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Gripday Party - Improvement With Minimal Training


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#1 OFFLINE   bencrush

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 02:08 AM

http://www.gripboard...showtopic=41532

 

Unlike my previous grip "retirements," I'm still glad I sold 90% of my grip stuff.  I had amassed too much of it.  I wasn't even using most of it for the final year I was training grip - 2012. 

 

There have been several big life changes since I hung up the grippers back in August 2012. 

I had a life-threatening health "issue" in mid-2013 that (once I was cleared for exercise again) changed my outlook on life, training, and everything I once took for granted.  It was this 3-month period when everything was up in the air that I really realized (among other more introspective things) how much I missed going to competitions.  Both USAWA and grip comps.  It was never about winning.  And not only about trying to PR on everything.  It's the camaraderie and the challenge of seeing how much you can improve with several months of focused training. 

 

  • A grip contest was really the perfect choice for a comeback contest.  I did a USAWA contest in January of 2013.  Some of the lifts were heavy-ish (double bodyweight) and I was already showing signs of my later health issues.  I am encouraged not to lift heavy anymore.  Yes, heavy is relative.  But it boils down to not doing stupid stuff like limit one-hand partial deads, 1" vbar lifts, etc. - where the weight being lifted is 150% of bodyweight and higher.  I have decided not to train the deadlift and squat (barbell versions, kettlebell versions are fine) for the same reasons.  But the majority of grip events are pretty light, relatively speaking, compared to squat, bench, and deadlift training.  I still use light kettlebells in my training and have been jogging again.  I haven't training steel bending in a very long time, and after the health issues I had, there is absolutely no desire to do that ever again.  Bending really used to spike my blood pressure.  Especially the way I went about it.  Passing out and being "caught" by the tabletop in my garage was a relatively common occurrence when I was training to bend the Red Nail. 

 

Sometimes, it's even more interesting to see how much you can improve with very little training.  That's where this workout log comes in handy.  I am not wasting my time anymore with keeping every single handwritten sheet of paper detailing my countless workouts over the years.  This doesn't mean I think tracking my workouts has been useless.  It's been very valuable.  But keeping the tons of folded-up pieces of paper around the house, in the garage, and in the attic has led my wife to jokingly refer to me as a "hoarder" - like on the TV series.  So I'll either throw the paper away after writing it down and then transferring it to this log, or I will just keep track of the training PRs (here in the log) on the way to The Gripday Party contest on April 5th. 

 

I didn't have any plans on doing another contest in 2014.  I figured I'd do a USAWA contest.  Possibly the Grip Champs, which is coming up in February.  But for reasons that I won't go into here, I'm skipping that contest.

 

Then I get a Facebook notice of the Gripday Party in Springfield, Missouri - on April 5th, 2014.  Once I found out that Josh Dale was going to compete, I knew I had to sign up.  It's been way too long since I got to hang out and BS with Josh! 

 

I toyed with the idea of not training at all for the contest.  That didn't make much sense, of course.  But I have so much other stuff going on.  Like the other huge life change of 2013...

 

 

 

 

 


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#2 OFFLINE   bencrush

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 03:15 AM

is the Gripday Party contest link:

 

http://www.gripboard...showtopic=41532

 

Unlike my previous grip "retirements," I'm still glad I sold 90% of my grip stuff.  I had amassed too much of it.  I wasn't even using most of it for the final year I was training grip - 2012. 

 

There have been several big life changes since I hung up the grippers back in August 2012. 

I had a life-threatening health "issue" in mid-2013 that (once I was cleared for exercise again) changed my outlook on life, training, and everything I once took for granted.  It was this 3-month period when everything was up in the air that I really realized (among other more introspective things) how much I missed going to competitions.  Both USAWA and grip comps.  It was never about winning.  And not only about trying to PR on everything.  It's the camaraderie and the challenge of seeing how much you can improve with several months of focused training. 

