Anvil or Hammer


Help me….help myself

Posted in Grip,Gym Strength,Kettlebells by Mike on May 13, 2007

So, I need a hand. I am scheduled for two competitions before the end of the year. Neither of them are things I really am any good at.

Tactical Strength Challenge (09/08/07) – yep, I signed up again. I think I can bring my swings up, I wanna drive for 120. A pull of 500 will keep me happy. It’s the pullups that I need to work on. So far the primary piece of advice I have received on this is to do singles as many times as I can, then doubles and so on. If that’s the best way, I think I can make a better go of it than I have. roughly three days per week I have access to a pull up bar. I’ll try to take advantage of it the best I can. Any further suggestions are always welcomed. I’d like to hit 10.

Gripmas Carol (12/08/07) – this is an event I tried to do last year but was unable to make it. It’s in Ohio with the crew of Farmstrength, put on by Chris Rice. The list of events is:
Euro Pinch – the normal

IronMind Apollon Axle DL – Sumo or conventional – DO to full deadlift

Bending – DO or Reverse – not sure which yet – standard IM and FBBC stocks as per Erics chart

Medley – a mixture of increasingly difficult items

Weaver Stick – front and/or rear

Scale Weight Hold for time – the most talked about event at BBB last year – my scale weights are killer OR

100# Plates hold for time – the object is an endurance event to finish up with.

So I’ve got to train hard for this. I need some suggestions on grip training, I’ve never really been able to a make a solid go of it, I was always too worried a it interfering with my other lifts. Kettlebells will be a major part of my weightloss regimen. I don’t want to mess with that. Still I gotta do something.
I don’t know anything about the euro pinch but assume a plate pinch will do most of the work. I can work with my 2″ dumbells for the axle pull and try to hit an axle when I can. I have some bending stock and can get more. I have wraps and so on. I have never figured out this folding business but reached a double underhand blue bend before I decided I didn’t care. I like the weaver stick, I play with this occasionally, I can work front lever and similar lifts. The scale weight thing I have never done, this seems like  a one handed pinch to me. Last is the 100# plate for time. I assume this is one hand, anyway you like with an olympic style plate, hopefully Chris can correct me. I have the standard IM grippers T – 3, I assume a 2 is the best I will achieve in this short time.

The big question is, how do I fit this into a training schedule? Do I do a little each night? Do I set aside one big day for grip? How does it work?

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16 Responses to 'Help me….help myself'

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  1. Scott Styles said,

    I’ve been thinking about doing Gripmas instead of the 3rd BBB. It fits into my training schedule a lot better.

    When I was at the gym lifting and all my grip stuff was at home, I did best with a seperate grip day. Now that everything is in my home gym, I’m enjoying working it in with my normal workouts.

    I think trying to get good at all the events at once would be a mistake. I like to pick a narrow grip event, a wide grip event, and a wrist event. Hopefully one of those also toughens the hands. As a contest comes up, I practice the specific events.

    I hope Chris picks reverse style bending, I’m not a big fan of double overhand. The scale weight hold really finds any weak points in your thumbs.

    When I did the 100lb plate holds for time at one of the Michigan contests, it was a plate in each hand. I only got 6 or 7 seconds, and I bet Chris’s plates are harder. Finger tip strength is key for that event.

  2. Mike said,

    Narrow pinch vs wide, I’ve heard the debate but whatr qualifies as what? I have some block weights too, would that be wide to say a plate pinch being narrow or does it need to be more narrow?

  3. Mike said,

    btw, Scott. I considered suggesting you come to gripmas, I thought it would be a good chance to meet after… what is it now three years we have talked online. I remembered though, that you didn’t have a car and didn’t know how (un)reasonable the suggestion would be. It’d be cool if you could make it but I can see why it might be more effort than it is worth. If you don’t make it, when I move back to the midwest in a few years I’d like to do the BBB just to meet John Beatty. We’ll meet then.

  4. Scott Styles said,

    To me if it is narrow enough that you can pinch with your palms in addition to your fingers, it is a narrow pinch exercise. If you can only pinch the object with your fingers, it is a wide pinch exercise.

    I usually end up neglecting my narrow pinch in favor of grippers or bending. My narrow pinch also tends to lag behind my other lifts.

    The car isn’t really an issue, my wife and I have enjoyed making a long weekend out of the grip contests. She’s been to 2 out of the 3 contests I’ve gone to. Given that it will be winter time, if I go, we would likely take a train into the nearest station or fly into the nearest airport, then rent a car for the weekend. We don’t travel much and she likes to, so even OH in December would be something fun. I need to wait until after the Michigan Contest to decide for sure though.

  5. Mike said,

    Let me know if you go, we can arrange it so I can pick you up at the airport if you like.

