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How Does John Brookfield Stack Up?


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I believe I saw something on Ironmind's site about a Steel Bending Championship being put on by Brookfield and I can only assume that he was going to compete in it.

A performing strongman has no good reason to compete against his peers. Why would he? If he is beaten, then his reputation is smeared and if he wins, then people will still find ways to downplay the win ("Well, so-and-so wasn't competing that day or else John would not have won..." or "...the events suited him better...") Besides, the training time takes away from the time he could be making money by doing shows and promoting books and videos.

Why lay all your cards out on the table when you can have mystery? Mystery inflates your legend status and causes people on internet boards to have all kinds of discussions about it. I've been fortunate enough to meet Dennis Rogers, Mighty Stefan, Slim, John Brookfield, Richard Sorin and a couple other guys who are big on the grip strength scene. Dennis and Richard were the only ones who were straight with me about what they can do and what they did it with. Dennis showed me when he ripped a deck of cards behind his back with most of his fingers taped to his hand and Sorin stood beside me and broke 6-10's off the ground right after doing the Blob. These are guys who I think are secure in their reputations. Dennis even says "Look, I'll show you how to do it" because even if you know how to do it, you won't be able to do it as well as he does.

What people tend to forget is that a performing strongman doesn't have to answer to the people here - he is only concerned with impressing the people he is performing for. The internet debates mean nothing!

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I agree with you Mikael. Isn't it funny that most posts about what John Brookfield can do start with the words "I've heard that John Brookfield did......." Only a handful of Grip Board members can a

Without John and a few others from the past - none of us would be doing this at all. I respect him as a pioneer who played a major role in what we call "our sport". Whether he is the strongest is no

Jedd Johnson

I am enjoying reading this discussion. I hope we can keep it on track and avoid the tennis ball argument for a little while. That would confuese matters.

Thanks,

-Jedd-

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T

he events you mentioned were selected as such because, with the exeption of grippers (which was selected because of its popularity), they are simple and do not require a lot of technique (although v-bar requires pain tolerance). They also cover the widely accepted areas of grip (support [horizontal and vertical], crush, pinch and wrist). In Europe a thickbar lift is commonly not included which would suit Brookfield because of his hand size.

Maybe it's just because I'm new to the event but Vbar requires a huge amount of technique in my opinion. I can not budge a weight on one attempt and then tweak my hand position and pull the same weight to midshin easily on the next. Same experience with 2HP, again maybe it's because I'm new to it. I believe David is the one that incorporated the pwc-like movement into the 2HP, which is quite helpful and definetly considered technique. I've read on here in multiple threads where people have praised David Horne and The Swiss's technique on the one hand lift. These events are hardly low technique and they are certainly not the only ways to test the different areas of grip.

Many of Brookfields pet events require a considerably higher degree of technique and are therefore less suitable to demonstrate raw strength.
This is exactly what I'm talking about...Brookfield's best events are his "pet events" :rolleyes . I've never heard anybody call the 2HP David's pet event. Brookfield's best events are probably bending and card tearing. His bending is probably the easiest to learn style there is. Card tearing is high technique but there are more resources available on how to perform it than 2HP or Vbar.
If Brookfield can only demonstrate superiority in events that require plenty of technique then he can hardly be considered as possessing superior raw grip strength.

You've got to be kidding.

If I wanted to humiliate a bodybuilder I would pick bending rather than a one hand deadlift with an oly bar. Why? Well the former requires far more technique so I would be far more likely to succeed.
What about The Swiss or David Horne? They routinely beat competitors in the one hand lift that are much stronger overall than them and outweigh them by considerable amounts. Their technique is superior.

You make it sound like the "standard events" were either selected in a totally random fashion or perhaps with the intent to suit the people who selected them.

Did David invent the 2HP or was the lift already used and then he just invented the device? If he invented it and/or the device, then yeah..it's going to suit him. Regardless, it's an awesome event and my hat is off to him if he did invent it. I think people are missing my point on this. I'm not saying the "standard events" aren't great events, they are. However, for us to dismiss other lifts as "pet lifts" or "show lifts" because there not one of the standards is ridiculous. There is a lot more to grip than the so-called "standard events" and I find it laughable that people are doubting Brookfield's raw grip strength because he doesn't practice some so-called standard events, that a small group of individuals decided on once upon a time. I think we take ourselves a little too seriously some times. It's just like the Euro gripper record being 3.65(can't remember the decimals exactly) with Magnus and Nathan both being certed #4 closers. Just because we decide they didn't meet our criterion for setting the gripper record doesn't change the fact that there are at least two Europeans that are better on grippers than the European record holder.

