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,