 

  • A grip contest was really the perfect choice for a comeback contest.  I did a USAWA contest in January of 2013.  Some of the lifts were heavy-ish (double bodyweight) and I was already showing signs of my later health issues.  I am encouraged not to lift heavy anymore.  Yes, heavy is relative.  But it boils down to not doing stupid stuff like limit one-hand partial deads, 1" vbar lifts, etc. - where the weight being lifted is 150% of bodyweight and higher.  I have decided not to train the deadlift and squat (barbell versions, kettlebell versions are fine) for the same reasons.  But the majority of grip events are pretty light, relatively speaking, compared to squat, bench, and deadlift training.  I still use light kettlebells in my training and have been jogging again.  I haven't training steel bending in a very long time, and after the health issues I had, there is absolutely no desire to do that ever again.  Bending really used to spike my blood pressure.  Especially the way I went about it.  Passing out and being "caught" by the tabletop in my garage was a relatively common occurrence when I was training to bend the Red Nail. 

 

Sometimes, it's even more interesting to see how much you can improve with very little training.  That's where this workout log comes in handy.  I am not wasting my time anymore with keeping every single handwritten sheet of paper detailing my countless workouts over the years.  This doesn't mean I think tracking my workouts has been useless.  It's been very valuable.  But keeping the tons of folded-up pieces of paper around the house, in the garage, and in the attic has led my wife to jokingly refer to me as a "hoarder" - like on the TV series.  So I'll either throw the paper away after writing it down and then transferring it to this log, or I will just keep track of the training PRs (here in the log) on the way to The Gripday Party contest on April 5th. 

 

I didn't have any plans on doing another contest in 2014.  I figured I'd do a USAWA contest.  Possibly the Grip Champs, which is coming up in February.  But for reasons that I won't go into here, I'm skipping that contest.

 

Then I get a Facebook notice of the Gripday Party in Springfield, Missouri - on April 5th, 2014.  Once I found out that Josh Dale was going to compete, I knew I had to sign up.  It's been way too long since I got to hang out and BS with Josh! 

 

I toyed with the idea of not training at all for the contest.  That didn't make much sense, of course.  But I have so much other stuff going on.  Like the other huge life change of 2013...

 

  • My wife and I had a baby girl 9 months ago! :grin:  

We had spent the previous 12 years consciously avoiding having kids.  Neither of us wanted one.  But, as pretty much everyone says - once we got over the shock of finding out that we were going to have a kid, we became more and more okay with the thought.  Until we were soon more than okay.  We were actively looking forward to it. 

 

Long story short, and nothing the parents here don't already know - I have a vastly reduced amount of training time.  Between work and baby Josephine, there is very little time to do anything that even remotely resembles training.  I get in short kettlebell workouts and the occasional brief bodyweight session.  We are thrilled with her and I enjoy spending time with her.  But it does create some big challenges in terms of training for a grip contest. 

 

It will be more like just snatching a few minutes here and there to do something that will have a positive carryover to the contest.  At least that will make it interesting.  And it ought to be enlightening to see what a small dose of grip training can do to bring back a good percentage of my top grip strength. 

 

I have almost exactly 3 months until the Gripday Party to gain some strength back. 

 

What I think will happen is that my 2HP will be almost exactly where it was - which is to say, pitiful.  That just never seemed to change.  I could train it or not train it and it would always remain at a low level.   

 

I KNOW my gripper strength will never go back to where it was.  I've had three hand injuries since August of 2012 that are going to permanently inhibit me on crush grip.  Not whining about it.  Just trying to work around it as much as possible.  I think a #3 close is not out of the question.  One in the mid-140lb to low-150lb range would be a decent result at the contest for me. 

 

The Sledge Deadlift is an unknown for me.  I don't have a 12lb sledge.  I have a 6lb maul that last night I taped some weight to the head and did a few exploratory singles to see where I am at.  I won't know until the contest how close my setup is to the real deal.  I purposely made it harder - or at least what I think will be harder than the contest setup. 