In the end, he does not have to prove a thing but this whole discussion is a reply to those who suggested that he would kick ass in an allround grip comp.

It would depend on the events. Let JB pick two and let David pick two standards and draw the fifth out of a hat and give them both 6 months or so to train and you'd have one heck of a contest.

Edited by jad
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austinslater

Im with Josh on this. I think Brookfield is actually underrated. To say his lifts are pet lifts is just not true. I have tried bending with his style and I cant anywhere close to where I can with the other styles that are popular on the board. I think Brookfield would be very competitive in any type of grip contest regardless of the lifts chosen. Clay makes a good point though and I think John just doesnt care to enter grip contests at this time but maybe in the future. Just my thoughts before I go to bed.

Austin

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Nick McKinless

Ask anyone in any sport who the best is and they will tell you about the champions who have COMPETED past and present. Why should it be different in grip where competitions are everywhere now? No ones denying strong hands from those that havent competed but until they step on the platform EVERYONE who knows sports and who has competed knows who the best guys are. No one is going to tell me 'some' guy who trains at the local athletic club runs 19 seconds dead for 200m or 40 seconds for 400m is the best sprinter ever if he's never competed. Its agreed that Michael Johnson owns that crown for now.

Many will never compete because they are scared to lose the false reputations they have built through heresay and rumours. Anyone claiming to have the strongest hands in the world is really kidding themselves and so is everyone who believes them.

Maybe a top 20 list in no particular order should be put forward based on feats witnessed and competition success. Its impossible to say who has the strongest grip in the world based on feats alone but based on competitions David Horne has the top all round grip in competition. He's beaten the best in Europe, America and in the UK. Fact.

Nick

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Mikael Siversson
T
he events you mentioned were selected as such because, with the exeption of grippers (which was selected because of its popularity), they are simple and do not require a lot of technique (although v-bar requires pain tolerance). They also cover the widely accepted areas of grip (support [horizontal and vertical], crush, pinch and wrist). In Europe a thickbar lift is commonly not included which would suit Brookfield because of his hand size.

Maybe it's just because I'm new to the event but Vbar requires a huge amount of technique in my opinion. I can not budge a weight on one attempt and then tweak my hand position and pull the same weight to midshin easily on the next.

No it does not in my oppinion. Maybe you have a low pain tolerance which shuts down the power if you feel too much pain. I will make a clip of me repping 130-ish k's (290 lbs) in the v-bar and you will see that I just grip it from above on the second, third rep etc. without much thought on setting it between each rep. I pulled 135k (295lbs) first time I ever tried a v-bar. I have gained less in the v-bar than in any other grip exercise.

Same experience with 2HP, again maybe it's because I'm new to it. I believe David is the one that incorporated the pwc-like movement into the 2HP, which is quite helpful and definetly considered technique. I've read on here in multiple threads where people have praised David Horne and The Swiss's technique on the one hand lift.

Both David's used a technique that will probably no longer be allowed as it involves pinning the fingers against the leg.

These events are hardly low technique and they are certainly not the only ways to test the different areas of grip.

No they are not the only ways of testing the grip but they are, compared to many other grip feats, low technique events regardless of whan you say.

Many of Brookfields pet events require a considerably higher degree of technique and are therefore less suitable to demonstrate raw strength.
This is exactly what I'm talking about...Brookfield's best events are his "pet events" :rolleyes . I've never heard anybody call the 2HP David's pet event.

No, that is because it is a well used method of testing pinching ability. Few people, other that yourself, would regard it as an odd event requiring more technique than say bending or card tearing. In fact most would regard the latter two as more dependent on technique.

Brookfield's best events are probably bending and card tearing. His bending is probably the easiest to learn style there is. Card tearing is high technique but there are more resources available on how to perform it than 2HP or Vbar.

