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World’s Strongest Hands Series

As you all know, I compete in as many Grip Strength Competitions as my schedule allows.

I am a competitor and I love testing myself.

David Horne, a Grip Legend and Pioneer, from Stafford, England, is promoting the World’s Strongest Hands Series, which is a series of four legs of competition. There is a winner each leg and there will be an overall winner as well.

With this post, I am hoping to put some information out there to increase awareness of this competition, and hopefully to bring in new competitors.

This series is an EXCELLENT way for you to break into Grip competition. I would like nothing more than to have a dozen new Grip Competitors come to my facility for the next leg and see how this stuff works.

This past weekend, I had two new Grip Competitors sign up and compete at Leg 2, EJ Livesey and Mike Pachulski. Both of these guys are from The Grip Authority and loved the competition. Both off them wrote me emails immediately upon getting home after the event about how much they enjoyed themselves.

I know so many more people would love to try a Grip Comp, and with only 3 events to train and a minimal entry fee of $15, there is very little time or monetary risk involved. So, what I would like to do is go over some information about the WSH Series, and extend an invite for all to come try it out.

Here are the events:

Two Hands Pinch

World Record, BABY!

You’ve all seen my videos of both training for the pinch, and my World Record lift last December. I have loved this lift since I first tried it back in 2003. Pinching is my favorite Grip Discipline and thus I train it the most. Those two factors are probably why I have been near the top of the Pinch list for the last 5 years…

Wrist Developer

wrist developer
Wrist Developer

The Wrist Developer is a steel apparatus that is used to test wrist and forearm strength. Although it does not isolate those two aspects, they are the limiting factors. The spring can be moved up and down the bars using the variety of notches, making it very good for gradually increasing the difficulty. Wrist Strength has held me back for years, so I am taking this one very seriously. After all, you can’t maximize your hand strength without a solid, stable and strong wrist.

Vulcan Gripper

vulcan gripper
Vulcan Gripper

The Vulcan Gripper was designed to replicate the sweep of the old Iron Man Grippers which came out in the 1950’s I believe. The Vulcan also has the two bars with notches so that the spring can be moved around in order to modify the resistance. Crush is also something that holds me back in my placings at Grip contests. What I love about the Vulcan is that there is no knurling, so I can train it almost every day without my skin being in agony. This has always been the thing that has kept me from really ramping up the volume – sore skin.

I don’t feel that irritating skin pain with this Gripper, and what’s great is that the design of this Gripper is close enough to the Captains of Crush and Beef Builder Grippers, that one can train on the Vulcan and still ahve good carryover and results on the torsion spring counterparts. For instance, My best Gripper close in the last two years with a parallel set has been a 179-lb rated gripper. At GGC after working with the Vulcan consistently for 4 or 5 weeks, I closed a 182-lb rated gripper!

Now, to buy all of this equipment from David Horne is going to cost you, especially since it is coming from Europe. So what I am going to do below is offer up suggestions on how you can train for the competition without having the equipment and still be prepared for the platform on “game day.”

Training for the Two Hands Pinch

two hands pinch
Two Hands Pinch Apparatus

The easiest way to prepare for this event is with a pair of 35’s or 45-lb plates placed together smooth-sides-out with a pipe run through the center hole. Plates are then added to the pipe to increase the weight.

You will probably want to put spin collars or some other type of spacer between the pinching plates and the loading plates, because otherwise your fingers will hit the loading plates and disturb your grip on the apparatus.

The actual Two Hands Pinch set-up is adjustable for different hand sizes. The outside gripping plates are made of steel and the internal plates are made out of rubber. This is not a complex set-up at all to replicate. You simply need to get two pieces of steel plating cut into the shape of a circle and get a center hole put directly into the center of the plates. This is where you will run the pipe through in order to add more weight.

For the rubber inserts, you can go to WalMart or KMart and get rubber anti-fatigue matting and cut them up into the circle shape with the holes cut out of the center.

You would not believe how much difference a few millimeters makes on this lift. Too thin and you put too much stress on your fingers, causing them to bend when you lift. Too thick, and the thing wants to pop out of your hand on every pull. Just right and it feels like your hands are suction cups, ready to defy gravity, brother!

Training for the Wrist Developer

The purpose of the Wrist Developer is to test wrist and forearm strength. When hitting an attempt on this device, you actually involve the entire upper body and I even feel it in the glutes on a max attempt.

Reverse Style Bending

Because of the large amount of muscles and joints involved in this movement, I can’t just point to one individual movement in order to prepare for this event. I think reverse style bending is one way to start. This way you get that extended effort feeling of the near-isometric action that accompanies an attempt on the WD. The WD’s handles are a bit longer than most short bends however, so that has to be taken into consideration.

Pulling the Mace Down

Another movement that is somewhat similar to the WD is Mace Swinging, especially the pull back to the order position. The short-coming there is that Mace Swinging is done rapidly with a great deal of concentric movement and the WD is a high-tension, short movement. The feeling can probably be better replicated by using a lighter mace, a sledgehammer, or other leverage tool, covering the same distance with similar joint angles.

The bottom line is the WD is a tough one to replicate without the actual equipment. Going in without touching the apparatus in training, I would suggest to prepare for the contest using a variety of different forearm, wrist and elbow strengthening movements, varying the load in order to increase the tension, while also working isometrics and near-isometrics, because that is essentially what you are doing with the Wrist Developer.

