T Nation

Grip Junkies


Hey, for anyone who loves grip training like myself, just thought id introduce you to ironclawtraining.com. This website has a hall of fame challenge and offers a pretty cool lookin coin for any who pass the challenge. The coin system they use, called "coining," is an ancient system that dates back as far as the roman empire and still used even today in the police force and military.

The challenge offers 7 options and all are tough as shit. For example, one of the options is to lever a 12 lb. sledgehammer, "slim the hammerman" style. Another is to pinch-grip and lift, with one hand, two 45 lb. plates, smooth side out. Check it out fellow grip junkies!


damn can barely pinch grip 45 lb plates with 2 hands.


this is brilliant! grip strength has always amazed me


The world record for a two-hand pinch grip deadlift is around 250 lbs. or so. That's around 5 plates!


I see that option 2 requires you to close a Captains of Crush # 3 gripper with a table no set close
i.e just pick it up and shut it with the same hand.

I am surprised that you are allowed to use your stronger hand.


I have been training grip for a few years; thanks for the link, I'll check it out.


the hammer lever is fucking cool, always do that at work


Grip strength is so awesome because it's real. Lots of people can fuck around and have a decent bench, many people can fuck around and have good dealift #s, but not many people are ripping card decks in half.


For sure; there's always some dude who never touches weights but can bench 300-400 lbs., but there's never a guy who can lever a 16lb sledge or pinch-grip and lift a pair of plates without any prior training. It just doesn't happen.


lol wish I had your job


I'll have to check this out. I was a grip guy until July, when I started focusing on the Highland Games. I think I'd be able to no set a #3 still though.


Cool site, thanks for the link.

The site looked pretty good, but I can't believe that he did the beer bottle thing where you blow out the bottom. Big deal, I was doing that when I was 14 or 15. It's not very hard to do.


I used to do a lot of grip strength work, I loved it. But unfortunately I developed some very serious tendon pain in parts of my hands. My doctor said it was from all the grip work that I was doing. I don't buy that how would putting pressure on your tendons cause tendonitis? Anyway, go get em guys I wish that I could join in but those days are over. Do it until you can't do it anymore is my advice.


Yeah, that was kinda lame


I had no idea I was in the presence of a grip master in this forum! You gotta share some of your feats with us man; I guess you can start with how much you're pulling in your avatar? Looks impressive.


Hey Thanks! I wouldn't call myself a grip master, although I had some areas I became very strong in. The avatar pic was me pulling a one-hand thumbless-grip deadlift of 275lbs in a USAWA competition back in November of 2009. I weighed 220lbs and it beat the previous record (that I held) of 250lbs. Andrew Durniat did a 308lb one-hand thumbless-grip deadlift! - in a grip contest that I helped organize back in February of this year. I did a bunch of grip contests from 2002 to my last one in February of 2010. Enjoyed the hell out of every one of them too and now that I'm typing this all out I'm suddenly missing the grip training quite a bit.

As for other feats, let me see...I'll list some of my best performances in a few areas of grip:

Pinch: Lifted the Blob (50lb York) on many occasions. One-hand pinched (6) 10s a few times. Pinch is my weakest event actually and I never pulled any decent 2-Hand Pinch numbers. It was always the event that saw my comp placings plummit.

Grippers: I eventually became "known" for my no set strength on grippers. I certified on the #3 in 2005 and no set closd it with both hands. Have since gone on to no set close many #3s, including a double TNS #3 close on two occasions. Parallel set closed a hard #3.5. Also Credit Card Set closed a more average strength #3.5 (and no set), but not certified on that. Grippers were my strongest grip event. Closed a bunch of Elites over the years, some in contests. I had a goal to close over 100 different #3s (starting in 2004-2005) and was able to hit that number eventually. Long story short - a bunch of guys were sending me multiple grippers (often multiple #3s) to "calibrate" with an apparatus that I bought from Chris Rice. So I got the chance to close a LOT of #3s over the years. Including all the grippers at contests and friends' grippers, etc.

Axle: 380lbs double overhand on an Apollon's Axle deadlift in training. Not super strong, but respectable. I think my best in comp was something very low like 313lbs. But that wasn't a max effort, only a strategy of lifting a bit more than 2nd place did.

Rolling Thunder: Pulled 230lbs on an old RT handle. Usually around the 200lb mark though the past few years. Haven't tried one of the new models but I've heard they're slicker and rotate more freely.

1" Vertical Bar: Worked very hard to increase my vertical bar numbers to elite levels. On the FBBC (Fat Bastard Barbell Company) cert list for 387lbs lefty. But I pulled a bit over 400lbs on a few occasions in training. In comp my best was only 350lbs, but that was the final event in a grip contest, (and was tied for 1st) so it's at least understandable.

2" Vertical Bar: Credited with a 276lb pull on the FBBC cert list. Have pulled a bit over that in training though. I believe my best pull in competition was 270lbs at one of the Michigan Grip Contests.

Bending: Ah, I could talk for hours about how much effort and time I put into increasing my bending strength. But I won't bore you. The short version is that I bent a few times in 2000 and only much later (2004 I think) bent my first Yellow Nail. Then it wasn't until August of 2006 that I bent my first Red Nail. After that it went pretty fast for me to some serious bends. Certified on the "Fantastic Bastard" in the summer of 2008. It's essentially a Red Nail cut to 4" long.

That gives a pretty good overview of my grip "career." Ah, I will attach a link to my gripper video if I can. It's a no set #3 close with a "twist". And a few more links to other grip stuff of mine.

No set #3 close after coating the gripper in oil.

387lb Reeves Deadlift

175lb pinkys deadlift in a USAWA comp. Pretty pleased with that lift still. Very painful lift when you use the pinkys.

I may have just bored every person even remotely interested in grip out of their minds. Sorry!


Nice man. That reeves deadlift vid is pretty badass. That's a nice lil 'twist' you added to your no set #3 close too, lol.

You do any hammer levering?


Definitely not boring; just watched every one twice...that was hardass


I never would've thought in a thousand years of coating the gripper in oil to make it harder to close. Pure, wonderful insanity!!