If Brookfield can only demonstrate superiority in events that require plenty of technique then he can hardly be considered as possessing superior raw grip strength.

You've got to be kidding.

Ehh, no I am not kidding. I rarely do in threads such as this one.

If I wanted to humiliate a bodybuilder I would pick bending rather than a one hand deadlift with an oly bar. Why? Well the former requires far more technique so I would be far more likely to succeed.
What about The Swiss or David Horne? They routinely beat competitors in the one hand lift that are much stronger overall than them and outweigh them by considerable amounts. Their technique is superior.

See my comments above. The one hand lift, as performed at the 2004 and 2005 Europeans, was removed as an event from the LGC competitions because it had turned into a "pressing your fingers against the thigh lift". No such problems with a regular one hand deadlift with an oly bar.

You make it sound like the "standard events" were either selected in a totally random fashion or perhaps with the intent to suit the people who selected them.

Did David invent the 2HP or was the lift already used and then he just invented the device?

As far as I know, no but I will let David himself address this as he knows the history of grip better than I do.

If he invented it and/or the device, then yeah..it's going to suit him. Regardless, it's an awesome event and my hat is off to him if he did invent it.

I think people are missing my point on this.

Understandable.

I'm not saying the "standard events" aren't great events, they are. However, for us to dismiss other lifts as "pet lifts" or "show lifts" because there not one of the standards is ridiculous.

No one is dismissing them. We are just not convinced that they are ideal for comparing raw grip strength.

There is a lot more to grip than the so-called "standard events" and I find it laughable that people are doubting Brookfield's raw grip strength because he doesn't practice some so-called standard events, that a small group of individuals decided on once upon a time.

Different people are amused by different things.

I think we take ourselves a little too seriously some times. It's just like the Euro gripper record being 3.65(can't remember the decimals exactly) with Magnus and Nathan both being certed #4 closers. Just because we decide they didn't meet our criterion for setting the gripper record doesn't change the fact that there are at least two Europeans that are better on grippers than the European record holder.

It is the competition record. Is that hard to understand?

In the end, he does not have to prove a thing but this whole discussion is a reply to those who suggested that he would kick ass in an allround grip comp.
It would depend on the events. Let JB pick two and let David pick two standards and draw the fifth out of a hat and give them both 6 months or so to train and you'd have one heck of a contest.
Edited by Mikael Siversson
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David Horne

Wow so many responses whilst I've been asleep. I'll answer the questions now.

Jad,

Hopefully one day I can say I've gone against all the best, but really I've only probably got maybe a year or so. Anyway, there are sooo many young guys coming through, and these guys will blast everything I've done. As it should be in any healthy sport.

I've got my files out for some of these questions.

Q1. How old is the Two Hands Pinch?

A. Earliest record is;

Warren Lincoln Travis lifted 210lb in 1907.

Q2. When was the adjustable apparatus invented?

A.The adjustable apparatus was invented by me in 2004 so that it would be fair for all hand sizes.

There will always be some techniques in any event/sport. Strength, speed, technique and endurance are the requirements to be a champion in any sport. The best way to test someones strengths is with weights and this is why they were invented, and why Powerlifting and Oly lifting use them.

Cunny,

I have no idea about tennis balls.

Clay,

Well, the steel bending champs may be interesting, as there are some superb steel benders here on this board!

Regarding, pro strongman putting it on the line. Yes, I suppose they have all to lose, but give Big Steve McGranahan his dues then as he's a pro showman and still came and put up a great performance. I don't think this harmed his career at all as it showed what he can do and that he was man enough to step up. Also we have to remember he's still a novice at this game compared to me. He will get better at a faster rate than I will. I'd also like to include the name of Richard Sorin here, as a few years ago (prob 1996), Richard was going to come and compete against me but other things cropped up.

