T Nation

Clockin' A Grip


I’ve been training in one way or another for awhile now. Lately, chasing numbers in the big, competition lifts has been working worse and worse for me. But I’m not ready to just give up and turn to General Fitness style workouts.

While I figure things out in the gym, I’m going to put some emphasis on training my grip. A lot of other people here have been closing grippers, bending steel and training with axles lately. It’s been inspiring.

So, for the next 6 weeks my short-term goal is to work some grip into my routine, without throwing everything off or exploding my elbows.

After that, my intermediate goal is to meet Ironmind’s “Crushed to Dust Challenge.”
-Close Number 2 Gripper
-Lift 45 pounds on the Hub
-Lift 200 on the Rolling Thunder

I’ll probably use a 45 pound plate, on my Fat Gripz on a regular D handle though.

After that, we’ll see.


I messed around in the back yard, for recovery. I threw the medicine ball a couple times, then did some “suitcase walks” with 1 kettle bell. Repeated until I felt “loose.”

C.O.C. Grippers
Trainer x5, 8,10
Number 1 x5

Trainer x5, 8, 10
Number 1 x8

One, 3/16"x6" (“Green” Hot Rolled Steel")
One, 6" Timber Spike (Cheap, low quality 60 Penny nail)


Warm Ups

Seated Dumbbell Press

Band Tricep Pushdowns
4x25 or so

Rear Delt Dumbbell Raises
4x15 or so

Sets of chin ups, then facepulls on Blast Straps, then inverted rows on Blast Straps between sets.

3-2-16 (Legs?)

Warm Ups

Step Ups paired with Chest Supported Rows.
5 sets each

Inverse Curl
Lunge In Place
Standing Calf Raise
3 circuits

Blast Strap Fallouts paired with Reverse Hypers
3 sets each

3-4-16 (Bench)

Warm Ups

Wrist Roller( 2 Rolls Knuckles “Back,” 1 Roll Knuckles “Forward”)

Bench Press

1 Arm Cable Tri Pushdowns
4 sets of around 25

Chins and then face pulls on Blast Straps between sets.

Bumper Plate Flips

3-5-16 (Legs?)

Seated Calf Raise
Leg Extension
Leg Curl
3 circuits

4 sets

Lunge in Place paired with Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift
4 sets each

Blast Strap Fallouts paired with Reverse Hypers
3 sets each


Made it through the week. Grippers and bending had my wrists and forearms tight and sore. Using the wrist roller a few days later made them feel much better.


Love the idea behind this log. Excited to see how it goes.

Having played around with the rolling thunder, I’d strongly push for you to get a for real one instead of the DIY. It’s a whole different animal compared to a d-ring with a fat grip. The latter can prep you for the circumference, but the real challenge with the rolling thunder is how the damn thing spins on you while you try to pick it up. It tries to roll right out of your hands, whereas a d-ring tends to do the opposite, and aligns with your grip.

That said though, if you become a beast with the d-ring, you’ll still have a strong grip. Never any harm is getting stronger, haha.


I’m always looking for an excuse to buy some new equipment.


Some stretching and mobility stuff. Band pull aparts and band dislocates. Clam shells, hip hikes. Using the bands to “traction” my shoulders. I try to do some of this boring stuff every day.

Messing around in the backyard. Medicine ball throws and suitcase carries with kettle bells. Very low intensity.

C.O.C. Grippers
Trainer x 5, 8. 10
Number 1 x 5, 8
Number 2 one time each hand
Trainer x 10

One Piece, 3/16" x 6"
One Piece, 3/16" x 5"
1 Timber Spike

I try to walk my dogs 2 or 3 times a day. Years ago, I used to go for jogs, or do 25 minutes of slow cardio on machines after workouts. Now I just try to make one of the dog walks go 30 minutes.



Morning warm-up/activation junk. Clam shells, scap push ups.


Scarecrows, wrist roller, some 1 arm pulldowns to get warmed up

Seated Dumbbell Press
a couple warm ups

Blast Strap Pushups
4 sets

1 Arm pulldowns and then chest supported T-bar style rows between sets of presses and pushups. Chins are awesome, but I tend to pull to the right side and get crooked. I started each row by squeezing shoulder blades back and together. Dips are also not great for me, for the same reason. The pushups were cool, I could watch myself in the mirror to make sure I was square, and just move through the longest ROM possible without messing up.

Rear Delts on Pec Deck/Dumbbell Curls/Band Pushdowns
3 “pump circuits”



Standing Calf Raise
1 Leg Curl
Step Ups
Suitcase Walk
a few easy circuits to get going

High Box Squat with Giant Cambered Bar
many sets of 5. Up to around 200 x5

Shrugs paired with Lunge in Place
-great pairing. I felt like I was really standing up straight, and using my abs and glutes instead of my back to stay upright for the shrugs.

