On September 28th, I promoted the Holdfast Gauntlet Grip Contest here at my gym in Wyalusing, PA. It was an awesome contest featuring a whole bunch of brand new competitors, plus a mix of veterans as well.
The DVD’s of the competition are ready and I am taking orders. To speed up the process, the DVD’s will be shipped in a jewel, instead of contracting an artist to do the artwork for an actual DVD cover for the artwork.
This also helps keep the cost down, so the price is only $10 for the DVD plus shipping. You can order them here: Holdfast Gauntlet.
In addition, I have also been working on making all of my other contests I have promoted in the past available. I have been promoting Grip Contests since 2004, so I have a huge amount of history on the hard drive of my computer.
I want to make the history of Grip Sport available to those who want to experience it, and you will be able to re-live these contests one event at a time.
Currently, on top of Holdfast Gauntlet, you can also access Global Grip Challenge 2006 and 2007. Here is where to go: Grip Contests
As long as interest is strong enough, I will continue to expand this library of past Grip Contests, including the very first contest I ever competed in, the Battle for Grip Supremacy, promoted by Rick Walker back in September of 2003.
Speaking of BFGS, the Holdfast Gauntlet was almost exactly 10 years after that event. Rick Walker ended up coming to Holdfast to help me out with judging, so as a surprise, I recognized him with an award. I have always considered him a Pioneer in the Sport of Grip, so I got him the Grip Pioneer award. Check out the video below.
Call me a sentimental guy – I think things like this are important. The work that goes into running a competition is unbelievable and hard to describe, and Rick did the very first one on the East Coast and the biggest one ever in the United States that I am aware of. Plus, as I said in the video, I never would have found out about Grip Sport if it weren’t for Rick. It was my pleasure to present him with this small token of my appreciation.
Once again, if you’d like to tap into the awesome history of the past Diesel Crew Grip Contests, be sure to go to this page: Grip Contests.
My members at TheGripAuthority.com are always pushing themselves, and if there is a Grip Contest going on in the United States, you can bet that some of them have their eyes set on it, just like King Kong to the right.
In October, Eric Roussein will be holding a world-wide competition called the King Kong Grip Challenge, and this contest is no different, as at least two of my guys are getting ready to compete in it.
I was asked to put something together around this contest because of its interesting selection of events.
At the King Kong Grip Challenge, these are the events:
1 Hand Axle Deadlift
1 Hand Euro Pinch
IronMind Little Big Horn
The events that will be held in King Kong Grip Challenge are not the most common events. While all of them have appeared in contests before, they are not perennially featured events, and very little information is out there about them.
Naturally, I wanted to provide as complete information as possible for those planning to test themselves in this competition, so I also put together a video about strategy for this type of contest, and I did a technique demonstration for each event as well.
So, you are getting much more than just a workout.
This is a 2-Day Workout. I thought it best to set it up this way for two reasons.
1. All of the events are 1-handed. Training 4 different events all in one day will always cause one or two of the events to be trained with hands that are far too exhausted to get a good indication of progress, so two events are trained on one day, and the other two are trained on the other, along with a short gripper workout.
2. Since some of these events are uncommon, I knew most people would have to dedicate more time to some of them in order to get complete conditioning and development. Most just have not trained lifts like the 1-hand axle and the little big horn, so they need more dedicated time.
So, not only are you getting 1 workout, but 2.
Naturally, you can place the days wherever you like during the week, however it works for you. You can even switch days for certain events if you’d like. I set the days up like I did for the following reasons:
1. Thick Bar has a tendency to mess up gripper performance, so I put those on two separate days.
2. 1 Hand Euro and the Hub both work the thumbs, so I placed them on two separate days so they did not interfere with one another as much.
3. 1 Hand Axle and Little Big Horn are the two heaviest events, so I split them up, one on each day.
I think this workout will help you with your programming for the King Kong Grip Challenge. Any questions you have about personalizing this for your needs, just let me know.
A couple months ago, some of the guys from TheGripAuthority.com were talking in our Facebook Forum about Grip Contests.
They made mention of the fact that where they live, there are rarely, if ever, any Grip Contests anywhere remotely close.
They said, since they’d have to travel in order to compete (and they want to compete in a comp like caged wild dogs want to eat raw T-bone steaks), they figured, “Hey, if we’ve got to travel to compete anyway, we might as well travel to Jedd’s place and compete so he can show us how to do it right.”
These guys reached out to me, and I thought it was a great idea. These guys would be able to get their feet wet in Grip Sport, and I would be able to help them out every step along the way.
If you are looking to compete in Grip Sport, this is a GREAT contest for you to attend. And if you are a complete beginner, you should definitely consider it. Many people who have confirmed that they are coming have never competed in contests before.
Here is the info on the contest.
