Anvil or Hammer

Workout Five

Posted in Uncategorized by Mike on September 29, 2005

It’s interesting, I do this with almost everything I do. While I’m away from it I think, ‘that is just too easy, I need to hit it harder’. Then I convince myself to do it they way I have been when I actually go do it. Sometimes it gets me stuck in a rut but sometimes it saves my ass. The latter occurred yesterday during grip work.
My current schedule makes it hard to get in the gym as often as I like, which I think has helped the back rehab but I have been very committed to my grip stuff. Even if I didn’t do my lower body stuff, I make point to do my grip if it is a grip day. That was the case yesterday….

After bench workout and moving some seriously heavy boxes earlier in the day…

2 hand plate pinch 3X15 count with 35 lbs. First one felt nonexistent, second was definitely there, third I thought would rip out of my grasp. Are you supposed to be able to see gravity?

Finger curls with 95 lbs. Similar to last time, first set was easy and the second wasn’t too bad. Got to twelve on the third and had to set it down and shake out the hands. I finished up strong though.

Wrist curls, thought I would kick it up a notch here based on how easy this was the last two times. I put tens on the bar and quickly discovered that this would not work. I dropped back down to just the olympic bar and found this to be a decent workout this time. Could have been the boxes, could have been the chest workout, I could just be a sissy. Sure puts some perspective on the 300lb wrist curl challenge currently on this board. Also, it makes me want to see the video of whoever wins that. I noticed that I go from just above parallel to several inches below, I’m not sure it this counts a full range of motion.

Reverse wrist curl, easy…

This was the first time I did this whole program while people where down in that part of the gym with me, I enjoy the stares. Based on what the average person does for a program, I take pride in getting stares during my different workouts. It’s even more fun to watch them try and mimic it later. I had a guy try and mimic the metal militia style bench set up, it was funny to watch cause he had no idea what or why he was doing it.

Anyway, off to work. I try a new employee today, she will hate me. They all hate me when I train them. Then they thank me weeks later and tell me that I was the only one that helped them. Being a bastard rocks. whistling.gif

Comments Off on Workout Five

Explaining My Back Injury?

Posted in Uncategorized by Mike on September 27, 2005

It’s a slow night at work so I have some time. Not a good time to do contrast baths so I will make good on one of my other promises and use that time for a future contrast bath.

Okay first, the back thing I have been complaining about. I did it about a week and a half ago now. It still gets sore but isn’t bad. Basically I was deadlifting in my brand new Chuck Taylors and was psyched. So far I had maxed out at 335. That night I pulled a nice 350 but almost dropped it on myself. I realized that I could pull more but my hands couldn’t hold it. So I went to the desk and got some straps. I pulled 360, 370, 380 then 405. It was the 405 that got me.
I didn’t even know something had happened. I went over to the power rack to start my calf raises. I loaded an easy 225 with the intent of heading up past 405 on this as well. I got under the weight, simply trying to unrack it about dropped me to my knees. It was weird, it was kinda in my back but kinda in my sides.
I quit for the night. When I got home I got out my balance ball and did somes stretching and rolling around on it. I felt okay, then I tried to get up.I almost fell over, just standing was agony. I tried to make my way to the bathroom for a hot bath to limber up the muscles. my knee buckled with every step with my right leg.
The bath didn’t help, so I called someone from work to let them know that there was no way I could come into work the next morning. Sure enough, the next morning I was in huge pain. train to walk, stand, sit or even lie there hurt, a lot. I took Ibuprofen and had my wife get some ice ready.
So I layed around almost all day, eventually I did make my way out to the living room. The real breakthrough came when I went to use the computer. After I got out of my office chair, I felt really good. That soon went away but I found that chair was a great remedy to the pain. I spent another day alternating treatments. Since then I have been going to work, I took a week off from the gym. Now I am back but taking things light.
Since then I have come to realize that it wasn’t really my back that was the real problem. It does have some minor damage. It seems the real problem is in my obliques. I think that because I don’t use a belt I over exerted my obliques with simple intraabdominal pressure. The oter possiblity is that my back started to give and other parts of my core tried to take up the load and that’s when the real trouble started.
Either way I am healing up and hopefully will be back to full strength in a month.

Comments Off on Explaining My Back Injury?

Workout Four

Posted in Grip by Mike on September 26, 2005

I hit the gym this morning, with massive time constraints. This may have been a good thing. With the whole back thing I needed to keep my squat workout short.

