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Wannagrip

Juha Harju Is In The Well!

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From Juha:

I´m from Finland and 40 years old. My bodyweight is 125kg. I have trained full contact kick boxing about 6 years, I have also competed at strongman competitions, raw power lifting and nowadays grip strength. At kick boxing time my bodyweight was under 63.5kg class. I wanted to have more power and I started to train seriously with weights at age of 16. I noticed that power gets in me easily and I left Kick Boxing. I lifted more and more iron at the gym and my new goal was strongman contests. They went well. My best places were two 2nd and one 3rd place. Later I got interested of grip strength & raw powerlifting. At this moment I give all what I have for grip training and grip contests.

I´m licensed personal trainer. I do co-operation with athletes (strongmen, powerlifters, floorball players etc) with grip. If they need more grip I´ll be there.

I travel also in Finland´s powelifting & strongman competitions telling about grip strength and showing how it will be practiced. I also help the morbidly obese people with their weight loss, diet, and training so that they will get their life back.

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To be a "personal Trainer" in Finland - what education and/or Certifications are needed?

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Thanks for taking the time Juha.

1)Inch and Baby Inch training.

To lift either, Finger strength , thumb strength and wrist strength are the factors.

What do you believe are the best ways to tackle each of these areas with the Inch being the focus lift.

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Hey Juha how do you train grippers?

and how did you progress to the Coc3.5

from the 3.?

Thanks Dude!

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Hi Juha,

Thanks for doing this. I was wondering when you first found out about grip training, where did you start out at? Could you close a CoC#2? Pinch two 15kg plates?

How did you train your grip when you were first starting out? And how you train it now?

Thanks,

Tom

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Hi Juha,

Thanks for taking the time to do this, your incredible grip power and following in Finland is well known here. Alsom thanks for the shirt! Its pretty dope.

I will have some grip questions later I'm sure, but I am curious to your best results in powerlifting and general lifting.

Thanks

Mike

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Juha, your blob work is fantastic. The fact that your hands don't appear to be mutant sized like most of the blob masters is even more impressive. How big are your hands and how did you approach blob training to overcome not having enormous hands? Mine are about 7 7/8 and 9 1/2 spread - so blobs are pretty difficult for me. However I think Richard Sorin has hands about the same so it's a lame excuse, just looking for an edge.

Thanks for offering your expertise!

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Thanks for your questions. I´ll wake up "google translator" today and start answering. :grin:

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To be a "personal Trainer" in Finland - what education and/or Certifications are needed?

I graduated 2004. Before personal trainer education you must study gym instructor education and do instructor work two years at gym. (If you are fysiotherapist or also aerobic instructor etc.. it helps too to get in F.A.F. education.) After that you can try to Fitness Academy Finland education. This F.A.F. education lasted about one year ( includes internship 3 months). At end of education is theory test, muscles at latin language test, how to do fit tests, blood pressure, stretching, fat prosent etc... and difficult gym instruction test ( client has many different problems, back, knee, elbow, pregnant, etc...)

F.A.F. is the most prestigious personal training school in Finland.

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Thanks for taking the time Juha.

1)Inch and Baby Inch training.

To lift either, Finger strength , thumb strength and wrist strength are the factors.

What do you believe are the best ways to tackle each of these areas with the Inch being the focus lift.

Best thing would be hand like Mike Burke´s. :grin:

Lot of pinch lifts with different widths are good for thumbs. 2x20k, 5x5k, 3x15k, 4x10k, 6x5k. Long holding with those plates and training with hard blobs are good too. Rolling thunder and 60-80mm thick non rolling handle works too.

What is good for wrists and fingers?

I always say this same. When I got David Horne´s adjustable thick bar after that nothing was the same. It´s fantastic apparatus to get your fingertips and wrists really strong. Especially 49mm handle is total murderer for fingers. 5-10 sec holdings with big weights, hard 1RM lifts are awesome stuff. Adj thick bar training helped me how to control INCH lift. Also INCH lift with extraweight and long holds with INCH are easy now. Before adj training those were not possible for me.

When I got my INCH I could lift it right away. My earlier multiple grip training made it possible.

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I would love to hear about the history of Grip Training / Grip Sport in Finland.

Thanks bro.

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Haha,

I have half the size of Burkes hands so I will go with the info you gave...lol

Thanks Juha!

P.S. got your shirt and think it's Bad Ass.

I would like to hold off on wearing it till I lift the Baby Inch officially with no assistance..