 

The 5-gallon water bottle farmer's walk should be interesting.  I am trying to get a hold of two bottles to train with out in the yard.  Should give the neighbors something to talk about if they witness me walking laps while holding 5-gallon water bottles by the necks. 

 

The medleys always give me fits because of my weak pinch.  Nothing I plan on doing to rectify that, so I won't complain about it.  I have such limited training time that I don't know if I will do even one single pinch workout before the contest.  But, on January 1st, I did at least get a baseline on 2HP and it was as I suspected.  Pretty similar to when I was training it.  P i t i f u l. 


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#3 OFFLINE   bencrush

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 03:58 AM

I did my first "real" gripper workout in about 16 months on New Year's Day.  Getting a baseline to see where I'm at.  Got lucky and had about 90 minutes without the little one.  So I quickly put it to use.

 

20MM GRIPPERS: 130lb #2.5

  • Warmed up with the Trainer for 5 on each hand.  Didn't feel very awkward, but it's the Trainer. 
  • #2x1-both hands.  This felt very awkward on my right hand.  There is definitely a tender spot in the range of motion between almost fully closed and about the start of the 20mm block beginning. 
  • #2.5 - MISS - both hands.  Wow.  Guess I kind of expected it.  But it was humbling to miss on the #2.5, regardless of how long it's been since I trained with the grippers.  I was about 1/8" off on both hands.  I was pretty sure I would get it on a 2nd or 3rd attempt.  But it felt very awkward. 
  • #2.5x1-both hands.  Barely got it on both hands.  Was a little stronger lefty actually. 

*Overall Notes: Not too bad really.  I have about 20lbs to make up in 3 months if I want to close an average #3 at the contest.  I would be fine with that.  More than fine, in fact.  CONTEST GOAL: 150lb #3. 

 

 

2HP:  153lbs

  • Yeah, that is terribly weak.  It's embarrassing to even post it here.  But I am putting this log here to have some accountability for at least getting a modicum of training in.  And honesty is the best policy.  Or so I've heard. 

*Overall Notes: This was about what I expected.  The highest 2HP I did in a contest was a remarkably pitiful 171lbs at one of the MoTown grip contests.  And that was when I was actually training 2HP.  I did 153 on my setup, which is simply two 35s with a 2" vbar through the center and some various clamps and spacers to make the bottom welded loading area not overbalance it to make it easier.  Or harder.  Pinch width is 65mm.  Not ideal for my hands.  I get a thumb web tear every time I pinch at that width.  But the 45s I have are even wider.  And much sharper.  The 25s are almost 10mm wider.  My worst contest pinching was at the 2011 Grip Decathlon in Minnesota.  I think the pinch width was 58mm.  That took my already crappy 2HP and threw it in the toilet.  Then flushed it.  Then double flushed it.  About 150lbs in that contest.  I should've been near 180lbs at that time.  And was - on my Mouse Pinch at 48mm to 52mm.  I'm going to pick a goal that's much higher than what I actually think I'll get.  But hope is eternal.  At least to those who buy lottery tickets all the time.  Which I don't.  The setup at the contest should be much better suited for my preferred pinch width.  Which I don't technically have, since I don't like pinch, lol.  CONTEST GOAL: 180lbs.

 

 

I don't know what to pick for a Sledge Choke goal, since I don't have the exact (or significantly similar) setup as what we'll be using at the contest.  I will just do my best.  I've never been much of a wrist strength guy, so I don't expect much.  Mid-pack would be my guess on this. 

 

Everything else I don't have goals for.  They are the unknowns.  You can never know what to expect from a medley, unless you're the one putting the medley together.  And the 5-gallon water bottle farmer's walk is a complete unknown.  The course could even change the results of who wins this based on several factors. 