Blast Strap Fallouts paired with Dumbbell RDL’s
3 sets each

My squat is disgusting. It’s like a caricature of a squat. I lean forward, over arch my back, and stick my knees out. I just kind of hunker over, and get crooked on the descent. Staying on the box allows me to limit the ROM to where I can keep my back straight, and try to use my hips. The cambered bar makes me fight to stay upright, and drive back into the bar, instead of just over-arching my back and faking it. Last year, I was able to progress the box squat for months with no problem. I thought maybe I was ready for squatting. After 5 weeks of shitty free squatting to start the New Year, I strained my back on Super Bowl Sunday. I think its time to get smart and just stay on the box.



Daily recovery junk. Walked with the dogs up and down a big hill.


Light Kelso Shrugs in Smith Machine
Band Triceps
Wrist Roller

Band Curl
Wrist Roller

2 runs through each group to get loose

Bench Press
many light sets

Cable Tri Pushdowns, 1 arm/Dumbbell Curls
3 sets each

Rear delts, chinups and Blast strap upper back stuff between sets.

The bar was moving kind of slow. I could feel myself wanting to cheat and bounce off my chest, but I was using the stiff-ass Texas Squat Bar, so it would have smashed me if I did.


3-13-16 Deads?

Calf Raise
Leg Curl
Step Up
Suitcase Walk
getting loose

Rack Deadlift, Against Doubled Light Bands
many easy sets, up to 135x5!

I alternated lunge in place and band bad-girls sitting on a box, between rack-deads. Trying to use more hips and less back.

1 Leg Curl
Weighted Step Up, weight in off hand
Dumbbell Shrugs, one side at a time
3 sets each.

Blast Strap Ab Fallouts
Bumper Plate Flips
4 sets each. Got 5 flips with a 45, both hands

A little later, at home

C.O.C. Grippers
Trainer x5, 8, 10
Number 1 x5, 8, 10 (I couldn’t shut the last few reps all the way)
Number 2 x1 squeeze each hand. Didn’t get it

1, Timber Spike
1, 1/4" x 6" Bolt
Easy bends, I’m getting a lot out of using the wrist roller.


Just checked Ironmind, a “Red Nail” is 5/16 x 7", so I don’t forget.



Light Kelso Shrugs, tri Pushdown, some curls and wrist roller.
Then some Scarecrows, 1 arm pulldowns and wrist roller.

Seated Dumbbell Press
A few warm ups
45x5, 5, 8

Band Tricep Pushdowns
4 sets
I choked an Average band over the power rack, the looped a light band through that. I could get lots of tension. By the end of each set I was down on my knees, just trying to straighten my arms. It was cool.

Combo Delt Raise
4 run throughs

Between sets of those exercises, I did chinups. On the assisted chinup machine, with 90 pounds of assistance. I was trying to get on the Thibs/Poliquin/Gironda, constant tension tip. Sternum up, head back, then at the top lean away. I could feel my lats all the way down to my waist band. It was cool too.

1 Arm Dumbbell Preacher Curl with Fat Gripz
Constant tension was cool for the back. Thibs mentioned training biceps with constant tension too. Josh Bryant loves the 1 Arm eccentric EZ bar preacher curl for biceps. Doug Young did 1 Arm preachers. I guess I’ll try them out.



Standing Calves
1 Leg Curls
Step Ups

1 Arm kettlebell swings
Standing Leg Raise
1 Arm shrug

Giant Cambered Bar High Box Squat
Several warm ups
One Plate x5, 5, 8

Hack Squat Machine, with Band around knees

Between sets of squats I alternated lunge in place and back raises with a band around my knees. Trying to stay upright, and use my legs and glutes, not back.

Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift
Lunge in Place
3 circuits

Nowhere to go but up!


3-18-16 Bench

Diesel Shoulder Warm Up x2
Some other junk, suitcase walk with Fat Gripz handle

Bench Press
bunch of sets
175x5,5, 8

Blast Strap Pushups
4 sets

Chest supported T-Bar Rows between sets of benching. Really trying to start each lift with mid-back, and push chest into the pad.

Blast Strap face pulls between pushups

1 Arm Cable Tricep Pushdowns/Band-Bell Curls/Rear Delts on Pec Deck
4 circuits

The curls on the band bell are sorta cool. You hand weights from the bands, then the bands go through slots in the band-bell. As you curl, the whole thing wants to rotate, so you have to fight it with your wrists, and move without jerking all over the place. Torque, and more constant tension.

Hub Lift
25 plate, lift and hold for a 5 count. 10 times each hand
35 plate, lifted with both hands. No holds.

Right on schedule


3-19-16. “Neural Charge”

I went in the back yard and threw the medicine ball around a little. Did some suitcase walks and a couple lunges. Low, low intensity.
I walked around my empty wheel barrow. I stepped over some big logs. I rested my dumbbell on top of an empty keg between suitcase walks. I could easily make this a lot cooler. I’ve been meaning to, for a long time now. Hopefully, writing this down where people may see it will motivate me.


