Anvil or Hammer

On Call

Posted in Grip,Rest and Recovery by Mike on March 23, 2008

I’m still wrapping up and On Call week at work, Tuesday to Tuesday. I was very fortunate the first part of the week. The weekend has been ugly. I had hoped to make it to the park but I’m pretty much tethered to the computer.  So I’ve done some light yoga, some static stretches and some of the Magnificent Mobility stuff. Today I did a little tiny bit more.

2″ Dumbbell Deadlift
100lbs 1/1
120lbs 1/1
100lbs 5/5

Outer Limit Loops
5 lbs 3 X 10/10

A little more stretching etc later.

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Get bent: DU

Posted in Grip by Mike on December 15, 2007


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Gripmas leftovers

Posted in Grip by Mike on December 12, 2007

I love leftovers.

2″ Dumbell Farmers hold 50lbs
50 seconds

Outer Limit Loops (I could only find the right one so I did both hands with it)
0 lbs (loading pin only) 10 seconds
2.5 lbs 10 seconds
2.5 lbs 10 seconds
0 lbs 10 seconds

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Gripmas 2007

Posted in Grip by Mike on December 10, 2007

The short version

The long version:
I have to say that after 5 days on the road, I was ready to go home. I missed Gripmas last year and I would have felt awful to miss it again. Considering the techs’ contract talks are due next year, it’ll probably be out for then as well. So I decided to tough it out.

picked up Scott Styles at the Columbus airport on Friday afternoon. He represents himself well in his blog.  I was not at all surprised by who I met. He’s a nice, quiet, intelligent guy. We did a fair bit of chatting, I think I may have dominated the conversation which I tend to do once I get rolling. It’s more habit that an attempt to be the center of attention.

He is pretty skinny these days which seems to suit his frame very well. He’s a vegetarian but is more cool than most about it which is good. We grabbed TGIFridays for dinner, I had a really great chicken breast and Italian salad, probably the best thing I ate all week.  We were staying at the Super 8 on the interstate which wasn’t the greatest, posh-est resort in town but I slept well and that’s all I really needed it for.

We met our first gripboard member, Josh Dale, at breakfast the next morning. A nice guy, a nutritionist and one of the higher placers out of the group. A whole different class of gripster from myself. We met up with Stew, Nick, Doc, David Thornton and Eric Milfield  (all names that almost any gripboard member would recognize) at a nearby park and ride and headed off to Chris Rice’s home for the contest/ get together. We arrive to Chris’s little shed (probably wide enough for two cars+ and deep enough for 1 1/2+ cars) to find a whole mess of guys milling about.

We were there for probably an hour while grippers were calibrated and we met all kinds of people. We drew lots for the order on grippers. The grippers were set in chokers which means they had a type of clamp around them to keep them from opening any wider from parallel. So you are just closing the last 10 – 20% of the gripper. They were all calibrated for pounds to close and laid out in order. I opened with a #2 that closed very easily. I skipped up two for my next close and got stuck. So I came down one and close the gripper I had skipped for my third attempt. After the contest, I played with my hand position and closed the one I missed as well as the one after it.

The second event was the Europinch. Think of the classic plate pinch, two plates turned face together, pinch from the top. This is basically that but to remove variation from plate set to plate set and to allow more fine loading, the plates themselves weight almost nothing and a pipe is run through the center hole and the plates are loaded in front and behind of where you actually pinch. I’ve never done this or anything really like it so I had to gamble a bit. I started a bit later than maybe I should have but I also didn’t want to miss the opportunity to make as many pounds as I could It worked out great. I hist 170lbs and missed my third attempt at 180, so I appear to have hit my max just right.

The third event was double overhand Axle deadlift. I have this on my 100 X 40 list with a goal of 400lbs as I recall. I haven’t tested this to see what my current max is so this was a perfect chance. I’m a lot more familiar with the axel than I am with the Europinch but I still had to gamble a bit. Again it worked out really well. I hit 256lbs easily so I skipped up to 275 for my second. I barely got that one and everyone knew it. I had to chase the axle down to keep from missing the lift. For whatever reason, the stars aligned and I hit a solid pull on 286. 286 is nothing special but just to show what a good crew this was, they recognized that I had done something surprising to myself and gave me a little applause, that a feel good moment. I attempted 297, the next jump, there was no chance. I’m pretty sure I couldn’t have even pulled that off fresh. I would like to point out that when I started on gripboard about three years ago, it was because I was having trouble with the same weight, with a mixed grip, on an olympic barbell. I’m not progressing fast but I’m progressing.

