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The Importance of Competition for Lifting

Let Competition Bring the Best Out of You



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,


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3 Responses to “The Importance of Competition for Lifting”

  1. Big J Says:

    Ok this is a badass idea. I can’t compete with you or the Nordic man, but I think I could start something like this among friends and encourage some competition. I assume this is an ongoing thing?

  2. Jedd Johnson Says:

    Absolutely, you could do this with friends. That is what it is all about. You all push one another to get better.


  3. Big J Says:

    Awesome. I’ve got to find one of those blobs. I bought a 2″ battle rope to build my grip, but the thing winds me faster than it wears out my grip.

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