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Poll: Genetics And The #4


pdoire

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mobsterone

A different question to Mobsterone:

Blob weights and thick bars of 2.5 inches and above: Similiar training effect since the hand is spread just about as far (say a 3" bar compared to a 35 lb blob)??? Also very curious to know what your opinion is on the Holle it Up dumbbell for moves other than lifting, i.e., pressing overhead with the camming effect? I like my cammed DB, but notice some minor pain in the thumb pad after overhead work with it.

I have never trained for the blob. My thick bar work carried it over. I have no bars in the house or that I trained on which are over 2.5 inch. I have never used the holle-it-up dumbbell.

The work I have done is as a result of 'carry-over'. I have a 7 feet long 2-inch thick bar, brought and made for an IG comp (I got 105-kilos doing the one handed deadlift in the comp). I have one 7 and a 1/2 feet long o'style bar with a 1.5 inch thick centre. I own a RT handle (very well used), a Millennium dumbbell and a 2.5 inch thick handle brought from Pullum Sports. I also have a David Horne adjustable pinch apparatus - brought for me by John Owen and Mick Hart of www.mickhart.com.

The pinch helped my blob attempts and the thick bar carried me the rest of the way. I have also won the 3.5 inch thick handled dumbbell deadlift round in an IG comp.

Oh and other than a few playful reps I have never done any overhead thick bar work - it's all been for either the Inch, the Millennium, Rolling Thunder lifts or competition.

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You CANNOT ignore genetics.  I dont care if it is just the hands, genetics do still play a huge roll.  Saying everyone can close the #4 is like saying everyone can squat 800 pounds.  Or like saying everyone can over head press 400.  No way.

Case in point-I have the build and genetics to lift heavy weights.  No matter how hard I train to run a 4 minute mile-it aint gonna happen.  At 5'9 and 230, I could focus on running from now until the day I die, and I will never break a 4 minute mile.  Now, I have a good friend that is 5'11 and 140.  He can not run for months, come back and do a 4:30 mile with in a few weeks of training.  He trained with me in the weight room for a solid year.  We hit squats and deadlifts hard.  I gained 50 pounds on my squat and deadlift.  He went from 185 to 205 in the squat and 300 to 315 in the deadlift.  That was in 2000.  Eating like a horse and still training hard, his squat is now 215, and his deadlift is 330.  He weighs 150 pounds.  He gained 10 pounds in 4 years.  He will never outlift me.  I will never out run him.  Genetics.

Obviously this is a valid point, Rick.

However, people tend to give up quickly just because they feel they are not predisposed for a certain task, when in almost all cases it's more a matter of a more suitable training regime.

I don't really have that favorable genetics for weightlifting, and my early late teen experiences with bb-style training gave me very little.

However, when I started just this last year experimenting and researching what actually builds strength/muscle in general, and specifically with me, I have made gains that surprise the hell out of me! And I am still refining my routine.

I also have adopted a mindset that I don't know what my limit is, and I won't keep any preconceived notions about it or even ponder about it, and I don't get daunted by heavy weights.

To quote Thomas Edison:

"There is no expedient to which a man will not go to avoid the labor of thinking"

Genetics are important, and I guess my main genetic advandtage is my effective deductive reasoning ability. :D

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As I have mentioned before, all human performance will be determined by two factors, individual potential and quality of instruction.

The are both equally important.

We can do nothing about individual potential but without action, this potential is useless.

The fact of the matter is that more people than you would think have the potential to close the four. Why havent more people done so? Its very simple.

How many people:

-Have the knowledge of the requirements of how the human body works and more importantly the processes of how the hands get stronger?

-Address those requirements in their training?

-Approach training with a systematic approach?

-See the big picture?

-Practice a balanced routine?

-Have the ability to construct a routine around their goals?

-Possess the intestinal fortitude to lay it on the line each and every time they train?

-Have the training smarts to know when to back off?