 

Bodyweight was 225lbs a few minutes past midnight on January 1st, 2014.  Goal at the contest is competing in the 93kg class.  So roughly 205lbs or under.  This shouldn't be too hard for me.  3 months to lose 20lbs.  Done it before.  Will do it again. 

 

 


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#4 OFFLINE   bencrush

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 04:03 AM

Oh, one other thing regarding baseline testing.  After the 2HP and some levering fiddling around, I rested and then "tested" my 1HP baseline.  Figured it would be useful to know since the medley is going to probably include a fair amount of it. 

 

Pulled my two 25s to full lockout-both hands.  Failed to even budge my two 35s-both hands.  The two 25s lift felt near max effort.  This is down a lot more than I expected, even for my sketchy lack of pinch ability.  I think if I had Yorks I'd completely fail on a 40lber right now.  Possibly lighter than that.  Disappointing, but whatevs.  The gripper event is really the only one I have a concrete goal on.  Grippers were always my first love.  Maybe training them again will get me back in the swing of things and make me want to restart real grip training again?  Who knows.  It's not really "training" if I'm only doing it once every 3 months, lol.



#5 OFFLINE   climber511

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 04:59 AM

  It's not really "training" if I'm only doing it once every 3 months, lol.

 

I don't know - it seemed to work for John Eaton.  :)


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#6 OFFLINE   bencrush

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 05:43 AM

  It's not really "training" if I'm only doing it once every 3 months, lol.

 

I don't know - it seemed to work for John Eaton.  :)

You're so right!  Wish it worked like that for me.  Alas, it doesn't work for us mere mortals. :grin:



#7 OFFLINE   IROC-Z

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 06:05 AM

Ben, it's great to see you back at the grip stuff!  I think your strength is going to come back in a quick hurry.  Definitely looking forward to following along with this journal.



#8 OFFLINE   Chez

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 08:15 AM

Good to see you posting a log here Ben. Congrats on the birth of your daughter. I'm glad your health is better now. Good luck in reaching your goals for the contest. I'm sure your strength will come back quickly. 



#9 OFFLINE   Shoggoth

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 08:32 AM

Glad to see your life stuff is coming around and that you're getting some time to add back some more fun activities.



#10 OFFLINE   austinslater

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 09:07 AM

Im in the same boat as you. training for a contest after a long time off so it will be fun watching you progress and keeping up with your log! Good luck and glad to see you back!



#11 ONLINE   acorn

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 12:13 PM

Yay, glad to see you back and doing stuff! Getting old sucks but babies are awesome and help take your mind off of it. I just went and got a Cortisone injection in my heel this morning for some of this fun age stuff.

 

- Aaron



#12 OFFLINE   odin

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 02:20 PM

Good to see you back training Ben.

 

It would be great if you could attend Gripmas one year. It would be interesting to see what would happen to your pinch after meeting w/ Chris Rice, Jedd Johns on and Kody Burns, I'm sure they could help you find something that would add 20-30 lbs. almost instantly to your 2HP as the #s seem incongruent with your excellent grip strength in other areas.

 

More importantly, it would be great for me and a bunch of other guys to finally meet you!


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#13 Guest_Squat More_*

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 02:28 PM

It makes my heart smile to see you training again, Ben.



#14 OFFLINE   rico300zx

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Posted 04 January 2014 - 02:48 AM

Great to see you back, my excuse for not attending grip contests is about the same. Ive had 3 kids the whole time I've been training grip, the wife dosent want to hear any of it, shes right I have duties at home that don't entail running around picking up stuff when I could be picking up an extra shift at work. Strength training and grip don't really have a place for a family man, but I've always tried to squeeze it in and make the best of my time when working out. Now that my oldest son is 14 we train together, and yes he has fun grip training too. Not really being able to get away from the family by myself is one reason ive always entertained Holding my own bi annual comps. Even if it was with friends from around town or from the gym. Anyway im rambling. Good to see you around posting.
Parris

#15 OFFLINE   bencrush

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 05:58 PM

Training Update: 

 

1-3-14

 

SLEDGE CHOKE:  All sets were done with left and right hand.  5" for 2 singles.  7" for 2 singles.  9" for 3 singles.  9" is a max effort.  My setup is going to be a tad harder than the contest setup.  I have a 6lb maul that I taped small plates to the top of - total weight is about 15lbs.  But subtract the handle and I think it's only heavy by 1lb.  I purposely added the weight to the top of the maul to increase the difficulty.  I would rather it be harder than the contest setup than easier.  But I am trying to get my hands on a 12lb sledge so that I'll know where I stand. 