Date: Saturday, September 28, 2013
Start Time: 10AM
Weight Classes: All official NAGS weight classes will be run, provided the contestants send their entry forms prior to to 9/21/13. My scale will be point calibrated, so that your lifts will be official for the NAGS Records Lists.
I will put demonstrational videos up for the execution of all of the lifts at TGA, another benefit of being a member.
Here is a video about the contest. It contains links to other videos that give more specific info on the contest.
Airlines: 3 airlines are almost all within the same distance to my place: Scranton/Wilkes Barre International, Elmira/Corning NY and Binghampton NY. My town I am in is Wyalusing.
There are a lot more hotels around than there were the last time I ran a big comp, so I will get that information out to you.
Rick Walker (possible depending on family events)
Jedd Johnson Definite
Colt Anstine & Wife
Chez (depending on injuries)
Karl M. Skjelvik (paid)
Questions? Post below if you do not see the answer here.
All the best in your training, and I look forward to seeing you here in Wyalusing, PA.
Need Help Preparing for the Holdfast Gauntlet? Join me at TheGripAuthority.com and Let’s Get Your Ready for the Platform
This past weekend was the 2013 North American Grip Sport Championship. This is the annual championship contest, the SuperBowl, World Series and Sweet 16 all rolled into one day of Grip Sport Mayhem.
The contest was held this year at Andrew Durniat’s Gym, Durniat Strength and Optimal Performance, in Wooster, Ohio. In order to compete, athletes had to qualify through one of many means, including rankings from previous competitions during the season, as well as video submissions of certain feats of Grip Strength.
Before I get into the contest itself, I want to give some shout-outs to people who have been incredibly important to me in my training since Nationals 2012. You see, the Nationals 2012 competition was an all-time low for me. I really struggled, finishing poorly, and feeling totally disappointed in how I finished.
Luckily, I did not let that stop me, as I was able to turn it all around, but not without a lot of help.
I want to recognize the people who have helped me along the way over the past year.
As so often things do, my turn-around started when I hit bottom. In early August, one thing was happening after the other and before I knew it, I found myself extremely depressed. It was my two friends, Mike Rinderle and Rick Walker that got me back on track. These guys are two fellas that I consider friends for life for all they have done for me. We basically had a group counseling session via text messages that day and it ended up making a difference in my life that carried me through the next several months. That may have seemed like just another texting conversation to those guys, but it wasn’t. I know there are plenty of people with worse problems than I have, but that was seriously a bad day for me, and Mike and Rick pulled me out of a deep, dark hole with a big long rope and I won’t forget it.
Big Dude in the Red is Niko Hulslander
The next person I want to give a shout to is Niko Hulslander of Garage Ink. Niko is a renowned powerlifter and an amazing coach, and he turned out to be the trigger that finally got me going on the right track with some serious progress. I told him about how bad my body was hurting, how weak I was feeling, and how un-confident I was feeling and he took me under his wing and really got me going in the right direction. Week in and week out, I shot video of my training and he coached me, primarily on my Deadlift form, and this coaching helped me get back to a 500-lb Double Overhand Deadlift. I have told him a few times how grateful I was, but it has been a while, and I hope he knows just how important of a role he played for me in the last year.
The next person I’d like to mention is Paul Knight. Many of you who follow Grip know that name, but some may not. Paul is one of the world’s BEST gripper closers, having certified on the IronMind #3.5 and the Mash Monster Level 6. If you don’t know what these are, they are serious grippers and world-class accomplishments. Paul coached me for several months last year on Grippers, which helped a great deal, but more than that he got me thinking about Gripper training in a whole new way, something that has helped me out immeasurably. It was like my brain was chained in the corner of a dark room, but with his guidance and inspiration, I was able to finally make some improvements on my gripper training.
The next person I must thank is Mark Gannon. Mark has been a personal training client of mine since May of 2011, but in the Fall of 2012, he and I began hitting a weekly session together. It had been YEARS since I had a steady training partner, and working out with him, even though it was early in the morning and I am NOT a morning person, kicked me and my lifting into another level. Mark has never questioned a single thing I have had him do and he has been an INTENSE lifter ever since he came into the fold, and that did not stop when we started working out together either. He never has shied away from Log Lifts, Squats, Deadlifts or anything. He and I still train together once a week and each workout seems to somehow top the last one we did. Our favorite combination has become Back and Triceps. As I’ve mentioned before, this combination is KILLER, and I strongly suggest you try it. Although Mark does not train Grip with me, the momentum I get with him in the mornings often carries forward into the Grip workout I have later that night, or on the weekend, as he and I often hook up on Friday mornings.
During this time, while I was feeling like an absolute MONSTER in my full body training, my Grip lifts started to decline for some reason. It had gotten to the point that any lifts where I had to bend over were crumbling, and my numbers resembled more of a newcomer to grip than a seasoned veteran. I reached a point where I could no longer perform a full lift with the 50-lb Blob, something that just a few months prior I was snatching overhead in one movement. Something was seriously wrong, so I ended up seeing a doctor and getting some tests, and I learned that I had developed Thoracic Outlet Syndrome.