David

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No it does not in my oppinion. Maybe you have a low pain tolerance which shuts down the power if you feel too much pain. I will make a clip of me repping 130-ish k's (290 lbs) in the v-bar and you will see that I just grip it from above on the second, third rep etc. without much thought on setting it between each rep. I pulled 135k (295lbs) first time I ever tried a v-bar. I have gained less in the v-bar than in any other grip exercise
Different strokes for different folks I suppose. I've added about 45lbs to my 5 sets at 90% workout that you recommended in one of the threads since I started doing it back in late October. I doubt that is just raw strength.
No, that is because it is a well used method of testing pinching ability. Few people, other that yourself, would regard it as an odd event requiring more technique than say bending or card tearing. In fact most would regard the latter two as more dependent on technique.

I never said it was an odd event but it's not low technique like you suggested and I think bending DO at the waist is one of the easiest things to learn in grip, technique wise. David has an article on the Diesel site about opitimal hand position for pinching and then there is the whole wrist curl thing they do. It's not like you just walk up, plop your hands down whereever they may fall and pinch.

I think people are missing my point on this.

Understandable.

Yes it is.

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Wow so many responses whilst I've been asleep. I'll answer the questions now.

Jad,

Hopefully one day I can say I've gone against all the best, but really I've only probably got maybe a year or so. Anyway, there are sooo many young guys coming through, and these guys will blast everything I've done. As it should be in any healthy sport.

I've got my files out for some of these questions.

Q1. How old is the Two Hands Pinch?

A. Earliest record is;

Warren Lincoln Travis lifted 210lb in 1907.

Q2. When was the adjustable apparatus invented?

A.The adjustable apparatus was invented by me in 2004 so that it would be fair for all hand sizes.

There will always be some techniques in any event/sport. Strength, speed, technique and endurance are the requirements to be a champion in any sport. The best way to test someones strengths is with weights and this is why they were invented, and why Powerlifting and Oly lifting use them.

David

Thanks for looking that stuff up David, I appreciate it. I don't see anybody blasting your wrist curl stuff anytime soon.

Edited by jad
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Mikael,

It is interesting that you say this as a similar situation arose with Bud Jeffries 1k bottom squat challenge. His websites say that he may be the strongest drug free man in the world, yet he does not compete.

Can someone lay claim to something without actually pulling it off in competition and beating others?

Bud Jeffries has competed in drug free powerlifting meets in the past.

Also no one has taken him up on his squat challenge.A test to determine if your drug free is one of the requirements.I'm sure theres some baement or garage trainer out there somewhere that could meet the challenge if they wanted.

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Tom of Iowa2
Many will never compete because they are scared to lose the false reputations they have built through heresay and rumours. Anyone claiming to have the strongest hands in the world is really kidding themselves and so is everyone who believes them.

Amen.

If you have the strongest hands in the world??? prove it....in a competition OR at leastdo some fairly 'standard' events AND use some darn good video equipment and have a priest,a rabbi,a cop,a judge, 3 guys that hate you,and a fat guy off the street as your witnesses.

A phone call to the editor ... a press release ....some wacky article...or a report from your best butt buddy isn't going to cut it now adays.

Edited by Tom of Iowa2
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Bob Lipinski

About giving credit to people in the past-

I know I sound like a broken record, but Don Larkin tried many of the "standard" grip feats back in the 60's and 70's- Bending, pinching 2 45's and 3 25's, grippers, etc- And he learned lots of his grip stuff from another strongman.

Some of this stuff has been around for a while. David, Nick, Mikael, and others deserve alot of credit for getting the whole competition movement started.

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just throwing my 2 cents in...

also another thing i'm curious about... no doubt that there are men on this board and elsewhere with much stronger gripper strength than John, but can't not all of them crush a raw potatoe like he can? maybe someone can shed some light on that, can any of our gripper heavyweights here crush potatoes?

I respect John Brookfield for making grip training more popular and for having awesome all round strength.

Sure a damn impressive grip feat but done by several guys...

I witnessed Frank Henritzi not mashing but doing some good damage to a patatoe. If I'm right he was closing grippers rated #3.2 at that time.

Barely anyone practises that feat and I'm sure that potatoes vary A LOT.

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In order for any feat to remain unsurpassed, some conditions are helpful.

1. Others do not train for it- in the old days, bending horseshoes was considered the neighbor to impossible, but after others began training for the feat, several have done it. One reason Arthur Saxon's bent press has never been surpassed is that the lift has fallen from popularity among those who may have the strength required.