  6. Chris Rice said,

    Boy – I sure hope you both can make it down for Gripmas, that would be great. Mike it looks like you missed the Gripper in a choker event when you did the cut and paste. I’ll have each gripper in a washer held at parallel – it does make it easier than setting them yourself. I’ll also probably limit the contest to 5 events for time purposes but that depends how many competitors we end up with. Training for grip – I’ve done all the specilized event training and for me at least, I don’t bother anymore. I train some type of grip after every overall body workout and do a different thing or two each time usually now – grip work for me is short and heavy usually. I also climb a couple hours once a week. If an event requires a certain “skill” then maybe do it more often but most grip stuff is just grip and rip anyway. It seems to me that if I do a little of everything, I get much stronger than if a do a lot of any one thing. Oh – Mike the Scale Weight hold is more like holding two KB handles that are trying to lever themselves apart – FBBC makes a trainer for the event if you don’t want to invest in the weights themselves – I haven’t tried it though. I’m also planning on something like a half and half charity event of something crazy – maybe a hip belt lift of a grand for reps or something after the contest – who knows, just a thought I had.

  7. Scott said,

    Mike, I’ll write up some stuff on the pull-ups for you. A couple of quick thoughts though :

    1. multiple shorts sets translate well to one long set (so 5 doubles will help your quest for 1×10)

    2. chin-ups seem to help (and are a little easier, as the biceps come into play). alternating sets between chin-ups/pull-ups works well.

  8. Scott Styles said,

    Thanks Mike, if my wife decides she doesn’t want to go, I’ll probably take you up on that. While licensed, I haven’t driven since the summer of 2001.

  9. Chris Rice said,

    !#$%#$^%^$ I wrote up a nice long reply and POOF – eaten by the internet gremlins again. Crap!!!

  10. Mike said,

    D’oh, I’m sorry Chris. Those gremlins are nasty

    Scott B. – thanks I’ll be glad to apply any suggstions. Funny thing on the chin ups. I found that my chins are as weak or weaker than my pulls. I hurt my bicep just over a year ago and it’s finally getting to the point where I feel comfortable chinning again, the long layoff means some work there too.

    Scott S.- Let me know how it comes out

  11. Mike said,

    Ha! Snatched from the abyss Chris’s original post is up:-)

    I’ll try to mix it up with the events. It sounds though like some of them are just gonna be a surprise in the end.

    Sign me up for the belt lift.

  12. Chris Rice said,

    Hey – where did it go anyway – is there some huge black hole that follows me around or what the heck – this stuff happens to me all the time – posts come and go – another of life’s little mysteries I guess. I can figure out most things but computers just don’t like me I think! Thanks for the rescue Mike.

  13. Mike said,

    You do had bad luck with computers, my wife has the same affliction. In this case it was my spam filtering software that bit you. I have no idea why, your post doesn’t appear to meet any of the usual criteria. Posts get passed, held for moderation or marked spam. For some reason they don’t warn you when it’s the last case. I’ll try to fix that, Kris and I think Chris D got hit by it each. Maybe it’s a Chris thing?

  14. Chris D said,

    I’ve been hit by random server host companies being dumb. Wish I had the money to do my own hosting, but alas I don’t.

    I’ve got this post marked to come back and comment on pull-ups/chin-ups. Probably along the same lines as Scott, but I’ll post anyways!

  15. Chris D. said,

    So you’ll be in the Elite division I’m assuming?

    I’m no guru on this, but what I’ve read and implemented seems to have helped some what to increase the total number of them.

    Basically do a pyramid schema. So do 1, take a break, do 2, take a break, do 3 take a break, do 2, take a break, do 1 and repeat as many times as possible. The breaks should be as little as possible. You don’t want to get near your max on these since your more concerned with endurance.

    If it were me I’d probably do at least 3 days of chins/pull-ups. 1 day done with a pyramid, 1 day with weight (lots of singles and doubles) and then 1 day of doing whatever the hell you think will help!

    Well I’m off to crank out some pull-ups…also doing stuff frequently seems to help on the pull-ups.

    Pull-up article on Dragon Door: http://www.dragondoor.com/articler/mode3/7/

    there is one on Crossfit called Greasing the Groove that I can’t find right now. Ahh…here it is: http://www.cbass.com/Synaptic.htm

  16. Mike said,

    umm, no, no elite division…yet. I placed middle of the pack on this last one, 22 out of 43. 4th on the deadlift, *cough*42nd*cough* on the pullup and 15th on the snatch. I think a top ten placement will qualify me for moving up to elite.
    I think I’m gonna do a whole seperate post on the pull ups, there has been a lot of interest and help with that, I’d like to collate the topic.


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