 

2HP @ 66mm:  92x1.  108x1.  128x1.  148x1.  166-MISS.  153x1.  Max effort on the 153.  These 45s are sharp and wider than I feel comfortable at.  But haha, because I don't feel "comfortable" with any width on 2HP.  It is telling that at this width, my thumb webs started tearing slightly on the 3rd set.  Even at that chump weight.  I figure I might as well just rotate my 2HP training to a different width each workout.  My 35s are 63mm width.  My wider 45s are 73mm.  My 25s are even on the fat side - around 70mm. 

 

AROUND THE WORLD: (2)35s:  Only made ONE lap.  Wow.  And barely made it, to be honest.

 

1-5-14

 

SLEDGE CHOKE: All sets were done with left and right hand.  5"-x1.  7"-x1.  9"-x1.  The 9" set felt like a max effort today.  I can't even guess how this performance will relate to a real 12lb sledge.   



#16 OFFLINE   bencrush

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Posted 11 January 2014 - 03:27 PM

Training Update: 

 

1-7-14

 

20mm GRIPPERS: Trainer for 5 reps-both hands.  #2x1-both hands.  #130lb #2.5x1-both hands.  Just wasn't feeling it with grippers today. 

 

SLEDGE CHOKE:  All sets were done with left and right hand.  5" for a single.  7" for a single.  And 10" for a single.  10" is a best with this setup.  BARELY got 10" with both hands.  It was one of those where my arm was a few inches from kind of "lying" on top of the handle by the time I got the sledge head to the 18" platform. 

 

2HP @ 76mm:  Not even going to list all the mess I made at this width.  These 45s are sharp.  And if I didn't already know it, working at this width reinforced that my pinch weakness gets even more pronounced the wider the surface.  I actually failed three times on 134lbs.  And tore my right thumb web until it was bloody on the last attempt.  Was about 2" short of a legal lift on the first attempt at 134lbs.  Then went downhill from there. 

 

HUBS:  Did a bunch of attempts on my wide hub 35 and narrow hub 35, both hands.  No success on any of the attempts.  Just slid the plates around on the garage concrete a bit.  Then I used a Finger Press - like my old days of training for the Blob - and the Hubs flew up.  As expected.  It's a start.  Also did some attempts on my good 45 hub, with no success.  Used the Finger Press and it flew up with both hands. 

 



#17 OFFLINE   rico300zx

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Posted 11 January 2014 - 04:06 PM

why don't you get angle grinder and grind on the edges of the 45 instead of cutting yourself and then you sandpaper you're not going to hurt the plates

#18 OFFLINE   Big T

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Posted 19 January 2014 - 12:19 PM

Great to see you back posting Ben...your strength and kind words over the years cannot be measured by mere words alone.  Your posts alone are great to see. Good luck in all you do



#19 OFFLINE   bencrush

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Posted 25 January 2014 - 12:45 PM

I really appreciate the kind words you guys are taking the time to post here.  I will reply individually to everyone when I have more time.  For now, I just want to put in a few training updates. 



#20 OFFLINE   climber511

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Posted 25 January 2014 - 01:19 PM

Ben you can get a fair idea on the sledge with just a little math.  Head weight x distance in inches can be compared easily enough. 

15# x 9" = 135

12 x 11 = 132

 

Just examples but you get the idea.  Good to see you back at it.