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Pinch grip records.

Guest Vince_Basile

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Guest 86-1005097353

The internet is a wonderful place and now I have found this grip board to communicate with other grip fanatics. I am reposting as this post was accidentally deleted.

Ah, the pinch grip. Many are the strongmen who come to grief in this event. I recall in 1968 challenging a former world deadlifting champion, George Frenn,  who was training at Gold's Gym in Venice to try to lift a large wooden block by pinch gripping it. He declined the invitation and I rudely commented that how can a guy be called the world's strongest man in the magazines and be afraid to lift a wooden block that bodybuilders used as a platform to do rowing. Later a huge guy, Steve Marjanian, tried to lift this block but failed. Naturally he had to retaliate and got an Olympic bar and raised it slowly in front of him with his arm straightened, then rotated it until it was vertical then back to being horizontal. I declined saying it was one all! You see, being strong doesn't mean you can do all feats of strength equally well. Feats of grip strength are like that. Sometimes unassuming individuals defeat strength athletes in grip feats. Such is the history of the pinch grip.

So there is a history of pinch gripping with me but most of the time it was purely an odd lift casual competition that we had at our gym in Sydney from time to time, and previously in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Because we had disputes about whether the plate was lifted off the floor I decided to build my own pinch grip machine and the first one was made in 1991. The current machine was built in 1993 and modified last week. It has a 90 kg weight stack of 5 kg plates on it. Near the top is a lever that is placed against a pin that sticks out from the front of the weight stack. When the pin is raised about 3/4 of an inch the lever falls and we consider the lift successful. The height that must be raised is arbitrary, of course, but is affected by the practical limits of having levers strong enough to avoid being bent by the apparatus or users. At the moment that minimum is about 1/2 inch. If the lever is set too sensitively it might be released by vibrations instead of elevating the weight stack. The user stands on a raised platform and bends down to grasp the plate which is about knee height on most people.

The gripping plate is 2 inches thick and about 6 inches wide and deep. It is made of stainless steel and has been surface ground then polished to a mirror finish. Thus, all irregularities have been removed. Also, the plate never rusts. At first it was thought that the shiny surface would be too slippery. However, experience has shown that clean hands can effect a decent grip. Thus heavy weights have been elevated on this apparatus. At the moment the gym and machine record is 82.5 kg done in November 1993 by myself. My son, Zorba, has succeeded with 67.5 kg. So far we are the only two who have raised more than 60 kg. The women's record is 40 kg. We are having another contest this Saturday the 17th of November at our gym in Sydney, Australia. Naturally the contest is for a one-handed lift only.

Because of the shortness of time before the next contest it is unlikely that other grip athletes have a chance to attend. Therefore, we will communicate with those interested and schedule a proper World Championship sometime in the near future, maybe early next year.

I own my own engineering factory but at the moment design and build equipment only for my own gym. I will have to consider having other pinch gripping machines built. It would be good to have similar testing apparatus available to others who live on other continents.

I have invited Nick McKinless who lives in Perth. Tom Black said he is well known for his pinch grip strength. So is David Horne who holds the British record at 65 kg. That is some lift. Perhaps some day soon we will be able to have all the athletes compete and then know who can raise the most on my machine. I am slowly getting to know everyone and put the real names to the handles. I prefer my own name to nicknames.

We do not allow any gripping chemicals or substances to be used on the hands before pinching the plate. The plate can be cleaned down with a "Windex" or similar brand window cleaning spray to remove previous body oils. The plate must then be rubbed down to remove the film. That way the surface is squeaky clean.

Our rules allow the competitor to have three one minute attempts at any weight. A bit like pole vaulting. The person can rewash the hands and reclean the plate in that time.  Increments are increased by 5 kg unless the referee allows less in instances where the leading individuals are getting near their limits or are trying for a record.  

It is clear that it is very difficult to compare feats done by different people in varying circumstances. Until the variables are standardized then records have to be specific to the contests that are held and cannot validly be compared. If a similar apparatus is used worldwide then records achieved in one contest would be valid elsewhere.

I have opened my own grip strength site and others are welcome to post their photos there or participate in the discussions. I am not trying to steal members from here, and opened that site because of the difficulty I was having posting here.