I want to wear it so I will bust my ass to make this happen.haha

Also you are one of the grip guys I look up to,your grip accomplishments and what you have and continue to do for the sport is outstanding!

Thanks again brother!

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Hey Juha how do you train grippers?

and how did you progress to the Coc3.5

from the 3.?

Thanks Dude!

Hi Joshua,

At this moment I dont do specific gripper training. I only test sometimes my gripper shape. Normally I do 2-3 times at week gripper training. It includes one 1 RM training 5-7 hard single closes, one speed training 50-80% of 1RM 3-7 sets and 1-3 reps. Sometimes I also need to do reps with IM#3.5 or harder grippers. 3rd practice at week is light grippers or semi light, 5-10 reps and 3-5 sets.

I did my rise from #3 to #3.5 doing hard closes with choked IM#4 and only with basic work with other grippers. It was easy rise for me. Harder rise to me was from #3.5 to #4.

I give example how I practised from #3 to #3.5:

1st week

warm up (it includes reps with #1-hard #2.5)

work sets: (MM-Set or wider)

5-6 hard singles with overcrush (#3 or harder)

3x1 choked #4 (15-18mm)

2nd week

warm up (it includes reps with #1-hard #2.5)

work sets:

3-5 forced close + negative hold (easy IM#3.5 or elite)

3x1 choked #4 (18-20mm)

3rd week

warm up (it includes reps with #1-hard #2.5)

work sets: (MM-Set )

3-5 hard singles with BBGM or other gripper (3.15-3.20 rating)

3x1 choked #4 (20-22mm)

4th week

rest and light grippers

5th week

Same from start.

It is important to use grippers which you can always close and can do also overcrush. Your hand must learn the feeling that were gripper is really closed. If grippers always stays 1-3mm open your hand lears that and that´s bad thing. Also ALL choked closes with IM#4 must be really closed. It is so stuff gripper that you cant yourself see is it open or not. You must have friend to watch it or you must film it. Every time if choked IM#4 stays open then you must fix it to smaller width and try again to close it.

There is much more ways to do this rise but this fits for me. I reached with this system Beef Builder Super Elite 3.64 and FBBC Hard 3.71 closes. Then came high wall front of me and I had to start other king of training.

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Hi Juha,

Thanks for doing this. I was wondering when you first found out about grip training, where did you start out at? Could you close a CoC#2? Pinch two 15kg plates?

How did you train your grip when you were first starting out? And how you train it now?

Thanks,

Tom

Hi Tom!

1st time when I saw grippers was 2007 and it was Fit Expo in Finland. I watched how Teemu Ilvesniemi did his IM#3 cert and after that I ordered IM#3 and 4 grippers. Then I didnt know anything about grip. My only focus was thin dude (Teemu) at stage and his perfect domination with IM#3!!!

When I touched 1st time #3 it stayed 10mm open and technigue was horrible. Teemu helped me and after one month I nailed it. Here is my 1st coc#3 close! :grin:

Teemu Ilvesniemi, Kimmo Kokko, Teemu Pohjola, Tomi Kujala, Matti Heiskanen and Niko Eerola helped me to start grip training. Big thanks to them!

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Hi Juha,

Thanks for taking the time to do this, your incredible grip power and following in Finland is well known here. Alsom thanks for the shirt! Its pretty dope.

I will have some grip questions later I'm sure, but I am curious to your best results in powerlifting and general lifting.

Thanks

Mike

Hello Mike.

Nice that you like GripMonsters T shirt. :)

I have done at Finnish Raw Power Contest 730kg official total. 240kg + 180kg + 310kg.

I dont appreciate gym lifts so much. Official contest and that day´s shape is the name of the game. World is full of strong men but official powerlifting contests tells to us who´s mind is strong and who can do official results.

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Thank you for taking the time to do this, Juha.

1. What role does full body power and athleticism contribute to grip strength and training?

2. What levels of strength and conditioning would give the best base for carry over into grip strength?

3. What strategies and training techniques have you used or continue to use for long term progression?

All the best to you!

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Juha, your blob work is fantastic. The fact that your hands don't appear to be mutant sized like most of the blob masters is even more impressive. How big are your hands and how did you approach blob training to overcome not having enormous hands? Mine are about 7 7/8 and 9 1/2 spread - so blobs are pretty difficult for me. However I think Richard Sorin has hands about the same so it's a lame excuse, just looking for an edge.

