Big Goblet and Grip Feats Go Down on 1/6/18
Few workouts in the past six months have been as incredible as this past Saturday’s session.
It started off rocky, though brother. I’ll be honest.
I was in a rush to get out of the house and get downtown, and as a result, I took my mind off the ball and forgot to grab the empty propane tank for the heater I run during my sessions.
Call me a pussy for running a heater. That’s fine. But I’m not training to lift the Housafell stone in freezing temperatures. I’m training to keep myself sane. So I run a heater.
So, I made an extra trip downtown to get it, and it made a huge difference. The temperature outside was below 0, and the temp inside was freezing. The propane cooking helped make Saturday’s Savage Session one that probably won’t be topped in a while, at least as far as the strength feats that I pulled off are concerned.
Here’s a rundown of the highlights.
236lb Goblet Squats for a Double
It’s been a while since I pushed the envelope with Goblet Squats, and these Death Grip Bells, with their sharp edges will WRECK your hands, but I decided it was time to step it up. I attached a 50lb Scale Weight to my 186lb Homicide Bell. Getting it into position was an absolute NIGHTMARE, but with some redneck ingenuity, I got her done!
Blobzilla Plus 5 Pounds
This is a mark I’ve been working toward for a while now. I first started this hike back in October of 2015, but have not trained it consistently until the last quarter of 2017. I’ve been breaking it off the ground for a month or so, and came really close a week ago, but I made it a no-doubter on Savage Saturday.
Some people know this already, but not many. At the AOBS Dinner in October of 2015, after my performance, I successfully did an ugly Clean with Blobzilla. A combination of feeling amazing for several months, my training being locked in, and the adrenaline of having so many people around allowed me to get it done. But I hadn’t done it again since until Savage Saturday.
One of the goals that’s been on my radar, but still on the backburner is lifting the Blobfather (half 140lb York Legacy Blob). My hands feel very strong right now. I feel I am on my way, and if I can keep things going, Blobfather will be coming off the ground sometime this year. It will really come down to how much time I can put into it, as I also have some other goals I’m focused on, in addition to getting my right ring finger rehabbed in time for Nationals in June.
Stay tuned and come along for the ride.
All the best in your training.
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Tags: blob, blobzilla, block weight, block weights, pinch, pinch grip, savage saturday
Posted in blob lifting training workouts, block weights blob, feats of strength, Grip Sport, grip strength, grip strength blob, grip strength competition contest, Grip Training, hand strength, how to build pinch strength, Pinch Grip, two hands pinch | No Comments »
One of my most favorite type of grip work is Block Weight training.
You can’t go wrong by including this kind of training in your routine.
Not only does it build your thumbs, but it increases your lumbrical strength, the fingers get worked, and your wrist and forearms get blown up.
At Gripmas, I was introduced to a new block weight challenge item, the “Unliftable” Manna-Nuff.
This was originated by John Manna and eventually another gripster, Nate Brous, ended up with it, and until Gripmas, it had supposedly never been fully lifted, although John Wojciechowski was successful in breaking it free from the ground…
The Manna Nuff is what’s called a “drop.” It’s essentially a left-over piece of steel or iron that didn’t get made into anything and was just left as scrap.
I’ve got a couple drops in my collection. Here’s one we call the “Chunk.”
The Chunk only weighs 56 lbs or so. The Manna Nuff is 88.
This isn’t the first time I’ve been presented with “unliftable” Block Weights.
At Nationals this year, Andrew Pantke introduced me to his “unliftable” Fatman Blob, half of a 100lb old-school York dumbbell. The original ones are quite a bit harder to lift because of their shape, and up until June of 2015, nobody had been able to do more than break it off the ground…
The Unliftable Pantke Blob
So, there I was, faced with the challenge of another unliftable block weight.
Would having experience on the Chunk be enough to lift this “unliftable” block of metal?
When you’re presented with a challenge, you can’t just stand around analyzing things.
Sometimes, you just gotta go after it!
Never Say No To a New PR, BROTHERRRRR!
The Unliftable Manna Nuff
Like I said, Block Weights are an extremely valuable manner of Grip Training, with all the benefits they provide.
The strength I’ve developed from my years of Block Weight work has helped me out greatly in being able to tackle many other grip challenges.
I strongly suggest you make Block Weights an integral part of your grip training, if you’re serious about developing your hand strength.
All the best in your training.
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Tags: blob, blobs, block weight, block weights, drops, fatman blobs, manna nuff, pantke blob, the chunk
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The Blob, one head from a 100-lb Old-style York Dumbbell, is one of the most widely recognized challenge objects in all of Grip Sport.