Standing Calf
1 Leg Curl
Step Up
2 times

Suitcase walk
1 Arm kettlebell swing
Standing Leg Raise
2 times

Rack Deadlift Against Light Hands
Several warm ups
135x5, 5, 8

Sets of lunge in place or band bad girls between deadlift sets. I lowered the DLs one setting in rack.

Inverse Curl
Hack Squat Machine with Band around knees
Dumbbell Shrugs
3 circuits

Blast strap Fallouts/Reverse Hypers
2 sets each. I kept a Short, Light band around my legs, just below my knees. It made these real hard.



Mobilty/stretching junk. Lots of dog walks


My girl is having some problems in the gym. In order to get her heavy barbell lifts in, she’s been doing less and less of everything else. So she’s not doing enough total work, while at the same time pushing way too hard. She needs a little change up, and I’ve been going for 3 weeks, so I guess its as good time for a slight adjustment as there could be.

And the weights are just a bonus, anyway.

So I just grabbed some routine Wendler posted yesterday. It’s got more assistance than she’s been doing, and I’ve kinda been working my way towards this kind of structure anyway. Also, some sled work, which will be nice as the weather improves.

Warm Ups
8 Jumps
Easy, Easy Dumbbell Press 3 sets
Chins, in supported chin machine 50
Band Pushdowns 100
Blast Strap Abs 50
6 trips with the sled

I really dreaded this. The only thing my girl likes less than changing her routine, is using different weights or rep counts. But this went really smooth. The assisted chinup machine was the MVP of the session.

Also, to hit like Day 1 of the written program, we have to pretty much double today’s workload. And actually do some pressing. That could be 3 weeks right there.

some warm ups
a couple singles with Number 2
Strap Hold (5 count, 25 pounds) with Trainer x5



Calf Raise
1 Leg Curl
Step Up

1 Arm shrug
Suitcase walk
Used Fat Gripz handle

Lunge in place
Chest Supported row
Back Raise/ Dumbbell RDL
100 reps

Leg Curls/back raises
25 pound plate hub lift and hold
50 reps, 15 hub lifts

6 easy trips with sled
3 backwards for "front legs"
3 backwards, with hands behind knees for “back legs” (this was good enough to do again)

Gym was crowed, had to be flexible. Total reps approach instead of planned sets/reps really worked well. Fun workout. Like what I would have done when I was 13.



Recovery junk. Dog time


Get loose

Dumbbell Bench
Pull down
50 reps each

Tricep Pushdown 100
Low Cable underhand sorta row 50
Blast Strap Abs 50?

8 trips. Light weight. Row going down, overhead tricep extension coming back (saw it in a Matt Wenning video. That dude is awesome.) Light, but cool.

Another good session. I have been thinking about the weights/lifting in a very square, unimaginative way for awhile. I’m enjoying this “deload.”


I’ll be monitoring your grip progress closely.


I’ll stop slacking.

What’s an alligator smash? I plan to use a variety of grips and handles for my suitcase walks. I was inspired by the way you use different set ups for your chin ups.


I’m glad I inspired you.

It’s not only pull ups. I try to challenge the grip where ever I can.

It’s basically just a plate hold where your fingers are straight. Adding more plates not only makes it heavier but also increases the circumference, giving a different stimuli. Add a band to increase the tension even further. Sometimes I even put on a pair of slippery gloves.


I messed around in the garage today.

I made a pinch block out of a 2x4, and two thick handles from PVC. With a chain and a caribiener I rigged up a kettlebell for added weight really easy. The chain was too long, so when I did my suitcase walks the kettlebell almost dragged the ground. This length must have increased the torque on my mid section. It was cool.

I also pulled a threaded eye bolt out of an old Christmas Tree stand. I wrapped it in Gorilla Tape to smooth It out. Hopefully holding onto that will carry over to bending.

I need to rig up a wrist roller set up at home. And get some kind of hub-action going.



Tried some pull thru-s. Not happening. Tried some single leg deadlifts. I really sucked, so I started trying to mess with some bands to help line me up or something. Re-discovered the band through belt, it’s really good to get the glutes going.

Rdl’s with the band through the belt felt good.(50)
Power Squats with Band through belt felt really good.(50)
Dumbbell Rows (50)
Bar Pushups (50)

8 trips with sled. 4 backwards for thighs. 4 with hands behind knees for hips.

I’m very aware of my glutes today. Apparently Westsiders do belt squat stuff for 5 minutes at a time. Even longer for athletes and fighters.



Back yard junk. Grippers and wrist roller.


Donnie Thompson shoulder stuff

Dumbbell Press (75)
Chins, in assisted machine (75) did some one-armers with 140 of help

Band Tricep Pushdown
Dumbbell Curls
Barbell Ab Rollouts (75)

8 trips with sled. Rows going down, overhead tri extensions coming back.