jackson and Teammates Mason, Hunter, Chris, Keven and Justus are great lifters and training partners, and I’m lucky to be training along side of them. For more info on Raleigh Barbell or to contact Jackson, check out Raleighbarbell.com or hit him up on the Raleigh Barbell facebook page, if you’re on the book of faces.

Recently we’ve started a 10 week training template written by our coach leading up to a PL meet in November in Richmond, VA followed by a Charity Push/Pull the following weekend that I’ve done for the past 3 years.

Jedd: Josh, I’ve gotten some questions asking why we chose the exercises we did during our workout and what exactly the bands are for. Could you explain these points please?

The bench workout you and I did was from our Raleigh Barbell week 2 speed bench. It focused on practicing the bench press movement over and over by doing 8 sets of 2 as fast as we could WITH GOOD FORM. We incorporated band tension to make the lockout more difficult. That forced us to generate momentum from the start to get us through the increasing resistance. We also added volume by going for max reps up to but NOT including failure. We don’t miss training lifts at Raleigh Barbell. We only took another rep if it was there. The rest of the bench day was higher volume accessory stuff, o/h press, shoulders, rows, hammer curls, tri’s, all for hypertrophy.

Jedd: Now that you are several years into serious training, maybe you could talk a bit about major lessons you have learned, pitfalls you have run into along the way, mistakes you’ve made, etc?

I’ve seen up’s and down’s in my training but the more experience I got the more I realized the anecdote “it’s a marathon, not a sprint” is dead on. Also, enjoying the journey has been key for me. I lift ’cause I love it, that makes it easy to commit to. I see lifters so focused on their goal that they suffer through and end up hating their training. It’s ok to like what you do, it makes you easier to be around too.

Some of the mistakes in my own training over the years have been:

    1. Sticking with a routine even after I stall while using it. You can’t keep doing the same thing and expect to get a different result. My numbers were up and down, up and down for far too long
    2. Not doing any kind of accessory work to bring up weak areas
    3. Thinking one way was right and ALL other ways were wrong
    4. Waiting until I thought I was “good enough” to enter a PL meet. I wish I had done it sooner. Your entire mentality toward training changes after a competition. And the friends I’ve made and the things I’ve learned have been valuable to me as a lifter and a competitor. Don’t wait, sign up today. It’s so much fun and you’ll walk away with more than you came with
    5. Finding reliable training partners. More easily said than done. If you have an opportunity to join a PL gym, or a CF gym or a Strongman crew DO IT

jedd 610s
6-10′s Pinch. Off the Ground 5 or 6 Times, but Not Quite Lockout

Jedd: Josh, great having you up here. Come back again when you make a trip up this way. I want to see you get the 6-10′s Pinch sometime soon.

Again, thank you Jedd for having me up to train. The grip feats I witnessed and failed at were humbling and motivating. I was smashed when I left your gym but mentally I was rejuvenated with the idea of grip training. I have an entirely new respect and appreciation for Grip sport and its competitors. I look forward to meeting up again soon!


I got some feedback that the videos were hard to watch in the Playlist, and that you would like them separated out, so here you go…

Speed Bench Press Against Light Bands

Overhead Axle Training

Axle Rows for Back and Grip Strength

Tricep and Biceps Superset

Hammer Curls for Size and Strength

Josh McIntyre Interview

DIESELS – If you have any other questions about the training we did in the videos, leave a comment and I will do a follow up article to answer them.

All the best in your training.

Jedd


The Missing Part of Your Strength Training – Extensor Work – A Must for Any Serious Lifter – Hand X Bands
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Interview with Logan Christopher – Author, Think and Grow Strong

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

Logan Christopher – Think and Grow Strong

I recently interviewed Logan Christopher about a product he is soon retiring call the Think and Grow Strong Master Course. This product is a collection of DVD’s, audios, and more, that covers EVERYTHING you need to know about harnessing the true power of the mind to help drive you in your training. I have begun studying Logan’s course and will report here from time to time. In the meantime, make sure to check out this video interview on the strength of the mind.

Logan’s Think and Grow Strong Master Course will go away on September 1st. Grab this thing right now, before it disappears.

Sign up for updates on future interviews and articles in the box below.

All the best in your training.

Jedd


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