The URL is: < http://communities.msn.com/GripStrength >

Vince Basile. My email address is OvinceZ@hotmail.com <mailto:OvinceZ@hotmail.com>


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 You said "Tom Black said he is well known for his pinch grip strength," I don't think I said that.  I am very average in this lift, but working hard at it, peaking at 90-pounds one day on 2 inch wide plates with lots of chalk.  This is a far cry from David Horne's 65kg.  Good luck with the competition, hopefully Nick can make it.

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Guest 86-1005097353

Hi, Tom. Yes, that is one way you can read what I said. The other way, that I intended, was that you referred to Nick's prowess re pinch gripping.  The written word is very easy to misread or misunderstand. Sorry about that. What I meant was that you said Nick was proficient at pinch gripping. Okay?

Where are Nick and David? I would have thought they would have participated by now. Maybe they are making travel arrangements to be in Sydney this Saturday. :) That is Sydney time which is almost a day ahead of the USA.

Tom, I was thinking about making a testing device to test the gripper strength. At the moment we can not certify that all springs are equal even though having the same number. Also different companies might have a different batch of springs. Any steel that gets heat treated, as springs do, will have variations if the conditions when they were made were not identical. How would we know what the conditions were?

The same problem occurs regarding nail tensile strength. How would anyone know beforehand just how much power is needed to bend an identical nail? At the moment there are so many things that conspire to make feats of gripping strength somewhat unique and uncomparable events. Well, if we give everyone the benefit of the doubt then many people have done well. However, there are always going to be problems when we want to compare records and feats.

We have that problem in the pinch grip. How are any of the past achievements going to be compared? It surely is not possible to have certainty in such measurements. Until standardized apparatus is available to measure differences then no results and records can be validly compared.

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David Horne

Where am I? At home, getting ready for the World Arm wrestling champs in Poland in just over 2 weeks. Good luck with your comp.


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Guest 86-1005097353

Had my last pinch grip training session tonight before the contest on Saturday. 4 days rest is about right to get some improvement.  Things went well and I finally succeeded with 85 kg which was witnessed by my son Zorba who manages my gym. He was as proud as I was. I did a few more reps with 80 kg afterwards.

Arthur, from Sydney, came along after I finished training so I introduced him to the machine and trained left-handed while he tried his best. We washed our hands and so on. He was amazed that the stainless steel was so slippery. Without cleaning the surface plate even 25 kg is difficult. I noticed he tried to position his thumb as Nick advises. However, keeping the fingers or thumb too long on the plate might cause moisture to leak out of the hands. It is best to grip the plate and pull as soon as possible. Anyway, he succeeded with 35 kg which is about average for a man of strength. Some get 40 or 45kg the first time. Like I said grip strength is there for some events and not so apparent in others. I managed to do 65 kg with my left hand for a few reps. So that was also a personal best for me. At least someone else from the Grip Board has tried the machine. Arthur feels I should make a few more so others can train on them. Yes, that would be good for them but I dislike intensely making gym equipment. I don't mind making equipment for my own gym.

We discussed the need for a Gripper testing machine. It seems that closing those Captains of Crush apparatus is something many of you do. Those grippers are wonderful instruments and a lot of satisfaction comes from succeeding with them.

Arthur feels I should try lifting Olympic plates pinched together so that others can see that I can do other things and can be compared with David and Nick. Well, I have said many times that I am proficient with a 2 inch thick grip and prefer stainless steel. Once you use my machine you won't want to go back to lifting wood or cast iron. That I might not be proficient in other gripping feats does not diminish my success with my machine. I salute all those all-rounders out there like David Horne. There he is doing arm wrestling, too. I used to do a bit of that, too, but haven't been able to armwrestle after I tore my biceps doing a heavy deadlift about 23 years ago. Be careful, David, because arm wrestling can be a dangerous sport. Let us know how you go.

I believe there are too many variables with those grippers and that all manner of standardization problems arise. Everyone wonders if the others have the same grippers as they do. The best way to resolve this issue is to design and build a gripper testing machine that indicates when the grippers are fully closed. I can easily design such a machine. It would have a sufficiently large weight stack on it and be able to have any increments that are needed to sort out who are the best at this feat. I will work on building this machine in the next couple of months.

Anyway, it was nice to meet Arthur and chat about training and feats of strength.

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