Chris put  together a medley that had 21 different event, I couldn’t have even thought of them all without his having put it together. There were: double sledge lever, wrist rotation in, wrist rotation out, one finger lift, bomb lift, pinch lift, key pinch, rectangle block weight, very narrow v bar, strap hold lift one, strap hold lift two, blob, light blob (40 lbs), 2″ dumbell, 3″ dumbell, anvil, fake blob and fake blob by the face (I only count 18 there so I missed a couple). I managed to hit 9 of these, several of which were event I had never done. It was fun.

Reverse bending was the next event. I had to borrow wraps from Chris, he had nice set of leather wraps, I see why people use these. There is no pain so you can focus on bending. I manged to bend a 7″ X 1/4 CRS pretty easy so I skipped to 6″ X 1/4 CRS for another bend. That one was also pretty easy but not quite as easy. I took a shot at 7″ X 5/16  HRS for my final attempt. I kinked it but it was no where neat the required 40 degrees. I dunno, I might be able to do that fresh, but maybe not.

The final event was a face to face, stare down, 100lb plate hold for time. This was a great idea, the placed the guys nearest each other in the standings looking right at each other holding for time. The competition was close enough that this changed a lot of positions. My time was pretty pathetic at a mere 31 seconds. I have 100s at Dumbarton and plan to play with this bad boy. I may never see it as an even again but I like it as a training tool.

I came in 18 out of 22 on the events and it was a great time. I got to try all kinds of stuff I had never seen before. Then the real fun started. We had a feast for supper and all the blobs and inch replicas came out. I played a bit but was wearing down pretty bad by this point. I’m not really capable of playing with the big boys on pinch grip type stuff. I did get to play with Chris’s sandbags and stone. That stone is really nice to pick up, that was a great buy on his part. It’s a good stone to learn stones on too, not so light as to not make you learn technique but not so heavy as to be impossible on the first go.

All in all, it was a great experience. I found it really motivational. I really enjoy meeting guys who are out there, in their garage or back yard training, alone, just like most of us. Many of these guys are incredibly disciplined and doing great things. It shows me how much I can do if I decide to do.

Thanks Chris.

Grip grip

Posted in Grip by Mike on November 21, 2007

35lb L/R
40lb R
35lb 5/5
42.5 lb both hands

Trainer 5/5
#1         2/3

Timber Tie Bending
Reverse X 3
Overhand X 2

Then I decided it was smoked
and now for dinner.

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I’m just glad to make it

Posted in Grip,Gym Strength by Mike on November 10, 2007

As you may understand, I was a little uncomfortable when Dan text to ask if I was going to deadlift last evening. I figured there was only one way to find out if I was good again. So we went through pretty much the same workout I started on last week.

Sumo Deadlift
225 X 5
315 X 5
405 X 7

Situps +60lbs X 20

Conventional Deadlift 405 X 10

Leg Lift 30

Good Mornings 80K X 11

Roman Chair Situps + 5K X 20

Leg Press 600 x 11

Squirm X 50

Sidebend 60K X 9/9

Suitcase Deadlift 60K 10/10

I’m glad to say I made it through. I’m sure a couple of my deadlifts wouldn’t count to a lot of judges cause I was overly cautious about pushing through the top of it too far. I don’t care, I’m not all jacked up today like last week and that makes me happy.

Before Dan even got there I managed a clean and Jerk with 100K and I got five tens with each hand (video to follow) which knock one more off my list, psyched.


Posted in Grip by Mike on October 31, 2007

My worst diet day in a very long time. A whole mess of greek for lunch and Wendy’s for supper. We eat drive through about once every couple months. This was the night. Back at it tomorrow.

Light jog with the dog today

I bent nine timber ties, three in each style. I need to make sure I am bending the reverse ones far enough. I lose any torch at about 20 degrees. I can flip it around and do a crushdown  from there but I think it may be too soon, I think it may count as a DO. I think I’m actually still weaker in the DO position, for starting, than any position. A little hands on training at Gripmas will hopefully give me the direction I need. Last, DU is still my position of choice, that’s just plain smooth for me. I found an article by Clay Edgin explaining that short stocky guys with short arms prefer and excel at DU while DO and reverse are better for lanky dudes. I think that may have changed some since folding became the method of choice.

