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The Quest For The #3


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Introduction by Bill Piche

This is special article series that is really a bunch of email correspondence between Steve Weiner (3Crusher) and Wannagrip (Bill Piche). We were both on the #3 quest and I had emailed Steve asking him some questions. We were experimenting, thinking, pondering, and asking questions in our quest to become COC’s. Note the date of the emails and also note that Steve closed the #3 for the first time on 8/4/00 and certified on 8/12/00. The reason I point this out is that some members think the #3 is a given within a few months time. That’s simply not the case. Keep in mind the information presented in these emails is almost 6 years old. We both hope this helps in some way or at the very minimum makes one think about their own training and not forget the most important part of the game: your brain.

Note: This was not corrected for spelling or proper English. These were informally written emails.

Friday, June 25, 1999 – Email from Steve to Bill


Thanks for the interest in my post. To answer your questions, the secret weapon in the video does have a 2.5 to 1 ratio, but the one that Joe Kinney sold me has a 2 to 1 ratio, but it feels like more. I have spoken to Joe, and he is a real nice guy, and very strong of hand! He told me that he eventually changed the placement of the loading hook on his machine, because the loading hook kept bending. That is why the machine he sold me only has a 2 to 1 ratio. Your question about the tighter close is interesting. My fingers are not overly long, and when I have a gripper completely closed, my middle finger is about one quarter inch away from my palm. With the expanded range of motion that the secret weapon offers, my middle finger actually presses into my palm. As with any exercise, form is key, and the key to successfully using this machine is replicating the hand position that you would have on a gripper. Notice on the video that when Joe is demonstrating the use of the machine, he cocks his wrist in order to replicate the position his hand would be in as if he was using a gripper. As for how the tighter close correlates to the COC's, I have found that it would take a lot less weight than you would think to translate to the closed position pressure required. I have spoken to Joe about this, too, and he believes that it would take about 75 lbs. held in the closed position to equate to the pressure required to close the #3. I think this is an accurate figure, as I am currently able to hold about 45 lbs. in the completely closed position in perfect form, but am capable of holding over 100 lbs. once the movement arm has moved out of the completely closed position. As stated in my post, it is the last bit of movement that is the hardest to complete, as I am sure you are very aware of, too. I do a combination of negatives and partial reps twice a week with the secret weapon. I work my grip twice a week. The first workout consists of work with the Rolling Thunder, and the secret weapon. With the RT, I do 6 singles with each hand working up to a max weight for the last 3 sets.

With the secret weapon, I do negatives, with partial "squeezes" at the top of the movement. I will do a minimum of 6 sets with each hand, all the way up to 12 sets depending upon how I feel. Each set is performed as follows; choose a weight that you can hold in the closed position for a couple of seconds. When you can no longer hold the closed position and the movement arm drops about a half inch, start performing the "squeezes." The "squeezes" are performed at the very top of the movement. You assist your gripping hand slightly with your other hand by pulling up the movement arm to the closed position. Once you get to the closed position again, try with all your might to hold it closed. Repeat until the movement arm can't be held closer than one half inch from the stationary arm. Basically, the squeezes are forced reps at the very top of the movement, to get my hand stronger beyond the range of the gripper handles. I will do from 2-4 squeezes per set. This will leave your hands feeling very worked. Joe says that he does 25 singles in a negative fashion with each hand. I truly believe you have to build up to this, as this would leave me in a totally overtrained state, However, I also do a lot of pulling movements in my workouts, as well as the farmer's walk once week. While Joe was training to close the #4, the only other exercise he really concentrated on was the squat, so maybe his hands were able to handle such a volume of work For my second grip workout, I do some work with the grippers, and the secret weapon workout as described above. With the grippers I do a few warmup sets with the #2, and then have at it with the #3. I try to do a few negatives with #3 then move on to the secret weapon.

Sorry for such a long-winded response, but I hope I have been able to help you. What has your best performance been with the COC grippers?


July 1, 1999 – Email from Steve to Bill


Sorry it has taken me so long to respond. At least I know there is somebody as fanatical about closing the #3 gripper as I am. To answer your Question about how Joe Kinney came up with the 75 pound figure is this: he told Me that a friend of his who was able to close the #2 at first sight used his secret weapon machine, and was able to close the #3 when he was able to hold 75 lbs. absolutely pinned shut on his secret weapon. For some reason his picture has not appeared in MILO yet, but he tells me it's true, and I'll take his word for it, since he struck me as a real honest guy when we spoke.

From the machine he sold me, I would consider this a pretty accurate Measure of where you need to be. Your machine may be scaled a bit differently Than the one that I bought from him, because you are almost at that poundage level. You aren't wrapping your thumb under the movement bar when doing negatives, are you? You're probably not, but in case you are, you will be defeating the purpose of the exercise. As for how much poundage Joe used, he told me that when he started using the secret weapon, he was able to close the #3 already, and started at 100 pounds. When he worked up to the #4, he told me he was using in the area of 200 something pounds, but was not able to pin the handles shut. He told me that the weight would drag his fingers down pretty fast, but he felt that he got something out of it. He did emphasize, however, that I should concentrate on the last few fractions of an inch of the movement if I want to develop the strength to close the #3, because it's the last 1/2" of the movement that stops most people. Just for the hell of it, I have tried to close #4 as far as possible,

And closed it 1.5" out of the 3" range of motion. Of course I was not able to cheat it shut either! For this reason alone, I do not do negatives with it, as I am concentrating solely on the last bit of the range of motion, and beyond. Joe could not emphasize the point of going beyond the range enough during our conversation. Have you tried closing the #2 with 3 fingers, or the #1 with 2 fingers? If you haven't, try it, and let me know how you

did. I've been successful myself at these "stunts"( done after a regular grip workout to avoid injury), and you should be able to do it too, since it sounds like your strength level is similar to mine. Have you tried doing any negatives with the #3, and if you have, have you had any success holding the handles totally shut? I have not had any success with any of my attempts to do this, and it is pretty frustrating, since it is relatively easy to cheat the #3 shut, but really hard to hold shut that last eighth of an inch. The rolling thunder is something else, isn't it? I have had RT for about six months, but started regular work on it only 3 weeks ago. I have successfully lifted 170 lbs. so far with either hand (weight of loading pin not included), and want 200 in a bad way by the end of the year. A little over a pound increase per week will get me to my goal!! I read in the recent MILO that the world record lift with the RT is 265 lbs.!! Pretty damn incredible if you ask me. Anyway, drop me a line when you get achance.


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