The term “Blob” was coined by Richard Sorin, of Sorinex.com. As he related to me, he was finishing a gym install at a YMCA and the owner asked him to clear out the broken York Dumbbells that were laying all over. To do so, he bent over and picked each one of them up in a pinch grip until he came to the half 100 pounder. He couldn’t manage to lift it, so he dedicated himself to developing the grip strength to lift one with a pinch grip.
Isn’t that freaking awesome? Even though most likely NO ONE before him had ever tried to lift block weights like this, when the challenge presented itself, he took it on full team ahead. INSPIRING.
Recently, there was a challenge that was discussed that involved curling the Blob. Specifically, it involved first deadlifting the Blob and then curling it strictly with the back against the wall.
Like Richard Sorin many years before, I took this challenge on.
Now, I am no stranger to Blob Curling.
Many years ago, I had completed a very loose curl of the Blob. I stood up with it in my hand and with momentum, continued the curl up to the completed position.
However, there really is no comparison between that and a strict curl with your back against the wall. I knew I had my work cut out for me, but I went after it anyway, just to see what I had in me.
Here are the clips from the first workout where I went after the Blob Curl.
Blob Curl Against the Wall Attempt
Having tried strict curling in the past, I could remember the pain I would feel when trying to move the Blob through the sticking point, so i was kind of dreading it. Here was my attempt.
This feat felt so freakin’ hard, I could barely believe it. In the video, you saw where it was moving smoothly and then all of a sudden it just shut down and I couldn’t move it any further. Although I came nowhere near completing the lift, the good things was it really didn’t hurt that bad.
As I have said before, during that period of time in 2004-2005, I suffered a couple of cases of really bad upper forearm and wrist pain due to poor training choices, too much volume, etc. So, I am wondering maybe the pain I was feeling back then was no necessarily due to trying to curl the Blob, but rather, just from the injuries I was dealing with.
Blob Curl NOT Against Wall
After having such a hard time getting any real height on the Blob with the back against the wall, I decided I would try curling it free-standing.
Although the movement of the Blob was very slow, I didn’t really experience any pain here, either. This was the confidence booster I needed. I had no proven to myself that I had the strength to perform the curl. It would now just mean tightening up the form a bit.
Second Try – Blob Curl Against Wall
A few days later, I tried the Blob Curl Against Wall on more time. This time, not only did I have the confidence from being able to curl it out away from the wall, but I also had a partner that day. J.T. Straussner, one of the best benders in the entire world, has been living only 25 minutes away for about 5 months, but we never realized how close we were until a few weeks ago. He came up and I gave the Curl another go.
During the attempt, it felt like my shoulder came off the wall. I wasn’t sure if it would count or not, so I tried it again. That is why I hit it twice.
Jon Vance commented on the video, “Dude that has got to be one of the sickest feats ever with a blob.” I don’t know about all that, but it is definitely one of the hardest things I have done with the Blob. I literally have to put in an all-out effort on every attempt I make on it.
Now, this is really only the beginning. The next progression, should I attempt it, is to be able to perform the Strict Curl with each hand. At the time of the video, I was still very tentative to put in that kind of effort with my left hand, which is the one that was experiencing the Thoracic Outlet Syndrome symptoms. I haven’t tried this since then, so I am not sure what I have at this time.
Naturally, once I can curl a Blob with each hand, then I would try an Alternating Curl with one Blob in each hand. This would be attempted first free-standing, and then eventually up against the wall.
But before any of this can happen, I need to figure out why the eccentric portion of the lift is so damn hard! Right now, as the Blob nears my thigh on the eccentric portion of the lift, I lose total control of it.
Now, of course, to get the benefit of this training, you do NOT need to use a 50-lb Blob. Instead, just use any block weight that you have and just curl it.
The great thing about this lift is that the block weight will work the fingers and thumbs thoroughly, and when you curl it like this, the wrist and forearms are hit hard too.
Plug Block Weight Curls into your next training session and let me know what you got and how they felt. Come back and leave a comment.
All the best in your training,
Tags: blob, blob curl, block weight, block weight curl, block weight training, wrist strength, wrist training
Posted in feats of strength, grip strength, grip strength blob, hand strength, how to improve grip strength | No Comments »
BLOBZILLA – Laughing at my past attempts to lift him.
If you’ve been reading this site for a while, or following the sport of Grip for a while, then you have heard the name Daniel Reinard.
Daniel Reinard found out about the sport of Grip in 2010 and within less than 2 years has made it his home.