Thanks for offering your expertise!

Thanks for your words Jon.

Mine hand is 20.5cm long (8.07") from wrist to middle finger´s top. I dont know what is hands spread.

I tried official Blob50 first time 2008 and nothing happened. Wow! My friend Matti Heiskanen showed to me how to lift it but I couldnt do that. It was boring and I had to take hat off my head and go to home. :sick:

After that I and Matti did some grip training together and every time I also tried blob but no lift all the time. So scary to me. Also 2x20kg pinch was too hard for me. "Rage tears" flowed to my cheek when I watched how Matti pulled those things. :sorcerer:

One day blob50 took air under it and then I got it! Since that it has come everytime. Same thing with 2x20kg pinch. I didnt do specific training for either. Only clean rage was enough. :santa:

I have seen during my life three times when blob50 was nothing, like cotton bag. Mine and my friend Alexey´s first blob and inch training was something. I had put on floor 2x INCH and 2 x blob50. When Tank arrived to my place I said to him: Alexey lift those! And he lifted both double lifts without warming lifts! :shutup:

Also Riku Karu and SHW powerlifter Markku Niemelä pulled INCH and Blob50 like nothing. :glare:

Have a strong trainings with blob bro.

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What is good for wrists and fingers?

I always say this same. When I got David Horne´s adjustable thick bar after that nothing was the same. It´s fantastic apparatus to get your fingertips and wrists really strong. Especially 49mm handle is total murderer for fingers. 5-10 sec holdings with big weights, hard 1RM lifts are awesome stuff. Adj thick bar training helped me how to control INCH lift.

Ok, you just sold a thickbar for David ;)

I have to get one now

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I would love to hear about the history of Grip Training / Grip Sport in Finland.

Thanks bro.

Kimmo Kokko started finger power contests in Finland at 1997. Those were "who has the strongest grip in karaoke bar" style contests. All his contest species are Rautakoura species.

I and my friends met Kimmo and his Rautakoura species at year 2007. We like them and Kimmo has done good job with Finnish grip strength. Kimmo also judged our Ironmind COC#3 certs in Finland. Later we searched more information of grip strength on internet and this marvelous forum GripBoard came known. Nice! Then came time for international action and I and Yvonne started GripMonsters. We took along our nearest friends and my brother. Then I started co-operation with David Horne. Also Wade Gillingham, Jedd Johnson, Bill Piche, Randall J. Strossen, Matt Cannon, Eric Milfeld, Eric Roussin, Chad Woodall and Paul Knight helped me alot. Thanks for this. Lot of hard work and popular contests, promo work, grip videos, grip feats, english learning :sick: , and helping many Finnish dudes how to start grip strength and continue it was very important. At this moment we have got Finland known in grip strength. Still is much work to do. :)

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Hey Juha how do you train grippers?and how did you progress to the Coc3.5from the 3.?Thanks Dude!

Hi Joshua, At this moment I dont do specific gripper training. I only test sometimes my gripper shape. Normally I do 2-3 times at week gripper training. It includes one 1 RM training 5-7 hard single closes, one speed training 50-80% of 1RM 3-7 sets and 1-3 reps. Sometimes I also need to do reps with IM#3.5 or harder grippers. 3rd practice at week is light grippers or semi light, 5-10 reps and 3-5 sets. I did my rise from #3 to #3.5 doing hard closes with choked IM#4 and only with basic work with other grippers. It was easy rise for me. Harder rise to me was from #3.5 to #4. I give example how I practised from #3 to #3.5: 1st weekwarm up (it includes reps with #1-hard #2.5)work sets: (MM-Set or wider)5-6 hard singles with overcrush (#3 or harder)3x1 choked #4 (15-18mm) 2nd weekwarm up (it includes reps with #1-hard #2.5)work sets:3-5 forced close + negative hold (easy IM#3.5 or elite)3x1 choked #4 (18-20mm) 3rd weekwarm up (it includes reps with #1-hard #2.5)work sets: (MM-Set )3-5 hard singles with BBGM or other gripper (3.15-3.20 rating)3x1 choked #4 (20-22mm) 4th weekrest and light grippers 5th weekSame from start.It is important to use grippers which you can always close and can do also overcrush. Your hand must learn the feeling that were gripper is really closed. If grippers always stays 1-3mm open your hand lears that and that´s bad thing. Also ALL choked closes with IM#4 must be really closed. It is so stuff gripper that you cant yourself see is it open or not. You must have friend to watch it or you must film it. Every time if choked IM#4 stays open then you must fix it to smaller width and try again to close it. There is much more ways to do this rise but this fits for me. I reached with this system Beef Builder Super Elite 3.64 and FBBC Hard 3.71 closes. Then came high wall front of me and I had to start other king of training.
Thanks Juha! Im already close to my 3.5, about 0.25 inches off so i no this training

Will help!