I began attending therapy sessions here in Wyalusing, PA at ProCare in December and continued until February. I did not lift at all from something like December 6th through the end of the month. I was going to go to the Gripmas Contest in December without training the last couple of weeks prior to it, but another injury to my forearm flexors kept me from going. I couldn’t even straighten my arm as I watched highlights of the contest and Kody Burns breaking my mark on the Two Hands Pinch. After 6 solid weeks of no training, I finally began to hit 30% weights in January and returned to full lifting in February. The very first day I was back, I was able to pick up the 50-lb Fatman Blob, the hardest I Blob I have in my collection, and hold it while I hit the speed bag. I owe a great deal of thanks to the skilled therapists at ProCare for helping me come back.
JT Straussner In the still shot, seated, to the right, is Maryanne McKeague The value she provides at contests by judging, loading, and recording is immeasurable! Thank you for all you do, Maryanne!
Right around this time in early February, to my surprise, I found out that one of the best steel benders in the world, JT Straussner was living in the area, working in the Natural Gas industry. The truth is, he had been here for 4 months already and did not realize he was only 40 minutes away. He contacted me through Facebook and the next day he was here training. With JT here, I now have the closest thing to a full-time partner for Grip Training that I have ever had. When he isn’t here, we are texting back and forth about training ideas, analyzing lifts, and coming up with new schemes about how to get one more pound on a lift, shut a gripper down a hair further, or hold onto something for just a split second longer. I can’t say enough about how much he’s helped me, and we are already working on a plan for the next several weeks of training.
Finally, I must give recognition to Robby Sparango. I have been coaching him on-line throughout much of 2013 and despite the fact that we have never been in the same State together, his energy, will to learn and desire to improve has been inspiring. I feed off other people’s energy and Robby has that in spades. This guy is going to be great!
To each of these people, as well as every single person who has sent me messages, emails, youtube comments, etc., I owe a huge THANKS. Believe me, I am just like everybody else and have bad workouts, bad moments, and I get frustrated just as much as you all do, so when I get a note from you, it makes a difference. I am extremely lucky to have so many people who support me, so thank you to you all.
Now, after all that, here’s the run-down on the NAGS Championship 2013
Event 1: Grippers
The first event was Grippers. In 2010 and 2011, I closed a 182-rated #3.5, but in 2012, I couldn’t even come close. As I look back, with as poorly as I did at NAGS 2012, that was probably right around where my Thoracic Outlet Syndrome either started or where it reached the point of volatility where it began pulling my numbers down. I don’t recall what I got last year, but it might have been in the 170′s. This year, I closed a 182.1 gripper on my first attempt, and then a 185-rated gripper on my second. I tried a 187 on my third attempt, but it was quite a ways from closing, so I waived my 3rd attempt.
I did not get the 182.1 close on film, but I got the 185 and it is posted below.
The 185 was an outlier gripper. What I mean is it rates 185 on the device time and time again, but when squeezing it, it feels less. I should have gone for it immediately on my first left-handed attempt, but did not do so until my 2nd or 3rd attempt. It’s funny how memory clouds up after less than a week, even after such an important event. I was close to closing it with my left hand, but close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, so I had to settle for a 150 or so close with my left hand.
Event 2: Two Hands Pinch
The second event was the Two Hands Pinch. As I stated before, Kody Burns exceeded my mark of 268lbs in December, moving it to 270 plus change, and this would be the first time he and I would compete against one another since doing so, so it added a bit of drama to the event.
I struggled to lift 255 last year at Nationals, missing on it 3 times before finally lifting it on the 4th. With such a close call last year, this year, I decided to play it safe and started much lower. I remember my first pull came up extremely easy, pulling it well beyond the stick and setting it down under control. Although we were lifting on two separate implements, Kody and I ended up hitting our attempts at the same time and we switched back and forth for each one to go. I thought that was cool, although I have heard feedback since that it drug on too long. Oh well.
Kody had hit something around 245, so I went on to 253. I missed it on the first attempt, but I shouldn’t have. I noticed the spacers had partially popped up out of the steel frame prior to lifting, and I should have asked for it to be re-adjusted, but instead I just lifted. The result was the implement only came up off the ground a few inches. This REALLY pissed me off, because I knew I had the strength to pull it plus some more on that day.
I came back and hit 253 clean while Kody couldn’t quite get 262 to cooperate, so I won the Pinch event with my pull of 253.
By this point, I knew I was in good standing in the overall and was probably either 2nd or 3rd. We were now going into the Axle Deadlift.