It left me feeling fresh and ready for grip:
Plate pinch, I stayed with the thicker hampton plates, they make this incredibly challenging for me. It is amazing how a centimeter or two of extra with makes somthing easy so much harder. I need to remember to take a ruler or something in with me and measure the different brands of plates.
Finger curls, have I mentioned before that I love this exercise. I try to use a little overcrush* on it just to get it right. I nail the first two sets the last one was very tough. I had to set the bar down in the middle as my hand would no longer close. This exercise causes such an amazing pump in my forearms, I feel like the grow by half in thickness and look like a massive arrowhead shape. I realize this is mostly in my mind but that is were it is most useful anyway.
Wrist curls/reverse wrist curls, these are too easy now. I get a little burn but there is little actual effort in the curling motion. I think I may add another set of these in a couple workouts.

Just to update you on my thoughts. I have less than a month until I move. The move will take at least week out of my training and my life. I’m going to stay with the same workout and the same weights until then. After I get settled in my new gym I think I may introduce some new elements to my program. I’m going to take a post some time in the next couple weeks and think out loud about my goals and how to achieve them. Hopefully I will get some feedback here in the blog to leave for “future generations”.
I will also take a couple posts over the next month and talk about powerlifting, something I have neglected so far. I will talk about how I am rehabing my back and what I will do when I’m ready to get after it again. This portion will be for a couple reasons 1) places my grip program in context to what I am doing with the grip I earn 2)I’m sure there will be other powerlifter/grip newbies that pass through this board. Hopefully they will find it a valuable resource.

*Definition for the newbies: when you do any crushing exercise (finger curls, grippers, etc) and squeeze as hard as you can at the end as if you were still crushing it further.

Gym Hours

Posted in Grip by Mike on September 25, 2005

I was all set to go to the gym yesterday after work, with their new expanded hours and all. Throughout the summer I could not go to the gym on weekends when work. They were open from 6 – 6 but I work from 7 – 5:30. When I worked and early shift, 6 – 4:30, I would have my wife pick me up at work and we would go straight over so I could get in a quick workout before they closed.
So we were all psyched that we had until 8 to get there with the new hours and all. So I got home and relaxed over a nalgene bottle of Surge (biotest carb drink). Eventually I got dressed an off we headed. The moment we pulled into the parking lot I knew something was amiss. One car, that can’t be right. Sure enough they had gone to their new hours but this did not include expanding their weekend hours to eight, only keeping it at 6. Thus I will not be working out all weekend. Fortunatly this is my last weekend ever at NCMC. So the point is somewhat moot.
In good news we decided that since we couldn’t go to the gym, we would rive to Ft. Collins and go to Whole Foods. I now have some super sweet groceries in the fridge at home.

On an actual training note, my hands were very tired yesterday. The thumbs are still whining a bit. I have massaged my hands a couple times and it does feel good.
Additionally I watched some badass climbing videos here on the board. Put me in mind to try and work up a program that would cover all aspects of climbing grip. That may be a project for another day.

Comments Off on Gym Hours

Grip Workout Three

Posted in Grip by Mike on September 24, 2005

I “got my grip on” tonight.
Is this only the third time, seems like I have been at this for a month or more now. I like it, I just don’t feel like that much of a newbie.

I actually did it following a bench workout. This is not my norm but for the time being I am slightly more concerned about my grip than my powerlifting program. I added some technique stuff to my bench that gave my grip several good lashings. By the time I started it, I knew it would be tough.

Did the plate pinch with 2 35s. I used the hampton plates they have, they are thicker but also have sharper corners. I found them increadibly tough. I think it is somewhat suspect that I actually achieved 15 sec on my first two sets, the last was barely 5. Felt good though.

On to finger curls. 95lbs was incredibly tough. My arms were tight and burning at the end of each set. I only got 8 reps into the third until my fingers simply would not move. I should probably mention that I have been screwing around with my CoC grippers for the last two days. I’m quite sure this impacted this lift. If you’re a newbie and doing this program, PUT THE GRIPPERS DOWN! I find this nearly impossible to do, but I’ll just have to make myself.

Wrist curls/reverse wrist curls were sooooooo easy. This was cake, proof that my strength is gaining. I’m sure I’d see it in my other exercises if I would stop screwing around.

So that’s it the program is working. I have had no pain, cracking or damage. I have started to lotion my hands several times a day. Even though this program is nothing like what I hope to be doing a year from now, it’s harder on the hands than what most people do. Besides it takes time to learn good habits.

Comments Off on Grip Workout Three

Things You Need To Buy

Posted in Uncategorized by Mike on September 23, 2005

I will be training my grip tonight and will document that afterword. For the time being I’m gonna outline a couple things that I have and like and think you too should try them out.

1. Under The Bar by Dave Tate – I got this book as a free promotion through T-nation. I had thought about buying it before hand but decided to take a pass. This is an awesome book. If you view the world from a lifter perspective then this is your 7 habits. The book is essentially broken into 12 virtues and each virtue has some famous quotes, description, anecdotes, the usual stuff. I really enjoyed it.