Daniel has accomplished many amazing feats of strength up until this point, including attaining the World Record for the 83-kg class on the Two Hands Pinch at one time, lifting a Fatman Blob in the normal fashion, backwards, and by the face, and he even coined a new Griplement, BLOBZILLA.
You see, after mastering the York Fatman Blob quicker than most people with much more experience and much more bodyweight (Daniel weighs only about 200), Daniel was “looking for a project.”
This project was to be a block weight that would take him several months or even longer to train on in order to accomplish – a true “long range goal.”
Well, Blobzilla, half of a 130-lb York Legacy Blob, proved to be no match for this climber from Southern California either, because within about 2 month’s time, he lifted it as well.
Daniel Reinard Lifts Blobzilla
Daniel was readily posting training videos of his sessions working on Blobzilla and the more I had Blobzilla thrown in my face, the more I knew I had to have one. So I arranged a pick-up of two 130-lb York Dumbbells through my cohort in Braced Bending mischief, Mike Rinderle. He went to York and got them. In the words of Johnny Cash, he went “right up to the factory and picked them up – it’s cheaper that way.” Mike picked them up and even chop-sawed them and shipped them to us. What an awesome guy!
Another perennial Giant in the Block Weight world is Wade Gillingham. He was actually the first person in the U.S. to lift Blobzilla, doing so the first workout he did after receiving it in the mail. He was in on the group that got them along with me.
Another HUGE star of Block Weight Lifting and also Thick Bar Lifting is Laine Snook. He gave the European Kilogram-equivalent version a serious ride, cleaning it to his shoulder with EEEASE. This actually happened many, many months ago, as Laine is an ELITE Block Weight Lifter.
Finally, after several months of having Blobzilla laugh and blow flames in my face, I was able to tame this sucker in my gym, the first workout after the recent Mighty Mitts competition.
Completing this feat on this particular day was totally unexpected. I pretty much brought Blobzilla to the lifting area between lifts, tried to pick it up, and it broke off the floor. I would have been happy just to get that on tape and show some of my friends I was making progress, so I filmed it and pulled it off the ground a few inches with each hand.
That was when I knew it just might be the day for a Blobzilla showdown.
I had just finished several months of INTENSE thick bar training for Mighty Mitts with very little work on Blobzilla the last few weeks as I was passing through a high specialization phase of my training.
Here are the videos showing how it all came to be…
My First Ever Full Lift of Blobzilla
Several years ago, I was told by someone who doesn’t even train Grip anymore that “going off” like this was unprofessional. Well, I am sorry, but if this offends anybody they are just going to have to get used to it.
About a year ago I suffered an injury that I wasn’t sure I would ever come back from. It kept me from competing in Mighty Mitts 2011 and I was unsure of whether I’d ever be top-form again. Grip Training is my favorite part of of training and I do it to push myself to higher and harder goals. And after all these years, big PR’s like this come fewer and farther between.
The training and the constantly dealing with failure for weeks, months and sometimes years at a time can get down right emotionally draining, so when something big like this finally happens, I am NOT ever going to restrain myself again. To me, accomplishing something like this is damn close to winning the lottery, so shoot me if I carry on like a lunatic when I finally succeed.
First Time Lifting Blobzilla Lefty
It’s always more impressive when you can do a feat with each hand, so I was again extremely excited when I was able to lift Blobzilla lefty as well.
Comparing Blobzilla to Other Blobs and Blob-like Implements
This video shows you just way Blobzilla is so damn tough to lift. To be 100% honest, I originally thought this feat would be fairly easy, due to the flat side for the thumb, but when 65-lbs bulges out on the finger side like this one does, it makes for a damn tough feat.
One of the comments I got when I posted this at Gripboard.com was that it reminded them of my first Red Nail Bend from 2004 and my first Blob Face Lift from 2006, where I obviously blew up on camera and went nuts. I never thought about it that way.
Pretty much the only time I have “let myself go” on big feats the last few years has been when breaking the Two Hands Pinch Record. Other than that, I have been locked in this “stay professional no matter what” mode that I was told was more appropriate.
Well, it isn’t going to be like that anymore. To me, lifting is something I do to enjoy. No matter how many partners come and go, how much distance keeps good friends from visiting, or how much I would rather stay home to train than miss time with my little girl, nothing will stop me from enjoying my grip training, and when big sh*t like this goes down, don’t stop the clip – you might just see a madman speaking in gibberish, cutting promo’s, clotheslining training partners, and slapping benches.
If that kind of emotion doesn’t seem professional to you, then I guess you won’t enjoy my PR videos.