Event 3: Axle Deadlift
Thick Bar has always been a struggle for me, despite my willingness to train it hard. In actuality, I trained Axle much harder the last two months than I did the Two Hands Pinch. I am not sure if that helped me as much as I would have liked…
Again, I started out light here, because last year I totally BOMBED on all my lifts. This year, being more careful, I got two successful lifts at around 355 and 365, then missed 375 during my final two events. I was really trying to focus in and squeeze as hard as I could, and while on the second attempt I think I actually pulled it higher, it was still nowhere near lockout.
Going into the 4th event, the Medley, I was now in 3rd place, trailing Andrew Durniat by who knows how much and behind Brad Ardrey by 7/100′s of a point – CRAZY.
Event 4: Medley
This year, I attacked the Medley. Strike that. JT and I attacked the Medley. We had a list of the challenges and analyzed it both during each workout and while we drove to the contest. We had gone over everything so many times, that it was like we practiced on the actual implements that were in the Medley, we were so confident. While Andrew again won the event with an awesome 51 points, I came in second with 45 and Brad Ardrey got 44. Now, I had pulled slightly ahead of Brad in the overall standings, so I knew I had to take it to the next level mentally on the final event, the Wrist Roller.
Big thanks to Brandon Gerber for filming and providing commentary
Event 5: Wrist Roller
I have done the Wrist Roller in several contests over the years, but this would be the first time on this type of design. The wrist roller had a cable attached to it and on the other end of the cable was a big, long lever arm. Attached to the lever arm was a GIANT MASS CHAINS that looked like the tangled mess of Christmas Lights that Chevy Chase pulls out of the box in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. However, despite the scariness of that knot, I had no fear going into the event. I had trained it so hard, I knew going in I would feel no fatigue, no burning, or discomfort as I powered through it.
The way the event was timed, was like this. The cable had a piece of tape wrapped around it, and once that tape hit the spool between the hands, time was up. When it was my turn to hit the Wrist Roller, the leading time was something like 8.02 seconds, set by Brandon Gerber. JT came very close to that mark, although I don’t recall what he actually hit on it. I was the first to go sub-8 seconds, hitting 7.98 seconds on my turn. I thought I was good to go, but Brad Ardrey finished just behind me with 7.96 seconds. Unfortunately, Andrew was on his game this day, as he vanquished both our marks with a time closer to 7.5 seconds than 8.
In the end, Andrew had come out in the Top spot in the overall category. I came in at the top spot in the 120-kilo class and finished 2nd behind Andrew in the Overall, and just ahead of Brad. The separation between us had to be less than 1/2 a point.
The 2013 National Championship was a good day for me. I can not say I am perfectly content with all my performances, but I am happy to have finished how I did.
Once again, I thank everyone who supported me over the last year. It means so much.
Finally, I want to send a shout-out to Dan Huff, Joe Carabase and Corey MacGregor, three guys I am in a business team with. These gentlemen have helped me out tremendously with my diet. I was actually down nearly 25 pounds for the 2013 comp, weighing under 255-lbs, compared to the portly 279 of a year ago. I feel so much better that is hard to described, but I wouldn’t have been there without those 3.
In closing, I just want to say that anybody reading this is just as capable of attaining this level of performance as I am. You just have to believe it and take the good information that is available and put it into action.
All the best in your training, and I hope to see you at a future competition, some time soon.
Want to get started on your path to Nationals, right now? Join The Grip Authority, TODAY.
I’ve had some readers write in and ask for more information on Grip Sport, things such as how the sport of grip developed and how I got involved in grip sport. I answer these questions below.
Sorry for the small number of new posts here on the site lately. I have been rehabbing an injury and the therapy has been taking up a lot of my time. This has also cut into my time to shoot videos for the Challenges that I said would be coming. If you remember, in December, I posted a Diesel Crew Challenge called 21′s or Black Jacks. There were many impressive performances.
The originator of the challenge, Mike Rinderle, showed incredible improvement over the course of the month. He started out on December 1st with a time of 57:27 and managed to cut it all the way down to 21:30.
A really good friend of Mike Rinderle’s, Kris Hamilton, did Black Jack in 8:48, and posted a double Black Jack time of just under 29 minutes.
Bill Long did 11:27, Zach Counter did 13:29, Peter Hellman – 25:26; a fellow posting under the name Ric completed the challenge in 8:27. Matt C posted a time of 44:45.
In addition, Southern Maryland Cross Fit used Black Jacks as their Workout of the Day one day during December and an entire group gave it a shot. Posted below are the times:
It was a very popular challenge, so thanks Mike for introducing it to us!
I will be posting more challenges, but I don’t feel right calling the Diesel Universe to task when I am not capable of pushing myself. I guess I am looking for guidance from all of you as to whether you would like me to start them now while I am still in PT. I am just not the kind of guy to say, “Here do this,” over and over while I can not push my own limits to the same degree.