Mighty Mitts 2012 – Part II
Getting ready to lift both Fatman Blobs
As I posted yesterday, Mighty Mitts was an absolute honor for me to be a part of and it is truly a pinnacle of the sport of grip. Being up on that stage, in front of all those people performing, when they could have done ANYTHING with their time, but they hung around to watch us – it was my honor to put on a show for them, and that is exactly what I aimed to do.
As you’ll see in many of my videos, I tried to engage the crowd by pumping my arms and circling my hands to get them going a bit. And the fact that the Day 2 events were much more my specialty gave me increased confidence that I could do well and prove that I deserved to be there.
Day 2 Events
The Medley is an event that is commonly held in Grip contests. Because I knew the challenge items that would be in the medley, I only trained them a few times. Primarily, I worked on the Hub Deadlift, Circus Dumbbell (I trained using a similar device) and the Anvil High-Pull, but I only hit them a couple of times because I was mostly focused on bringing up my thick bar strength.
The Basic Rules
The way the Medley was set up, there were 9 challenge items, each listed below in order.
We had 2 minutes to complete all the challenges.
The main difference between this and other Medleys I have competed in was that once you went past one of the challenge items, you could not go back. You could try as many times as you wanted to lift the item, but returning was not permitted.
This gave the event a very interesting twist because in other competitions, we have always been able to go back and try items again, although very, very rarely are you able to successfully lift something upon going back. So this increased the strategic level of the event, and made it very cool.
Also, the time would stop once you finished the final challenge, the Phone Book Tear. If there were ties, the leader would be the person who finished the phone book first. This also made things very interesting and in the end played a huge role in my scoring.
You might know, the three challenge items I trained on the most, (Hubs, Circus Bell, and Anvil) I ended up failing on in the actual event.
Here is a rundown of each of the challenge items and how I did on them.
1. Circus Dumbbell (Miss) – This is one of the challenge items that I worked intently on during my Medley item training days, because I recognized it as a weakness. Richard Sorin announced it to be in the Medley very early on, and I knew that in the past I had never lifted it, so I put the time in on my very thick 4-inch loadable handle. The handle of the Circus Dumbbell was very well knurled, so slickness was no excuse. I just simply could not maintain my grip on the handle as I tried to pull it to the height of the platform. Looking back, I might have been able to pull it a bit higher had I braced the rear head of the dumbbell against my forearm, however, it never crossed my mind to give it a try.
2. 100-lb Pinch – This was a one-handed pinch lift to a full deadlift. Normally, a 100-lb pinch on plates or on the Euro would be a fairly challenging lift, but this plate had a rather prominent indented rim around the outside of the plate, making it much easier to lift. As a result, I think everyone was able to lift this item, meaning I was unable to make up any points by lifting it myself – drat!
3. Globed Leverage Bar / Weaver Stick Lift – This was an interesting piece. The handle was oval-shaped, similar to a sledge hammer, so you had to make sure that you got your grip on it right or else it would try to wobble out of your grip. The weight was in the neighborhood of 13- to 15-lbs I believe. You had to either deadlift it parallel to the ground or you could stand upright and lever it strictly to the parallel position. Either way, handle had to be kept right near your thigh or it would not count. I think everybody got this one too. Drat – no points against these beasts!
4. Hub Lift – This was done on a rather slick 45-lb York Barbell Plate with the characteristic sloping flange, which makes gripping it much more difficult than today’s more common tube-shaped hub designs. The dial grip was permitted instead of just the claw grip, which was good because I am not sure I would have been able to break that plate off the ground by the hub using the standard grip. I ended up pulling the plate up to nearly the height of the loading platform, but for some reason every time I tried changing directions and moving it toward or over top of the platform, it would slip right out of my hand. The platforms were a bit higher than normal, but I actually like a higher platform because it requires more endurance and skill in the loading process. The height was not the issue – my strength on hubs was. I could have really used the point for the hub lift, as it would have put me into sole ownership of first place in the event when all was said and done.
5. Fatman Style Blobs – Two Fatman Blobs had to be loaded on top of the same platform as the hub and same height as the Circus Bell. I had no fear going into this one, as my Blobs are off the charts right now. In prep for MM, I was able to lift Josh Dale’s Fatman with no warm-up, something I have never been able to do. The way this challenge was scored is you had to do one with your left hand and one with your right, and if you did both of them simultaneously, you would get a bonus point. I was the only one in the body of competitors who got both at the same time, although some did get both separately. So I was able to pick up a valuable extra point.