Now, there are still a handful of other people who own Blobzillas in the US (and there may be more soon), so there will be more guys who tame the York Beast with time: Paul Knight, Fernando Rodriguez, Andy Thomas, and Russ Farver all own Blobzillas, so it is really just a matter of time.
I can’t wait to see the videos.
All the best in your training,
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Tags: blobzilla, block weight, half 130 legacy, legacy dumbbell, monster block weight
Posted in feats of strength, Grip Sport, grip strength, grip strength blob, hand strength, how to build pinch strength | 10 Comments »
With all of this talk recently about Block Weight Training, such as Blobs, Fatman Blobs, Fatman Clones, and the Iron Grip Monster, it can be pretty easy to think that you either have to spend an exorbitant amount of money in order to develop Grip Strength through block weight training, or you have to completely ruin one of your perfectly good dumbbells by cutting one of the heads off.
However, this is just not true. In reality you can get a similar open hand training response by training with the regular dumbbells you already have. This opens up a completely new chapter of Block Weight Training that I like to call Inverted Dumbbell Training.
Inverted Dumbbell Training
Inverted Dumbbell Training is simply lifting a dumbbell by standing it up on one end and then gripping it by the end in the air. This type of Block Weight Training allows you to use the dumbbells you already have without any cutting or other time-swallowing tasks.
How to Perform an Inverted Dumbbell Lift
The video below will show you exactly how to perform an Inverted Dumbbell Lift:
Key Points About Inverted Dummbell Lifting
- Dumbbells come in many shapes and sizes, and the paint job will also vary. Paint condition can be a huge factor in lifting a dumbbell.
- An attempt should be made NOT to put the fingers or thumbs into the numbering or lettering of the dumbbell in order to maximize the challenge, however, using the print on the dumbbell as a training means is fine as long as it does not become a crutch.
- Be careful with very wide dumbbells. Wide open hand positions can injure the thumb’s soft tissues, which can be very hard to bounce back from. It is best to thoroughly warm up the thumb in order to keep it safe.
- Watch out for your toes. Any block weight, and especially an inverted dumbbell can come slipping out of your hand quickly. Don’t break a toe.
Biggest Inverted Dumbbell Lifts
Inverted Dumbbell Lifting is not really an event in Grip Sport by itself, however, they have shown up in a Medley here and there. To my knowledge, a 55-lb Dumbbell is the largest I have seen lifted in this manner. That is what I lifted in the video above, but I am not yet able to dominate it very time I try. I know I have also seen Andrew Durniat do this on a different dumbbell, and I think Brent Barbe got it as well.
Application into Your Training
Because of my goals of complete Block Weight Domination, I tend to try to go as heavy as possible 90% of the time when I do this lift. Using this movement in an athletic program or a general hand strength improvement program is not necessary though.
It can be just as effective at building beneficial grip strength by performing lifts with a lighter dumbbell and then adding weight, such as a chain wrapped around it or attached with a magnet, and then performing reps, or doing hand to hand transfers, hulas, or figure 8’s.
As awesome as Block Weights are, and as much as I love them, that does not mean the only way to get those benefits is with Single Dumbbell Heads. Inverted Dumbbells will get you these results very well, too.
Any questions, leave a comment below.
All the best in your training.
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Tags: block weight, grip strength, grip training, hand strength, pinch grip, pinch strength
Posted in grip hand forearm training for sports, Grip Sport, grip strength, grip strength blob, how to improve grip strength, strength training to improve athletic performance | 2 Comments »
One of the best forms of Grip Training you can do is Block Weight Training. This is a type of Grip Training I do every single week, no matter what my goals are. Over the years I have amassed a phenomenal collection of different Block Weights, and I feel they have played a huge part in my consistent Grip Strength development.
What is a Block Weight?
To my knowledge, the term “Block Weight” was first coined by John Brookfield to describe a single head of a dumbbell. However, any block-shaped device you can get your hand on can be used as a Block Weight and can be used to build fantastic grip strength.
Types of Block Weights
There are many type of Blobs…
- Fatman Blob: Original Style York Blob
- Blue Blob: Slightly different shaped Blob between Original Style and Next Generation
- Next Generation Blob: Still narrower version of York Blobs
- Legacy Blob: Current version of Blobs being sold at York Barbell
- Blob 50: Replicas of Blobs produced in the mid 2000’s by Gordon Vizecki. Excellent accurate representations of the Blob simulated
These are heads from dumbbells that have been cut off or have broken off. Despirte all the attention Blob-like implements are given, Hex Blocks will do just as much for you in the way of building grip strength.
