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New All Time PR on Deadlift – 550lbs

Monday, September 14th, 2015

It’s been since January of 2004 since I set a regular Deadlift PR, when I lifted 545-lbs. 11+ years.

I was 26. I’m almost 37 now, so it’s been a lengthy drought, you might say…

2004 is when I started experiencing routine back injuries that would sideline me for days or even a week at a time.

Unfortunately, my young, idiotic brain, just wanted to keep pushing harder and harder, and that meant the pain I’d experience would get worse and worse.

I’d hobble around for a week after my Strongman contests.

I’d literally limp through the hallway at my old job, after hard weekend workouts involving Deadlifts and Squats.

Finally, in 2008, I think, I had enough.

Since Squats and Deadlifts were so bad for me, I decided I wouldn’t do them anymore.

From 2008 until 2012, I rarely did heavy Deadlifts or Squats.

Of course, I continued to do Axle Deadlifts, because it’s a staple in Grip Sport competition, and I’d dabble every now and again with Squats and Deads, but never got back into them seriously until June of 2013, when I decided I was finally ready health-wise to get back under the bar and pull some weight off the floor.

For Squats, I literally started with the bar, hitting sets of 10. That’s how much I lacked confidence and stability.

For Deadlifts, I decided I’d guard my back by only doing Double Overhand grip (I was afraid of tearing a biceps anyway).

The Coan Philippi Deadlift Program

This Summer, I decided I was ready to finally train the Deadlift with some conviction, and I started a run through the Coan Philippi Deadlift Program.

I gotta say, it was AWESOME to push myself on Deadlifts! It was the first time I’d EVER followed a Deadlift Program in my life.

When you start the Coan Philippi program, it asks you for your starting max and your goal max at the end of 10 weeks, and then it computes everything for you.

I stayed a bit conservative and put in a 500-lb Max to begin with and a 550-lb Max for the end. My partner, Luke Raymond, started out with the same numbers, and it worked out really easy training with him, because we didn’t have to change the weights around at all.

The weights at the beginning of the program were super light, so Luke and I started on week 3 or 4. Everything went smooth until like Week 7. That’s when the volume caught up with me.

I struggled through to Week 9, when I hit 535-lbs, but my body just wouldn’t cooperate with me for Week 10, and I decided against going for a new PR on 3 separate Saturdays, until this past week.

The conditions still weren’t optimal, as I was up at 2AM to take my parents to the airport, and I trained at 5:30AM with my buddy, Brad Martin, but my back felt fully recovered after the 3-week layoff from heavy work, so I went ahead with the Week 10 plan.

And, I’m happy to say I was successful in my 550-lb lift, with potential for probably a few pounds more, although I didn’t push it.

Here’s the video:

Jedd Johnson All-Time PR Deadlift – 550lbs

What an awesome sensation, to FINALLY feel somewhat strong again.

Thankfully, after staying patient, working back slowly, and using my brain instead of my ego, I have been able to break one of my longest standing PR’s.

I must also say, I LOVE the Coan Philippi Program. It made me feel like a monster, and sometime this Fall, I plan on running through it again, once Luke’s schedule evens back out and we get train it together again.

Look for more updates, especially on my YouTube Channel, once I start the program up again.

All the best in your training.


Is Your Gripper Knurling HELPING or HURTING Your Gripper Performance?

Friday, August 14th, 2015

As you know, I rate a lot of grippers.

Gripper junkies send me their grippers and I measure how strong they are by using a device called an RGC.

This has become the standard for getting a direct strength comparison between grippers from different companies.

However, there’s one variable that the RGC is incapable of factoring in, and that is the gripper knurling quality.

Maybe you’ve noticed that the knurling on the gripper handle varies from one company to the next?

For instance, Beef Builder knurling is usually very rough, COC knurling is of a good, middle-of-the-road level, and then Heavy Grips grippers feel very smooth.

Knurling can make a BIG difference in how good of a grip you can get on the handles and how far you can come from closing the gripper.

Here’s an example…

I was working on my Credit Card Set strength with my left hand last night and was smashing my 129-rated BBSM.

But, when I dropped down to my 128 and 127 rated grippers, I was missing by about 3 to 5 millimeters.

So, why would I be able to DOMINATE a 129-rated gripper and then miss on other grippers that are slightly lighter?

The biggest factor was the knurling.

The 129-rated BBSM has knurling that literally feels like you could grate a block of cheese with it.

The lighter grippers, however, came with naturally less-aggressive knurling on them.

PLUS, on top of that, these grippers have been in my collection for nearly 10 years, and I used to be REALLY HARD ON MY GRIPPERS.

I didn’t take care of them at all, and would just throw them in my gym bag or chalk bucket and they would bounce around and bang into one another.

As a result, from all that abuse, the handle knurling has been beaten down to almost nothing and as a result, I can get nearly as good of a grip on the handles of my older grippers.