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Yeah juha, thanks for doing this!

First off, i want to thank you for your video on how to recover after grip training. That video has been priceless to me.

1. What advice would you give to a guy who's current focus is closing grippers, but wants to improve on pinch? My specific pinch goals would be hub and plate pinches. How would you go about programming thumb work in so it doesn't affect gripper training or other upper body work i do?

2. Do you prefer dynamic work for your wrists, or do you like doing real heavy sledge holds? Or neither?

3. I've seen you close a gr8 coc 4 on video, rated at 211pounds, if i am right. That's awesome! Do you have any plans to cert the 3.5 and claim the throne at the very top of the mash monster ladder with an mm7 and...possibly mm8 cert?

Thanks juha!

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Thank you for taking the time to do this, Juha.

1. What role does full body power and athleticism contribute to grip strength and training?

2. What levels of strength and conditioning would give the best base for carry over into grip strength?

3. What strategies and training techniques have you used or continue to use for long term progression?

All the best to you!

Hi and thanks,

1.Strong body brings lot of help to grip strength. I know a few dudes who has very strong grip and they can do amazing things with their hands but they could do much better if they have trained with powerlifting style. It would be very important to build strong basic before starting harder grip strength training. It feels bad to watch when dude can do easily singles with coc#3.5 but dont have power to set coc#4 at parallel setting. Strong lats and pectorals helps setting big grippers. Also DO Axle pulls and adj thick bar lits are much easier to do when your deadlift results are enough good.

2. I know that my power is too low because I cant do clean INCH. Must ask to Mike Burke what numbers it needs! :laugh

It´s personalized. Most important is to train regulary, progressively and all-aroundly.

3. Westside Barbell training fits perfectly for me. I like train with bands, chains and other specific styles. This way I can avoid overtraining and I learn continually more. We have here in Finland couple of very strong pro powerlifters and world champions like Juha Someroja, Kalle Räsänen, Kari Kalliola, Oskari Lehtinen, Eero Jälkö, Petteri Hosio and Markku Niemelä. We all are part of Finnish biggest and strongest Team Voimaharjoittelu in english Team Power Training. Those dudes hepls me with my powerlifting trainings and I teach them grip strength, but not to SHW Kari Kalliola. He dont like grip training very much. :grin:http://www.gometal.com/pImg/2009_sm/index.jpg

Sometimes I have motivation problems to keep my grip work on. It requires so much. Luckily I found cure for that. It was Alexey Tuykalov. Our mutual trainings are best what I know. His grip is amazing and Tank is very nice person. I really enjoy trainings with him.

13108520.t.jpg

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Which is your biggest grip training goals, that you have yet to perform?

Thanks Juha!

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Juha I have a question about gladiatorpower and the inch dumbells they have there.

I can do alittle more than 80kg in RT at the moment. (if that helps you at all)

What inch should I aim for? I want one that I cant lift yet :)

I dont want to buy one that I can lift already..

Im saving money to buy 2-3 blockweights from gladiatorpower and Im getting an inch at the same time.

Edited by PeterSweden

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Hi Juha. Thanks for taking a turn in the Grip Well! Thank you also for all the motivating videos.

I was pleased to see that we are of similar age, considering you are one of the very best in the world in Grip. It gives me hope. :) I'm coming upon my third of grip training and am now 41 year old. Although I don't have a background in weight training, I definitely can feel my age and how it affects my recovery.

Do you program days as "off" or do you simply take it as necessary?

Since you have been training for strength for a long time now, I'm sure you now train much smarter than the younger Juha. If you could go back in time and give yourself some advice about training…what would that be?

In regards to child's development, do you believe there is a "proper age" to start weight training?

Are there exercises you would counsel children to avoid?

How tall are you?

As far as I know…there has never been a competitor who specifically started training grip at a very young age. With the right genes, training and time, what kind of numbers would you guess are close to the limits of human potential in grip sport (say… TSG's, DO Axle and 2HP)?

In the coming years, what would you most like to see advanced in Gripsport?

Thanks again.

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