-Practice good nutritional habits at least most of the time?

-Are consistant enough to make progress with each workout?

-Posses the patience to stay in it for the long haul?

-Have the due dilligence to practice recovery enhancement and active rest techniques when necessary and never miss a session?

-Be unreasonable in what you expect from yourself?

-But have the wisdom to avoid injury by training smart?

Needless to say, the number of people who possess all of these qualities, in any amount, at the present time is very small. BUT that doesnt mean it can't increase substantially since few, if any, of these have anything to do with genetics. These are ALL learned responses.

That being said, no, everyone does not have the ability to workup to closing the number 4, but everyone can get damn strong, a helluva lot stronger than they are right now. Gains need never slow down if all of these factors are in place. I do, however, think that the 3 is well within the reach of everyone.

It is also an interesting thing to point out that there is no way we can measure individual potential so if youre going to make the commitment to yourself to train for the strongest hands you can get, then do it, and quite bitching about genetics.

How far can you take it? Only one way to find out...

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Yes, John. Agreed.

That was an excellent post by the way... one to print out and throw in my gripping journal.

Mobsterone,

Thanks for the link. I gues the MDB is just as thick as the Inch but heavier then. I googled Millenium Dumbbell and your link was the only one that came up. It doesn't say exactly how heavy, I heard 230 lbs ?

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-Have the ability to construct a routine around their goals?

-Have the training smarts to know when to back off?

-Practice good nutritional habits at least most of the time?

These Lines (above) John provided are excellent.

-Define your goals

-Do your goals conflict with each other?

Genetics are important; Bill Kazmier, Paul Anderson...

Genetics can be overcome; Tommy Kono (tiny and weak to a champion); Doug Hepburn (club foot)...

Sometimes our other goals get in the way... a runner (10k specialist and a good one) wants to get stronger without added size. Well he has just limited some of his gains right there by saying "no added size" plus the goals semi conflict running vs. strength. This is an easy example as some are harder to find the conflicts.

I know some are saying "you do not have to get bigger to get stronger" but, with the above mindset you might cheat yourself by being afraid to get bigger. Weight gain will affect a runners performance.

Randy Moss' athletic ability is a good percentage of genetics but, I'm sure he worked hard to reach that level too.

So, go for your goal. If you do not reach it before you stop or die, I'm fairly certain you will be much better at that activity than before you started. I want to be as good as Steve Vai on guitar but, I will not reach it as I have many other things that confilct with a goal like that. I still like playing guitar and trying to improve. Plus I think his genetics enable him to be the best (has 7 fingers -just kidding).

-Keith

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Scott Styles

I guess what I was trying to express it that you need to be realistic about your genetics. Some people need to start getting the factors John mentioned in order just to close the #1. Other's don't need to worry about that until they've already shut the #3.

Just working hard and having postiive thoughts isn't enough. You need to recognize your strengths and cater to them. I think it is common for new or younger lifters to expect they are great and can do anything just because they've made a little progress. They fail to recognize that each bit of gain comes a little harder than that before it. This leads to frustration that they aren't rapidly reaching their grossly inflated goals, then loss of interest, then failure.

Understanding where you stand relative to others and having realistic expectations is integeral to long term success. Personally, I also find that it adds greatly to the satisfaction derived from lifting. If you don't expect to be the greatest, you can just enjoy getting better.

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Steve, don't mess with Bill DA SUPER GRIP PUNK. He will specialize in kicking your ass for several months, write an E-book about it, and pin your hide to the top of the topics list! :)

It's a little known fact that "KTA" stands for "Kick That Ass"

Edited by ClayEdgin
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So what should an average person be able to achieve?

I would guess that an average man should be able to achieve a "credit card set" close of a #3, and a trainee in the top 5% or so of ability should manage a #4 eventually.

So, my answer is no. Most people probably lack the potential to close a #4, but millions of people probably do have the potential to close it.

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So what should an average person be able to achieve? 