6. Anvil – Next was an Anvil that naturally weighed around 170-lbs and also had a chain wrapped around it for extra weight. In warm-ups, I tested this piece and the horn felt like sand paper, so I was feeling golden to rock this one with no problem. Once I got to it and hit like 5 tries between my left and right hands and it still wasn’t on the platform yet, I was getting pissed, but maintained my cool. Another item that I prepared for hard, felt good on in warm-ups yet failed to load to the 8- or 10-inch platform. And also, mor emuch needed points down the drain. Undaunted, I continued to the next apparatus.
7. Sorinex G-Rex – The G-Rex was loaded with four 45-lb plates and the objective was to grip the handle with both hands and squeeze it until the two handles met, at which point a light would illuminate on the device. I was actually intimidated by this because the fully opened spread on the G-Rex is pretty damn wide, but to my enjoyment, once I got my firngers all the way on there, it came up pretty easily and with a little fishing around at the top I was able to light all three lights. In this case, three red lights was a good thing!
8. Millstone – Richard Sorin feels this Millstone is liftable, but I think in order to accomplish it, it will take some specific training to do so. In my estimation, the stone is about 5 inches thick and in the neighborhood of 120-lbs (just estimates), so it is a very large and heavy object to pinch with one hand. A two-hand lift has been done by many, including my good friend, Chris Rice, who did so in 2006 and got an awesome picture of it, to boot. I gave it a pull with at least my right hand, and maybe my left, but I did not waste a lot of time because when I spun around to check out the time that was left, I was under 30 seconds of time to go before I was done, so I scooted ahead to the last item.
9. Phone Book – The last item in the line was the phone book, more or less 1200-pages, supplied by Nick Rosendaul. It is just hard to believe how many people had a hand in making this contest a success. Awesome! I can usually finish a phone book like this in about 5 seconds, but in this case it took me a bit longer because I don’t normally tear a phone book after lifting and trying to lift so many other things, so I was a bit spent, but finished it before the time limit expired and let out a big scream of excitement to the crowd, which many returned back to me.
Since I knew I was close on many of the items, I took extra time in order to take a couple of extra attempts on things like the Hub and the Anvil, but what this ended up doing is hurting me a bit because in the end I had 7 points for the event, and so did Tex Henderson, but since he made his way to and through the phone book quicker than I did, he grabbed first place points. I am not sure how much first place in this event would have helped me since I finished so poorly on day one, but it would have been cool to make some bigger jumps up the standings.
Here is the video of me going through the Medley.
I have tons more video clips of the other competitors’ medley runs up on my YouTube channel. I words them all similarly, so I am hoping they show up once that video ends. But just in case, I have also put together a playlist of all the videos I have uploaded from Mighty Mitts 2012. <= Click that link to view the playlist. If I got the chance to speak on the Mike, I wanted to make sure to work in there some words of recognition and appreciation to the Sorins and their crew for all that they had done, and I got my chance after the Medley. Here is my little nod to them.
Shout Out to Sorinex’s Crew
The last event of the contest was the Wrist Roller. These guys really out-did themselves with the Wrist Roller this year, making it both a challenging lift for the contestants, and also a pretty visually appealing lift for the audience as well. A strap was connected to the wrist roller, and a series of weights including chain and other odd objects were lifted upwards, getting heavier and heavier as the distance increased. Thankfully, for safety’s sake, they thought to make the wrist roller a ratcheting device so that if your grip slipped, it didn’t all just roll backwards on you. The perfect balance between function, look, and challenge, if you ask me.
This sucker got really heavy on me towards the end and I had to get crazy near the end of the run. I just shut my eyes and kept digging hard, and even ended up going further and longer than I had to. I was so focused on completed the wrist roller that I could not hear Bert saying I was done and I could not see Cyborg tapping on the device telling me I was done.
While I don’t have all my stats, points, etc., I do know that I finished 7th, and I was damn happy to climb out of the cellar, after a dismal day 1.
DIESELS, I can’t tell you how awesome of an experience the entire Arnold / Mighty Mitts weekend was. It was truly an honor to be a part of it and it was a spectacle to behold. I still have tons of video to upload and once I get caught up, I am going to post a video right below here of the crowd surrounding the stage – what an awesome site to witness – literally hundreds of people gathered around for a Grip Contest – AWESOME!
When I think back to a year ago and realize that I was “suffering” from the worst finger injuries I ever had, wondering if I would ever be able to return to form, I am truly thankful to have gotten this opportunity one more time.
Thanks for your support, and all the best in your training.