Thank you Chez for organizing this fun contest. You ran everything very well. It was also nice to meet so many people and be able to put faces to names.
I was very pleased with my performance. In grippers, I closed a 153, which was a contest PR for me. I knew that I had a shot at closing the next gripper (a 156) based on how my training had been going. I came close, but didn’t quite get it. But still, I can’t complain whenever I manage to hit a competition PR.
For the hub, I hit my all-time PR, with a lift of just over 65 lbs. The texture of the hub was very nice – I was able to get a much better grip than with mine.
For the Rolling Thunder, I was really starting to feel good after a few warm-ups. The handle felt very similar to mine, as well as to the few others I’ve tried. I managed to hit a good sweet spot with the amount of chalk I was using (a little, but not too much). After my second attempt at I think 232.5, I felt really good, so I jumped to 240 and it came up much easier than I expected. For my final attempt, I was debating between 247.5 or 250. It so happened that Chez had plates on hand to arrive exactly at 250. It was too hard to pass up a chance at hitting that magic number, so I went for it. It came up easily enough, but I couldn’t quite show control before I dropped it. 250 had seemed far away for quite some time, but now I know it’s within reach.
As for the sledge, the balancing of the ball forced the lifts to be very strict. I think the ball worked fine in terms of falling off the front when the angle became too large. What I wasn’t expecting was how often it fell off the side, from lifters slightly shaking. They were clearly strong enough to lift the hammer level, so it was disappointing to see them fail due to a bit of shaking. I definitely think tweaking the sledge choke is move in the right direction. I’m just not sure we’ve found the best solution. I agree half-inch increments should be allowed. This would provide a better point spread.
I’ve done the sledge choke in three separate events. The first time I tried it in competition was at the contest Jedd put on last September. It was a 12-lb sledge with a coin on the head. I managed 18 inches. I managed 19” with a 14-lb sledge at the NAGS Championship, but this was only by altering my technique once I realized exactly how much I could tilt the sledge without the coin falling off. At yesterday’s comp, I only managed 15”. This provides an idea of the increased difficulty created by the ball.
As for my win, it was hard fought. I knew it was very close between Chez and me. He beat me by a lot in the grippers, I beat him by a significant margin with the RT. He beat me just slightly with the hub, and I beat him just slightly with the sledge choke. In the end, the margin of my win in the Rolling thunder was just enough to secure the overall victory.
I had fun trying out different things after the contest. I really liked how that Baby Inch felt in my hand. I may eventually buy one because I could use it for a lot of different exercises. It was also fun to do a bit of pulling on the armwrestling table and provide some pointers.