2. The KTA Program by Bill Piche – You have probably seen this promoted here on gripboard. It’s worth it. I haven’t finished reading it but it is huge help. If you ever plan on getting certified on a gripper, this is a must. Just by reading the first few pages of this I have learned how to actually use grippers correctly. That may sound silly but it makes a huge difference.

3. Chuck Taylors – This one is mostly for the powerlifters. These shoes are the most amazing advancement in powerlifting, what’s that, they’ve ben around forever and they aren’t powerlifting shoes. Shut up! I like many of you wore these as a kid cause they were cheap. For that reason they make great shoes for any weightlifter. The fact that they look cool as hell and come in a bunch of colors and styles makes them cool for anyone else. The fact that they have flat soles makes them amazing for the powerlifter.

4. MP3 Player – okay, this is totally a luxury but I love mine, yes I have two. One for the gym and one for the walk to work. These things are sweet. Buy anyone you like. The new iPod nanos look very cool. I personally have two Rios and love them to death. I have a Cali for the gym, and so does my wife, and I have a Karma for everyday. If you like music especially if you like a lot of music, this is for you.

5. Vacation – okay this one is a little out of place in this list. In truth I was having trouble coming up with number five. I’m trying to avoid the obvious, like CoC grippers or food. I have heard that lots of American don’t take vacations anymore. We need more vacations not less. Think of it this way. You are not being selfish and taking it just for yourself. You are taking it for all of us. You taking a vacation makes it less likely that you will beat me with a mop handle when I send my steak back because you burnt the crap out of it.Of course, if you had the vacation you would be sharper and more alert and not burnt it in the first place. So make a commitment for me right now that next year you will go somewhere you have never ever been, eat something you have never eaten and talk to someone you have never seen and will never see again. Trust me it’ll make you a better person.

So that’s it for now, back to training for the next installment. I have a couple upcoming rants about “get a gym membership ya’ lazy bastard” and technique.

Comments Off on Things You Need To Buy

Second Grip Workout

Posted in Grip by Mike on September 21, 2005

Hit the gym again yesterday. Still doing a very light deadlift/squat workout to help my body recover from some earlier mistakes.
I went through my workout then started my gip workout. I found it easier than I expected. I suspect that the beginner to grip training gets a neurological benefit before getting a huge muscle strength benefit. Further, I suspect that the result in grip training is better than in most overall training programs because it is so focused.
First I did my two plate inches, I started with two 25s, this seemed way to easy. I kicked it up to two 35s. That was perfect. I felt like gravity was about to rip them from my hands at 20 seconds. On the third set I only got to 15 before losing to gravity. I was able to knock out another set with the 25s. Definitely too light.
On to finger curls, these are my very favorite exercise out of this program. Used a clean grip with 95 lbs. I knocked out sets of 15 – 20 with a good feeling and a fire raging in my forearms. I need to try and stay with these weights for a month, but I really want to get crazy with this exercise.
On to wrist curls and reverse wrist curls. These are my least favorite part of the program. No slam on the program, we all have our favorites and I think these are incredibly important. The good part is that I can’t help but think about bending while I do these. So I knocked out easy sets of 20 with the olympic bar. Then I used a short straight bar for my reverse curls. I left the plates of because I really need to work on my form for these. I focused on holding the bar with my whole hand and keeping my hands from rolling out.

Overall the program is going great and I feel great. I’m trying to be patient, but i am just itching to get in there and go crazy with grip.

Comments Off on Second Grip Workout

First Grip Workout

Posted in Uncategorized by Mike on September 18, 2005

I did it. Today was my first grip workout using the new system.
I will try to limit any discussion of my powerlifting routine in entries under the grip heading except to put a context on the grip work. So today I was doing a very light day to try and work off a muscle pull from last week. This also allowed me some extra energy to work with grip weights to determine what is good for me.

Two hand pinch lift:
I started out with two 25s, I sat them on the floor facing each other and grabbed them basically at 3 and 9 on the clock and picked them up. Easy on the grip, hard on the upper back. I then did the same with two 35s and two 45s. Then I realized this was not the best arrangement for a grip exercise. I set the two 45s on the ground and grabbed them at basically 11 and 1. Would not budge. I went down to the 35s. I was able to lift and hold for about a count of 20. Knowing the way I count, that’s actually probably 15 seconds. I tried for a second attempt but couldn’t really get it off the ground. I think if I’m gonna do thre sets I will have to move down to 25.
I think doing the 3 and 9 version of this exercise would be sweet if you want to work trap and rear delts more than the grip.

O-bar finger curls:
I started with a narrow grip, inside the knurling, thinking this would emphasize the weaker fingers. This did not seem to be the case. I went to more of a clean grip, with my pinkies on the rings and found this to be the feeling I was looking for. Using this grip 95 lbs seemed about appropriate for 3X15. This caused a huge pump in the muscles up by my elbows, the flexors. It felt good.