2. Whoever did the feat must be unique in some strength manner that no one else can ever match, even with practice. I can come up with no example of this, because it is folly. Every record awaits replacement.

3. The feat itself was false, but portrayed as fact. I am NOT suggesting Slim did this, but others have, so that the goal is set so artificially high that no one (including the claimant) could do it. A 7,000 pound one arm

'press' comes to mind.

To suggest that Slim's, or anyone's feats, will be surpassed at some point is no more disrepectful that is the person who eventually performs the feat.

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Tom of Iowa2

IF you are a performer-a pro athlete -(or an actor/politician/leader)you have put yourself in the limelight.

In the lime light..so to speak...will naturally draw attention...eventually criticism...and debate.

I think if you make claims and/or are on stage,as a performer, criticsm comes with the territory...ESPECIALLY when one is benefitting financially from a claim...i.e. selling books,writing articles,selling "programs",videos,being paid to perform or whatever.

He has put himself under a microscope and with technology(internet,EZ access to video,photos,etc) ...people are begginnng to see flaws in the claims and ask questions.Technology is why I think he is under scrutiny(by some)more than in the past.

We used to(sort of) believe most of what we read in edited for lack of space MILO.

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DAN PRAYDIS

i have read all of these posts over and over and came to one conclusion for my self. that when i read a post of a new record or weight being lifted or broke i will think to my self and say he is one of the best not the best but one person added to a list of elite people that grows and will continue to grow over the years .

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I have been around John Brookfield a number of times and each time I marveled in his strength, versatility,inventiveness, and showmanship . He is truly a great grip man opening the way for many to follow. I believe HIS success comes from hard work and one minded dedication.He deserves all the credit we as peer gripsters can bestow on him. I liken him to Bill Kazmier a standout in his day,but as I look at the people in more modern times that exceed Bill's numbers still pale in comparison to his aura of strength. I feel what makes one great is not one feat or mark per se but, the multi level impact of what the person did to the gripworld in general.I admire and applaud John for what he is... a visonary and standout in his field...we owe him much. RS

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Well put Richard.

What makes me laugh is just 2-3 years ago John Brookfield was considered a god on this board and people would get upset if any of his feats were questined now those same people are slagging him off and wanting all sorts of proof but when other people question Slims feats these same people get all defensive and angry,but this board supposedly demands proof off of everyone and no one is 2 good,maybe in years 2 come it will be slims tern to be shot down in flames by these people now shooting down John Brookfild. :D

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climber511

The impact certain people have had on the Grip world also depends a good bit on where you live. Europeans and Americans were subject to a lot of different books, magazines, etc which influenced who, what, where, when things happened and their knowledge of it. Age influened who you read about as well. I was raised on Strength and Health magazine - Charles Vanistart, Slim, The Mighty Atom, Bill Pearl (he tore license plates) and stories from that era. One of the biggest reasons John is so well known is of course the Mastery of Hand Strength book, especially here in the states. If you're young and haven't read a lot of strength books, etc, Richard Sorin, David Horne, Dennis Rogers etc may not be names you've even seen before, even though their grip strength legacy covers decades, not just years. Today we have a whole new group of not only very strong grip athletes but a new group of traveling Strongmen who do grip performances. Only time will tell how many of these will go on to have a major impact on grip history - it will be harder to impress now than in the past because so many "normal people" can now do quite a few of the "feats of strength" of the strongmen of old. The other thing that will create fame is the Grip Competitions being held now; it's a realtively new sport and gives a very accurate veiw of grip strength that will not be as disputed as to facts as many of the performing oldtime strongman feats of strength are today. There are a number of people I admire for their grip and overall strength today, how many of them will even be remembered in 20 years - good question.

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Mikael Siversson
Excellent and well thought out post Chris (climber 511).

David

Yes, a refreshing and and yet sober view on the iron game.

A pleasure as always to read your posts Chris.

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I think you have to consider that as a showman, Brookfield does things in public that are probably a good bit below his maximum capabilities. It'd ruin the act if he made a practice of failing while all eyes are on him. I'd love to see the feats he does when no one else is watching.

Very true! He says himself in TGMM that you should never attempt to do a feat of strength in public you have not first completed consistently in training. I'd also like to know some of his PRs.

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