These are intact dumbbells that are stood up on one head and then lifted by the elevated head. This form of training is rarely talked about, but is extremely beneficial.
Fairly rare, scale are used for scale calibration purposes and must meet strict weight requirements in industry, and so they carry a hefty price tag. The great thing about scale weights is they offer multiple gripping positions and surfaces, and can be used for building other grip strength disciplines, such as supporting, crushing, and hybrid grip movements.
Slabs / Chunks
These are just about everything else that resembles a block weight, but most likely did not serve a purpose for lifting or strength training beforehand. For instance, slabs and chunks might be stubs from other industrial purposes that were left over from other projects.
As you can see, there are many types of Block Weights, but there is actually one more type of Block Weight that I have in my collection that I have not given as much time here on the site. It is called the Fatman Clone.
The Fatman Clone is a replica block weight which was made by casting a mold of an original Fatman Blob. These were first produced at the end of 2008 and I obtained mine at the beginning of 2009. Chris Bowman had a small number of them made, but since then they have not been made again, because of the price to produce them. I am actually not even sure how many of the Clones were produced. I do know that Dave Thornton got one, and I believe Chris still has one in his possession. They are a very rare piece of equipment, indeed.
While the Fatman Clone was made from a cast of a Fatman, they have proven to often be larger than Fatman Blobs. My Clone weighs 59-lb on my bathroom scale, heavier than any Fatman I have ever heard of.
Also, the one that Dave Thornton has ended up having a large bulge in it, making it very tough to lift by the top and its texture on the bottom makes it easier to lift. The Shape of mine is reasonable though.
In fact, the Clone I have is much more difficult to lift than any other York Blob or Blob 50 I have attempted. It is so difficult that it has been nearly a year since I last lifted it.
You see, sometimes, when you train for feats of Grip Strength, you are not able to do them all of the time. You might have a good day where you can lift something over and over, and then it can be months before you can do it again. You might put several weeks in on a particular goal, accomplish it, and then move on to another goal and not come back to the previous one for a while. This is what happened to me with the Clone the last time – my focus changed to something else and I did not spend much time trying to lift the Clone.
Lifting the Fatman Clone
So I pulled out the Fatman Clone a few nights ago after a long, slow, struggle of a workout.
I tried three times with the right and three times with the left to lift the Clone, but my best was hopping it off the ground a couple of inches.
After trying several times to get it but not having any luck, I shut off the heater, put most of my stuff away, and went out to the car to turn off the satellite radio.
All of a sudden, I felt like I had one more shot in me. I was like my gut was trying to be Mickey in Rocky 5, and telling me to get back up you son of a bitch, meaning to go back in there and give it one more shot before heading back upstairs and calling it a night.
So I came back inside, threw my trusty blue carhart jacket on that I call Mister PR, and gave it a try.
I have been watching a lot of late 80’s and early 90’s WWF wrestling lately, and one of the latest tapes had Jimmy Snuka, where he wore boots for a while and barked into the crowd, so I started doing something similar, as you will see in the video below.
I guess what this all means is that sometimes you have just one more good attempt in the tank. If it feels like it, trust your gut and go after it!
If I would have listened to my head that was telling me to stop and call it a night instead of my gut that was saying I had one more left, I would have have lifted this giant hunk of iron.
All the best in your training,
I like to periodically set up new conquests in my training – new short term challenges to attain, especially in Block Weight Lifting, which is probably my most favorite type of training in the Grip World.
I recently heard about a Gigantic Block Weight that Odd Haugen had lifted. If you don’t know Odd, he is a Pro Strongman competitor that has been in the WSH qualifiers and finals. He has also competed at Mighty Mitts the last two years and has an awesome Grip.
I wrote Odd to find out more about this monstrous block weight and he told me he would send me one to work on.
I asked him if he had named it and he said he hadn’t but why not the Iron Grip Monster?
Sounds fitting to me, because this thing is huge.
Iron Grip Monster
Check out some of the measurements and specs on this piece:
- Half 125-lb Dumbbell
- Rubber Coated, but very slick from years of wear.
- +/- 5 5/8 inches across the sides
- +/- 7 5/8 inches across the face
- Sick laugh like Vincent Price every time someone tries to lift it and fails.
Here are the three sessions I have done, going for a lift of the Iron Grip Monster.
As you can see, the name Iron Grip Monster is no hyperbole – this thing is for real. It might take me another session or two to lift it, but I have it squarely in my sights and it will go up!
What Grip Goals are you working on? Leave a comment in the box below.
All the best in your training.
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