        I would guess that an average man should be able to achieve a "credit card set" close of a #3, and a trainee in the top 5% or so of ability should manage a #4 eventually.

So, my answer is no.  Most people probably lack the potential to close a #4, but millions of people probably do have the potential to close it.

I have to disagree on a practical level while perhaps not on a theoretical level. Given that only a very few have been able to close the #4 today, I don't think it is realistic to think that millions of people have the real potential to close it. Essentially what you are saying is that at least one out of every 2,500 people on the planet could train to close the #4. I travel to strength contests everywhere and know some of the strongest people in the world; to date I've only met one who can close the #4.

This number is way too high if by potential, you mean realistic potential--as in will they will close it. To me, potential without performance means nothing so I could care less about someone who claims that they may have the genes to do some feat if they do not train as necessary to do it--in most cases they are fooling themselves. It is easy to say what one could do--quite another to actually do it. Sure there may be a few Joe Kinney types out there who only care about crushing grip and not other strength feats that would get in the way of reaching the #4, but most will not be willing to go that hard for that long or to forego other opportunities.

I admire the enthusiasm of many of those that have posted on this thread as that is what it will take to do great things. As a matter of fact based on my observations of many lifters for the last 15 years, most will become bored as their progress slows to a crawl. They will quit. If you want something like the #4, unless you are extremely gifted genetically (therefore allowing you to get it quickly), you will have to be one of the few that wants it so bad that you can deal with months of almost inperceptible gains. Good luck to the few; I hope you get it.

Edit to answer your first question re: an average person. Unfortunately, as I have defined potential above, I don't think an average person will be able to close more than a #2 as they will become bored with their slow progress before they ever reach even the #3. Those with exceptional will power, etc. can obviously break through this level.

Edited by rbrown
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rbrown,at the ggc we had 2 #4 closers...and 2 more guys (clay, bigsteve) who are damn close to closing it.

How many grippers has Ironmind sold...anyone have any idea?

how many people who own these grippers don't visit handstrength websites such as the gripboard?

How many of the above people just don't give a crap about certifying?

I'm sure there are alot more people who have closed a 3 (possibly even the 4) that the coc list doesn't show because people don't care about it.

there is always someone stronger, faster, better, who just doens't care to announce it to those who might care.

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rbrown,at the ggc we had 2 #4 closers...and 2 more guys (clay, bigsteve) who are damn close to closing it.

How many grippers has Ironmind sold...anyone have any idea?

how many people who own these grippers don't visit handstrength websites such as the gripboard?

How many of the above people just don't give a crap about certifying?

I'm sure there are alot more people who have closed a 3 (possibly even the 4) that the coc list doesn't show because people don't care about it.

there is always someone stronger, faster, better, who just doens't care to announce it to those who might care.

I'm aware of that fact. I still stand by what I stated above. The GGC was a collection of guys from all over who are freaks about grip and who are the best in the business, including at least one guy from Europe. I would hope that at least 2 guys at that gathering could close the #4 or the rest of the world (most of whom don't give a crap about grip and most of whom don't have the genetics to do it if they did) doesn't stand a chance.

Again you have to understand my definition of potential.

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I think the definition of potential is what is at question here - my definition is much loser than yours Ryan!

I agree. Perhaps my definition is almost rephrasing the original question to what I see as the more relevant question--that is, how many people will actually close the #4? To that question, I say not many--not many at all.

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I think the definition of potential is what is at question here - my definition is much loser than yours Ryan!

I agree. Perhaps my definition is almost rephrasing the original question to what I see as the more relevant question--that is, how many people will actually close the #4? To that question, I say not many--not many at all.

To that I have to once again reply, how many people when powerlifting first began, thought that a 700 bench 800 dead 900 squat was possible. Probably not many.

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I think the definition of potential is what is at question here - my definition is much loser than yours Ryan!

