As I have said many times in the past, despite my huge hands, for whatever reason, Thick Bar, the type of grip training done on round bars in an open hand position, are one of my nemeses in Grip.
Because Thick Bar was a weakness for me, over the years I began training it less and less, which really just becomes a vicious cycle because when you suck at something, and you don’t work on it, it is only going to make you suck at it worse.
You need to train on it more in order to figure out what is the best way for you, yourself to train on it. Through experimentation, trial and error, and tracking your progress, you can then hope to find tactics that work best for you.
For a long time, I wasn’t doing any of that. I was just training Thick Bar when I had to – when it was coming up in the next contest, and then after that contest I wouldn’t do any of it. Bad idea if you’re looking for progress.
This isn’t just about Grip Training – the same can be said for any other lift, or style of training, really. For instance, if your Squat sucks, and you hate it, then chances are you are going to be tempted to bag it. Maybe you put your squat day on Friday and then invent reasons to miss your Friday workouts so you don’t have to deal with the struggle.
Or maybe the thing that you suck at is Overhead Press. Maybe you’ve never been a good presser because of poor shoulder mobility, or your thoracic area is tight, or your triceps lack lockout strength. Whatever the “reason” you have in your head, they really only amount to excuses if you don’t address them. Eh, I’ll just work bench today and skip overhead…
I came to realize several months ago that if I didn’t start shifting some of my emphasis and efforts to Thick Bar, I was going to continue to be blown away on these events. I first came to this realization in doing one of my Coaching Call Recordings for my guys and gals at TheGripAuthority.com, and with that I began looking at my program.
I soon realized that I was doing a whole lot of things I was good at and not nearly enough of the things I was not good at. My weeks were very heavy with Pinch and very light on Thick Bar, with a healthy sprinkle of everything else thrown in.
So, one day I decided it was time to Change My Paradigm. For years, my main emphasis had been Pinch, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because it has a great deal of benefit to other aspects of hand strength, but I was doing Pinch at the expense of all my other training.
A Paradigm Shift is essentially a change in your way of thinking, or in this case, a change in the way I was approaching my training. It was time to make some HUGE CHANGES in my training.
What I would like to do right now is invite you to challenge your own paradigms, especially around any particular goals you might have but have been (up until now) incapable of attaining. Set up something that is totally different from what you have been doing — I mean totally different – and go after it.
For me, for years, I chased 400-lbs on an IronMind Axle, and did nothing but get worse because what I continually did over and over and over just wasn’t working. After I had a paradigm shift, I was finally able to deadlift 400+ on the axle.
My First 400-lb Axle Deadlift
However, what I would also like to mention is that there is another part to this. Although I am telling you to make a BIG CHANGE in your training, once you set up a new approach to your training, don’t keep modifying it all the time. Set something up and go for it for at least 4 to 6 six weeks.
When you set a track for a goal, you can’t just keep bouncing back and forth and switching stuff up all the time. You need to decide what you are going to try and then stick to it. That is the only way to know whether what you designed in the first place worked or not. How can you lay out a program and know if it worked if you keep switching every two weeks, continually moving away from the program? You can’t.
In February, I finally hit over 400 on the Axle and it could have been just as easy to stop the program that I laid out for myself and do something different, or go back to just maxing out all the time, but I didn’t. I kept going with it, the only changes I made being to dial back on the volume of thick bar per session when my hands were feeling over-worked.
Sticking with the movements that I decided would be beneficial over the course of the first three months this year has been awesome, as I have continued to build on two separate PR systems on the Axle which I have found to be mutually beneficial, including my 1 Rep Max on the Double Overhand Axle, which I recently got for 423-lbs and have since topped again.
423-lbs on the Axle – New Program Continues to Work
After freezing at 396-lbs and over the course of 4 years and eventually even watching my numbers drop, it feels great to now be consistently working above 400-lbs, and coming ever so close to tripling near 400-lbs on many occasions.
So again, I challenge you to take a look within yourself at the goals that you want to achieve but are not achieving, and ask – Is it time for a paradigm shift? If so, make the change now.
Challenge Your Paradigms, and then Stick With Your Program
Incidentally, my entire Thick Bar Program is fully outlined at TheGripAuthority.com. I’d love to see you there.
All the best in your training.
As I have said before, I am dedicated to bringing you the best information to help you with your strength training.
If I do something in my training like reach a new milestone, I can’t wait to come back here and not just tell you about it but also how I was able to get it.
Much of my success is based around experimentation in my own training.
This is primarily because not a lot of people do the kind of training that I do: Grip Training, Strongman Training/Odd Object Training. And if they do, they usually don’t have a website.
Recently, it became time to put my thinking and experimenting hat on again. I sat down and really thought about how to bring up my Thick Bar Grip Strength.
With Mighty Mitts being an almost entirely Thick Bar contest, and with it being my Achilles heel of Grip, I knew I had to attack it hard, but go about it the right way to stay healthy. I came up with a new experiment to try, and so far it has seemed to be paying off for me BIG TIME, especially in the Axle Double Overhand Deadlift.
This is a lift that plagued me for years. Reaching the 400-lb Plateau started out tough, and just got harder, as I outlined in this info-packed post: First 400-lb Axle Deadlift.
The other day, although I wasn’t quite able to get a real nice pause at the top, I was able to pull 413-lbs to the lockout position.
I have done the same Thick Bar Workout twice a week for the last 5 weeks, not counting this current week, because I am de-loading. Each workout starts with my Primary Lift which is either Axle or Inch Dumbbell, and then I have three Auxiliary Lifts that I do for Thick Bar as well.
This combination has been so productive, I outlined the entire structure for my guys and gals at TheGripAuthority during February. Click the banner below to join today and check out what I have been doing.
All the best in your training.
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