I also did some block weights. I was short on time so I went for 1 rep max. I hit my forty pound block weight with my right hand, twice. I was unable to do it lefty. I also went out to my storage space and grabbed one of my blobs. That’s right, I have some blobs, for real, old York blobs. Only a few of them though. I grabbed the 42.5 blob and brought it in. I now understand the hype behind the blob. mine have rust on ’em  so they should be a little easier. Still, those things act like they are made of glass. That should make an interesting challenge.

Anyway, heart rate row tomorrow and some kettlebell holds.

Pump up the volume

Posted in Cardio,Concept II,Grip,Kettlebells by Mike on October 28, 2007

A little volume this weekend.

Saturday, it was raining too much to play tennis. I probably should have done some yoga but didn’t. I did do some bending though. A couple 3/16″ “nails” and 9 timber ties, mostly DO. I made a video and posted it to gripboard, hoping some folks will take pity on my sad techinque. I’ll take whatever anyone has to say here as well:

Today I hit to gym.
Concept II Vent Closed HR Row
10,120 meters in 45 minutes
Avg HR 155
Max HR 163
I had trouble staying focused. They had the TVs on. I’ve resisted saying to before but I’ll say it now. If you watch TV while you workout, unless you have specifically programmed the content, you are doing yourself a huge disservice. Frankly, I don’t give a crap about Will, Grace, Jack or Karen and yet I found my eyes drawn to their anctics. That means I’m not watching my pace or my heart rate and I’m not thinking about my form. I end up doing a lot of rowing with my eyes closed, trying to ignore them.

Long Cycles 24K – I have some video but I haven’t uploaded it nor even seen it yet.
1 minute periods, each period is broken into two even parts, requiring that I rest in the rack in the middle, because I am learning that learning to rest properly is one of the hardest parts of kettlebells. 5 Sets at a given number of reps, one 1 minute period per set, then a minute of rest.
That means I did (8 X 5) 40, (6 x 5) 30, (4 X 5) 20, (2 X 5) 10
40 + 30 + 20 + 10 = 100 reps in 25 minutes. ouch

I’m sure all the videos lately have been excessive but I kinda like having the record. Plus they are fun to play with. I’m sure the novelty will wear off soon.

Hamburger Patties

Posted in Cardio,Grip by Mike on October 24, 2007

For cardio today, just a light jog with the dog. Today and tomorrow are all about light cardio. 

Three days of kettlebells left my body feeling beaten and my hands feeling like hamburger. In an effort to be more like Scott and Stephen, I actually made an attempt at some recovery. Hot soaks (not quite as good as a contrast bath but easier to wrangle while doing dishes) and lotion. They feel better.

In that spirit, I made an attempt at a grip workout tonight, it wasn’t very successful. I figured I’d hit block weights, maybe some timber ties and grippers. The block weights wiped me out, bending hasn’t felt right for a week now and grippers were ok, for me.

35lb block
A couple warmups to each side then 10 deadlift reps. Floor to lockout, down, release, repeat. I even pulled off a clean on the right side. The left side got to about three and quite so I finished it up with 3 tens for a total of ten reps.I think that was enough to wear my hands out for the night.

Just not in the cards. I got a tie started and that was it.

T – ten clicks per side
1 – a couple closes per side then a couple holds for time (not much)

so, I suck at grip. Maybe I can actually string a few of these together some day and get a grip.

Grip Stuff

People’s Court

Posted in Grip,Rest and Recovery by Mike on October 20, 2007


We started the weekend off right, groceries and then tennis. I’m glad my Wife gets me out to play tennis occasionally. I suck and all but I’ve found that I  need the moving around on Saturdays just to get my body on track. It reminds me of high school football when we would go in on Saturday morning, watch game footage and then run some light drills to loosen up. Except without watching people suck on TV first.


I also did a bit of grip play today. I bent a timber tie (DO) and then tried another but it wouldn’t budge, those things are really inconsistent. I had some 3/16″ stuff laying around, bent that, not sure why I have it. Pondered doing more but jsut wasn’t feeling it. I can see why those folders use som much in terms of wraps, if you don’t roll the wrap right, it gets sloppy and stupid. I followed it up with some 2″ Dumbell deadlift, I hit 120 on both hands can called it quits for that. Then I closed my #1 10 times per side. I tried my #2 earlier, yeah right. Maybe I need a #1.5.

I need to go back to gripboard and look at bending and gripper progressions, that’ll be another day though.

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