I agree. Perhaps my definition is almost rephrasing the original question to what I see as the more relevant question--that is, how many people will actually close the #4? To that question, I say not many--not many at all.

To that I have to once again reply, how many people when powerlifting first began, thought that a 700 bench 800 dead 900 squat was possible. Probably not many.

to that I reply when will a double ply grip glove be coming out?

because without the equipment, there are very few that could hit those numbers in powerlifting. I can squat over 900 and without my titan suit it would not happen. There is no such animal in grip. Take a look at the deadlift numbers. They have not gone up that much over the years; that's because suits don't do much for the deadlift. Bench shirts are entirely responsible for the routine nature of 700 plus lb bench presses--I can bench about 550 in a bench shirt and I am a horrible bencher.

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rbrown,

The incredible specificity of training for closing a gripper makes it seem more impressive a feat than it really is. I am not sure any other exercise really hits the muscles involved in closing a gripper.

I do know that the difference between "Coc's" and average people in the sweep range is much smaller than it is in the close. An average person squeezes 60kg on Robert Baraban's Dynomometer. IIRC, most #3 closers manage ~70kg, which is in the same range of the manual laborers Baraban tested (68-77kg).

Even the strongest person tested on the RB Dyno (#4 closer Clay Edgin) was only 50% stronger than the average man, and the average man can't close a #1 gripper!

I do agree that very few people will ever close a #4 gripper, but, as more people train for it, the feat will become less and less impressive. IMHO, the "world record" will be a much tougher gripper than the #4.

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I was taking the question to mean how many COULD, not WOULD.

I think that if we all trained solely on the grippers, with a ferocious passion, lived for it, for a period of 20 plus years, I would be pretty dissapointed if many could not close the #4.

Of course, very few will, but that is not what is under question in my mind.

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rbrown,

            The incredible specificity of training for closing a gripper makes it seem more impressive a feat than it really is.  I am not sure any other exercise really hits the muscles involved in closing a gripper.

            I do know that the difference between "Coc's" and average people in the sweep range is much smaller than it is in the close.  An average person squeezes 60kg on Robert Baraban's Dynomometer.  IIRC, most #3 closers manage ~70kg, which is in the same range of the manual laborers Baraban tested (68-77kg).

            Even the strongest person tested on the RB Dyno (#4 closer Clay Edgin) was only 50% stronger than the average man, and the average man can't close a #1 gripper!

          I do agree that very few people will ever close a #4 gripper, but, as more people train for it, the feat will become less and less impressive. IMHO, the "world record" will be a much tougher gripper than the #4.

This is interesting info. thanks. Perhaps you are correct--I think it will depend on how many people really find grippers to be their passion. I think many of those that could probably close the #4 are the genetically strong, but many of those are off doing other things like NFL, PL, strongman, etc. I personally become bored rather quickly with something like grippers if I am not making rapid gains. With grip I can say that my grip as far as crushing goes is not really significantly stronger now than it was the first time I touched a gripper so I'm probably not the best person to ask about how to improve on grippers. I closed the #3 about the 4th time I ever tried a gripper and had not trained on them, but even after a decent amount of training, the #4 just seemed crazy hard so I kind of lost interest in it. I figure most, even those that possibly could close the 4, will not get there for the reasons that I have stopped training for it. I have not and don't dedicate myself to gripper training though as I like so many other grip and lifting feats.

Again, best of luck to those that really want it.

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daniel_lidstrom
rbrown,

            Even the strongest person tested on the RB Dyno (#4 closer Clay Edgin) was only 50% stronger than the average man, and the average man can't close a #1 gripper!

What?! You can't compare strength using %. If you do you must explain the fact that increasing the strength by another % is exponentially difficult. Try plotting the equation y = x^2 and look in the interval 0-10. See how fast the curve rises? This demonstrates the amount of work required (note: that curve is not representative but it gives an idea).

Also, genetics is not just what kind of muscles, ligaments, etc you have, but also how you motivate yourself. A strong mind is definitely not something everybody has.