Since my left hand really STINKS at Credit Card Set training, since that range of 125 to 130lbs is near my limit, I often fail on grippers with beaten-down knurling.

So, I encourage you to take care of your grippers.

These days, I am OBSESSIVE about my knurling condition.

Keep them in good shape, so you aren’t dealing with basically bald grippers, like I do on a daily basis.

If you need more help with your gripper training, check out these resources:

1. CRUSH: Total Gripper Domination:
This Video covers everything you need to know regarding gripper training technique, as well as drills, tactics and strategies to help you with your gripper training.

2. Cadence Based Training:
This ebook is my gripper training program that I devised over the span of a couple years and has helped me consistently improve my performance every year since implementing it.

3. Operation: Gripper Certification:
This video focuses on the intricacies of the credit card set, the technique that is required for certification with the IronMind Captains of Crush grippers.

These 3 resources are must-haves IF you’re serious about grippers.

If you just dabble, and don’t really care about closing bigger grippers, then these products are not necessary.

Get what you need for your specific goals, TODAY.

All the best in your training.


P.S. Here’s the links for those KEY gripper training resources:

1. CRUSH: Total Gripper Domination

2. Cadence Based Training

3. Operation: Gripper Certification

How I Got Obsessed with Building Big Arms

Thursday, July 30th, 2015

Growing up with a steady feed of wrestling during my younger years, I always wanted to build up my own big set of arms.

Bank Rolls Do Not Build Biceps.
-Ultimate Warrior-

I grew up with guys like Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior, the Warlord, the Barbarian, Jimmy Snuka, and other wrestlers who were JACKED beyond belief. So I wanted to be big and muscular, too, with a THICK set of arms.

Unfortunately, I had no weights as a youngster and I was actually kind of lazy in high school, so I didn’t have much chance of building big arms until I was in college, playing baseball at Mansfield University.

That was when I met Scott Costa.

Scott was another one of the first-basemen on the team, and the first day of practice, I was instantly impressed with his muscular development. I had only ever met one dude in real life, before that who was actually muscular.

As a fan of weight training with no idea how to get started, I really looked up to him because I could tell he worked hard and knew what he was doing.

He was also a pretty funny dude. “Look at these aesthetics, Johnson. Aesthetics.”

I didn’t even know what that word meant at the time. All I knew is I wanted to build arms like his…

Once I started lifting, I was always serious about my arm training.

I never made it a habit to miss or skip arm workouts and took my training seriously, even though some people don’t even bother training arms, for whatever reason.

But last year, I decided to raise the intensity up a notch.

I was driving in the car on the way back from New Jersey with my long-time friend in lifting, Brad Martin, and we came up with the idea of training arms every day during the month of August. I’d first seen Dave Depew doing daily arm training, and after I saw his awesome results, I decided I wanted to try it.

So, I started posting about “August of Arms” here on the site, out on Facebook, and on some other forums and websites. Before I knew it, other people were joining in as well.

So, during August of 2014, I trained Arms every single day and I was very happy with the results. I added about an inch to each arm, going from right around 18 to right around 19 inches. I heard from several others who said they saw good gains as well.

But the other thing I kept hearing a lot of was the fact that people wanted a program to follow. Some people felt like they were wandering around aimlessly without some guidance. Some were adding stuff in at the end of the workout and getting tired of the same old stuff. Others felt like they could have gotten better results with more of a plan.

That kind of feedback came to me enough times that I decided I would put something together for August of Arms 2015.

So, for the majority of July, I have been working hard to put together an awesome month of training for you.

August of Arms contains 31 workouts, one for each day of the month of August, to help you both increase your arm size as well as your strength.

While being big has always been an interest of mine, I always liked the idea of building strength along with it too.

And since some people got tired of plugging the same handful of exercises into the end of their workouts last year, I made sure to mix things up this year, adding 69 different exercises into the program.

There’s even more great stuff I packed into the program. If you want to find out more about it, and especially if you want to add Noticeable Mass to your arms this August, be sure to get August of Arms.

All the best in your training.


Some Diesel Shirts Will Soon Be Unavailable

Thursday, July 30th, 2015

What’s up, DIESELS!

Several years ago, I set up an on-line shop through a site called Printfection and began selling Diesel Crew tee shirts.

I got a note recently that Printfection is shutting down at the end of July, so I thought I’d let you know that pretty soon a lot of these shirts are never going to be available again.

The artwork guy that did the designs either passed away or no longer has web service because I haven’t heard a peep from him since 2012.

Because of that, I don’t have access to the original artwork, so I can’t replicate the designs.

I invite you to grab one of these shirts, while you can. Some of the designs were pretty darn cool!

Here’s the link to the Diesel Crew Printfection Store:

All the best in your training,


North American Grip Sport Championship 2015

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

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.

Wrist Roller

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!