2 hand wrist curls:
Using a standard olympic bar I found this exercise to be tough. By this point I have very little left in the forearms. It was hard to not want to curl with the biceps, I had to focus on isolating the forearm muscles. I felt a little twinge of pain in my left wrist at the top of the motion, I think this was because of my injury about a month or so ago to this wrist.

2 hand overhand wrist curl:
For this one I dropped down to an EZ curl bar. In hindsight a small straight bar may have been a better option. I was able to use a five on each side to complete these. It’s a difficult manuever. The other issue for me was mobility. I have a horrible range of motion and need to work on this. Because of my lack of flexibility I found my hand rolling out and my thumbs doing all the work to support to bar.

I then chose to cooldown with the homemade wristroller they have at the gym. It uses about a 3″ pvc pipe. I put only a five on there and went up and down twice. Pretty easy, just cooling down.

Two hand pinches: 3X15 sec w/ 25s
Finger curls: 3X15 w/ 95
Wrist curls: 3X15 w/45
Reverse wrist curls 3X15 w/ 32

I’ll keep the weights all the same for about a month, then I’ll try to bump it up.

so let me know what you all think.

Comments Off on First Grip Workout

My Powerlifting Progam

Posted in Uncategorized by Mike on September 17, 2005

Round three kiddies,

This should be the last preliminary round. After this I will actually do something, but till then YACK YACK YACK.
As mentioned before I am brand new to the sport of powerlifting. Just started preparing for it back in about February/Marchish. I’v had some great progress so far, but also some setbacks.
Roses: I have slapped on some mass and lost some body fat in a happy and, if I may say so, sexy way. I pushed my bench from 235 on a smith machine to 350 raw and free. My squat went from about 225 to 400 and lastly my dealift went from nonexistant (I literally had never done it) to 350 raw and 400 with straps. I learned of and am starting grip training.
Thorns: I had no plan for anything, I just went in and did what I felt like. I got to one point where I was actually attempting a max bench every chest session, stupid. Lastly, I have injured myself three times. The first was my back and was due to inexperience. The second was my wrist, strike two for inexperience. Third, my back again and I knew better this time. No excuses.
Buds:So much. First, I will start my official grip training tomorrow, with a plan. Second, my back is feeling better than earlier this week, I start my rehab lifting plan tomorrow. Third, when I go full strength again, that too will have a plan.

So that is the barebones of my powerlifting experience so far. I should also say that I have not yet competed in a meet. I originally set myself a goal of 1500 pound total but since then I have decided that this early in the game, competing is more important than winning. Later, when I have a feel for it, then I can get strategy involved in my meets.

So for my future in powerlifting….
I will be doing some light work for the next few weeks. I have actually signed up for an unofficial bench meet in a month. Then I will be busy with the move. Once I’m in Baltimore, it will be a huge priority to find a gym and get started. I’m still constructing my program and will probably post it here for critque when I have it. Then the sky is the limit.

On a side note, with GGC going on today. I’m thinking I should go net year. I won’t be even close to the numbers they are pulling out today but it might be nice for other noobs to see what I can do after only a year of training. Feedback on that would be appreciated.

Comments Off on My Powerlifting Progam

Beginning Grip

Posted in Uncategorized by Mike on September 17, 2005

Now it is time to get down to the business of Gripping. I am doing the program that is kept in the FAQ. I will try to outline it here, personally I recommend you read the original as well, just to double check my interpretation. Thanks got to Davidhorne for composing this originally

Exercises 1. Two Hands Pinch Lift for holds, also use work gloves to protect your skin.

2. Finger curls with an Olympic Bar, overhand grip. Hold it on the last set when you can’t do anymore finger curls.

3. Two Hand Wrist Curl. Normal, with a comfortable range of motion. Do not let the bar go into your fingertips like some bodybuilders do, also do them with your thumb under the bar as you are training your wrists and don’t want to fight against the thumb digit on top of the bar.

4. Two Hands Reverse Wrist Curl. Do the Pinch holds for 10-15 secs, and the other exercises for 15-20 reps. How often? I would do them 3 times a week if you can, but twice a week if struggling with this.

EDIT Hope this helps,


To add to this program I have a CoC T and 1. Right I am trying to do 3X3 on the Trainer and 3X1 on the #1. I realize this is intensly low volume. At this point I am doing it mostly to condition my hands. After a month or two of this beginner program listed above I will undertake the process of try to climb the “CoC Mountain”. I also do some daily hand health work. I have a pair of the chinese relaxation balls that I will use, in only the underhand grip for now. I do some resistance against my wrist just to stretch. My grip program will be on my squat/deadlift day. I will cover more of that part of my program in my next blog entry.

Comments Off on Beginning Grip
Next Page »