Training for the Vulcan Gripper

If you’ve got skills as a welder, you can probably design a mock-up of the device. I do not have those skills, so I have never been able to go that route. However, like I said before, the C.O.C. grippers and other options for torsion spring grippers are nearly identical.

vulcan gripper block set
Vulcan Block Set

The important detail to keep in mind for Gripper training, especially for the WSH Series is the set. For these competitions, in order to make sure everyone closes the handles together from a legal position, a 20-mm block has to be slid between the handles prior to closing. This prevents a deep cheat set from counting as a legal close. If you don’t have a Vulcan, just train the block set with your COC’s or whatever types of Grippers you own.

gripper block set
COC Block Set

However, using a block set of this nature requires more energy and coordination in order to close the gripper. You’ve got to train this set in your workouts in order to be ready for it on competition day. Just setting it to parallel and then pausing before closing it is not good enough. You’ve got to feel what it’s like to fumble around with your off-hand while holding the gripper at parallel or greater isometrically. It’s quite different.

vulcan death gripper
Vulcan Death Gripper

Incidentally, Death Grip has come out with a version of the Vulcan Gripper made by Death Grip Brand Hand and Wrist Strengtheners that I can put you in contact with. Just hit me with an email and I will send you the information. There is no website at this point.

Upcoming Contests

As I said earlier on, my purpose of this post is to increase the awareness of Grip Sport itself and encourage people to try out a competition. If you are in the New England, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia area (is there a word for all these states???), you are in driving range for the competition here at my place. When I have people coming in from the outer reaches of this territory, I start the contests an hour later to give people a better chance of getting here safely. However, if you are nowhere near any of these places, Legs for the WSH Series are taking place all over the nation.

Here are the names of the promoters and the cities they are holding contests, in case you would like to try out a competition.

  • Eric Milfeld – DFW, Texas
  • Aaron Corcorran – Tucson, Arizona
  • Adam Glass – Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Dave Thornton – Three Rivers, Michigan
  • Chris Rice – Crooksville, Ohio
  • Andrew Durniat – Wooster Ohio

If these areas are closer to you than my place, I can put you in contact with them in order to get signed up for an event or possibly to even arrange a training session with the equipment. Getting this equipment in your hands so you know how it feels and compares with your work-around equipment is half the battle.

The Dates of the next two legs are:

  • Leg 3 – Saturday 16 October, 2010
  • Leg 4 – Saturday 13 November, 2010

I hope to continue to bring you even more information that you can use to your advantage. I love the sport and hope to help it grow. Any help you can give me is appreciated.


P.S. If you’d like to see these events in action, I loaded them all to my YouTube Channel. Just go to my channel and the first one will play, then it will give you a link to follow at the end to get the next video. There are 6 videos and they are all about 3 minutes apiece or so => Grip Contest Footage


Ultimate Forearm Training for Baseball | How to Bend Nails | How to Tear Cards | Feats of Grip Strength Explained | How to Build Your Own Equipment | How to Lift Atlas Stones | The Sh*t You’ve Never Seen | Sled Dragging for Athletes | The Road to the Record DVD

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15 Responses to “World’s Strongest Hands Series”

  1. Matt Ellsworth Says:

    Not interested in competing but would love to watch, do you know when/where the Minneapolis competition will be?

  2. frank Says:

    Jed could you send me infovon the death gripper.

    Thank you

  3. brent Says:

    Anybody who is even thinking about it should go. You’ll have a blast and learn a lot more in one afternoon than you would think possible. also, fun.

  4. Aaron Corcorran Says:

    Excellent write up Jedd as usual. Thanks for taking the time to lay it all out.

  5. Harlan Jacobs Says:

    Jedd, I need some info about Death Grip. Also besides trial and error, is there a way to measure you hand to determine what would be a good width to use when doing pinch lifts ?

  6. Jim Smith Says:

    @ Matt Ellsworth – The Minneapolis Comp will be the same day as the others, October 16th. Check with Adam – he has other comps planned. Enjoy!

  7. Jim Smith Says:

    I will be glad to get you the info once it is available. Right now, they do not have a website, but they are working on it. Stay tuned!

  8. Jim Smith Says:

    Thanks for stopping by. Feel free to send people over to the site if they have questions about the contests.

  9. Jim Smith Says:

    @ Frank,
    Like I told Harlan, I will make the info available once I get it, for sure. Thanks.


  10. James Says:

    I would love the info on the Death gripper and the wrist device, keep up the good work.

  11. Harlan Jacobs Says:

    Kick some ass with those Bells this weekend Smitty

  12. Mike T Nelson Says:

    Good write up man! I have a whole new level of respect for the Euro 2 hand pinch World Record after doing leg 1 and 2 for the first time ever recently. Wow.

    The wrist developer is evil too–youch!

    Matt, come on out to the Minneapolis event, it is a blast.

    I am looking to break all my PRs (personal records) once again in Oct for leg 3. I will be the one in the lab coat in MN, so I will be easy to find!

    Rock on
    Mike T Nelson PhD(c)

  13. Jim Smith Says:

    Thanks Mike. Keep up the good work.

  14. Diesel Crew – Muscle Building, Athletic Development, Strength Training, Grip Strength » Blog Archive » World’s Strongest Hands Leg 3 Says:

    […] World’s Strongest Hands Leg 3 Share […]

  15. Mark Says:

    Hey Jedd, great article. Do you have any info you could send re the Vulcan Death Gripper. It looks like a great piece of kit and can be adjusted to three different set widths I believe.

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