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Refocusing on the original question in the very first post:

pdoire wrote:

"Is it because you must have an elite set of genes to accomplish this super feat of grip strength?? or will perserverance for the not so gifted also work??"

I re-clarify my statement (not backpedaling) by saying that no, you can't totally ignore genetics. If you are born with muscular atrophy, or only 3 fingers, turrets syndrome, or something, then this is genetics at its cruelist, and would almost certainly bar you from becoming a number 4 closer.

This goes for injuries which affect gripping as well, including but not limited to brain damage & paralysis, injury resulted amputation, and illnesses which dehabilitate the grip or body strength, i.e., artheritis, etc...

As far as everyone else goes, I think a #4 is within reach.

You may have to specialize your routine, at the expense of other pursuits and goals... however that is not a part of the question pdoire wrote.

It may take you a shorter period or a longer period than others... this also was not a part of the question.

Should you get bored and quit, then that is a choice you make and has nothing to do with the fact that you are physically capable of achieving the #4.

The role of genetics definately determines your likelihood to achieve the #4, but only in the sense that someone with better genetics won't have to work as hard as someone with weaker genetics. But I do not for one second believe that genetics is the determining factor with regards to the #4. Simply the diversity of individuals who have closed the #3 should be evidence of that.

So, from my position, perserverance is the key combined with wise and consistent training that will open the door to the #4.

A great majority of the world population does not train. Of those that do, another great majority has little to do with grip specific training. Of those who do train the grip, only a few of those will want, or have the desire to make the sacrifices required to conquer the #4. So in that sense, I suppose you could argue that (mental) genetics have been the determining factor... but certainly not physical. I also do not believe, judging from the list of #3 closers, that gripping can be compared to powerlifting or olympic lifting genetics wise, so please spare me the 'oh, then you think anyone can squat 1000 lbs' analogies. Squatting and gripping are no where near the same thing. Gripping is accessable by people who are in wheel chairs and can not "genetically" squat.

If interested, I was reading some of Benders page, excerpts from Brookfields books, and Strossens as well, and I think I will give up the thick diameter lifting and bending in order to pursue my #3 and #4 more directly. I'm gonna hang on to the Kettlebell lifts as the general consensus seems to be that ballistic grip stress is the best for of grip work / adaptation, and because the KB's work the whole body (especially the posterior chain) quite nicely. Basically I will have a program similiar to Kinney's but with KB's instead of his squats, and a Hardy Handshake machine instead of a Go-Really. I am not so fond of online journals because I am not always daily by the computer, but I'll let you know how I get on.

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Mikael Siversson
rbrown,

            The incredible specificity of training for closing a gripper makes it seem more impressive a feat than it really is.  I am not sure any other exercise really hits the muscles involved in closing a gripper.

            I do know that the difference between "Coc's" and average people in the sweep range is much smaller than it is in the close.  An average person squeezes 60kg on Robert Baraban's Dynomometer.  IIRC, most #3 closers manage ~70kg, which is in the same range of the manual laborers Baraban tested (68-77kg).

             Even the strongest person tested on the RB Dyno (#4 closer Clay Edgin) was only 50% stronger than the average man, and the average man can't close a #1 gripper!

           I do agree that very few people will ever close a #4 gripper, but, as more people train for it, the feat will become less and less impressive. IMHO, the "world record" will be a much tougher gripper than the #4.

I would use some caution and not accept those numbers as facts without having seen the data set. Who did the testing and how was "an average" person selected? I can close a #3 but I am nowhere near a #4 and still usually got 30-50 per cent higher numbers on a dyno (not an RB) than did other (strong) people at the gym who did not train their grip specifically. Maybe there are some construction flaws with the RB dyno that we (or Baraban) do not understand. I was 150-200 per cent stronger with the dyno than some hard training women at the gym.

Edited by Mikael Siversson
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