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Tim Struse, Level 4

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The GripBoard Proudly Certifies:

Tim Struse

As having closed the Mash Monster Elite Gripper (Level 4) with one hand under strict and uniformly ethical and authenticated conditions.

The certification is granted by the GripBoard as an independent third party with no ethical or commercial conflict of interest. The Mash Monster Gripper was one of a limited number supplied by, rated and qualified by, and controlled by the Board. This momentous feat was demonstrated on video to assure it will be valid for historical posterity.


Tim mashes the GripBoard Mash Monster Gripper - Level 4

Name: Tim Struse

Location: USA

Age: 34

Height: 6'2"

Weight: 260

Date of Feat: February 9, 2011

Witness: Diane Struse


Current Grip Training Program: Grip and Pinch on Saturday; Supporting on Wednesday.

Other Training Info: In my opinion, the core lifts are necessary to be competitive in grip (unless you’re a genetic freak), so I stay with the basics: squat, deadlift, press, pull-ups and rows. I prefer overhead pressing much more than bench. I’ve recently incorporated heavy sled dragging with great results.

Acknowledgements: First and foremost, thanks to Aaron Corcorran for turning me on to grip and putting me on the fast track. Thanks to Chris Rice for his recent help, and for being one of the pillars of grip sport. I also thank Jedd for his inspiring passion for the sport, and for taking the lead with gripsport.org. Thanks also to the guys who keep the MM process working so smoothly: Eric, Bill, Matt, and the judges. Also, I thank the entire Gripboard community for its support and camaraderie.

Interview: LINK


Tim Struse, the 11th Man in the World to close the Mash Monster Gripper - Level 4.

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Could you tell us a little about your background in lifting?

(age, when started lifting, why you started, what you do now as far as lifts)

I'm 34 years old. I did lots of lifting alongside college football and track. When college ended I

went to law school and had a family and then spent 6-7 years sedentary with no lifting. I picked up

lifting again in November 2008, initially following Crossfit workouts but then gradually moving

more toward the core lifts.

How did you get into grip training?

A mutual friend introduced me to Aaron Corcorran and suggested I try a comp. Just for the heck

of it, I decided to show up. That was back in February of 2009. I was blown away by how helpful

everyone was, and how eager the other competitors were to help me succeed. There was none

of the negative, intense competitiveness you see at other strength events. Besides, the events

were awesome. I was hooked. I've never stopped training since then. To this day, the addiction

continues to grow.

You are now a GripBoard Mash Monster, what would you recommend to those aspiring to close this


For anyone aspiring to close the MM4, I'd tell them that if they closed the MM3 they're already in

pretty good shape for the MM4 (Matt, you were right). For anyone just starting on the MM ladder,

I'd tell them that they should train consistently and focus on quality recovery time, and with

patience and determination the results will come. I'd also tell them to have their setting technique

critiqued by a grip veteran. I might also suggest that they identify their weak point and work on it:

I'd train with the VHG if their set is weak, and with a filed gripper if their close is weak.

You are also a Certified Captain of Crush® How long did it take you from when you first started working

on the grippers to closing the #3?

I haven't yet come to signing up for the #3 cert. I recently bought a brand new #3 to test if I'm

ready and did an easy triple, CCS. I can close my #164 Elite pretty easily with a CCS. So, it's just

a matter of finding the time to do this.

I dabbled with grippers prior to my first real exposure to grip (which was in February of 2009).

I owned a #1 and #2 and tinkered with them periodically. I closed an easy #3 (138), TNS, in my

first contest, which was my first attempt on a #3. It took me about a year to advance to an easy

BBE, and then another year to where I am now.

What does your current grip routine look like?

Grippers and Pinch on Saturday, supporting grip on Wednesday. I am currently trying to bring up

my supporting grip, so I am packing a lot of work into my Wednesday routine: DOH deads on an

oly bar, then DOH deads with the axle, then DOH lockouts and negatives with the axle in a rack,

then farmers carries with 2.25" revolving handles, and then 1-arm rows with a 2.5" dumbbell.

How has your grip routine changed since you first started training your grip?

At first, I'd train grip every other day. Once my CNS figured things out and I could tap deeper

into my core strength, my recovery times became much longer. I've also focused more on the

role of breathing and core muscle tension, and developments in these areas played a big role in a

breakthrough in my gripper strength that occurred about 4 months ago.

There seems to be a significant variation in the frequency of grip workouts among trainees even with the

common goal of ultimate grip strength. Have you experimented with workout frequency and it's affect on

your training?

Yes, I think I've figured out what works for me. When I'm trying to develop a base strength in

a certain area, I train it twice per week, which almost results in overtraining. When I'm trying to

build to a peak, roughly 4-6 weeks prior to a comp or cert attempt, I'll train only once per week

but train very hard. I always have to remind myself that you don't get strong when you train; you

get strong when you're recovering from training.

What are your favorite grip exercises?

It depends. I've really been enjoying grippers lately. I've also been having a lot of fun playing

with my new Inch. I can honestly say that there has never been a time that 2HP was my favorite! I

really enjoy banging out reps on my TTK for more general conditioning.

What kind of starting routine would you recommend for a trainee new to grip training?

I think David Horne's program for beginners is very good. From what I know about RRBT and

KTA, I think they are very sound programs for beginners. I also think that there is no substitute for

training with a seasoned veteran, and I've been extremely fortunate in that respect.

Who do you most admire in gripdom?

I've said Aaron Corcorran before in prior interviews, and that remains true, but I'd also like to

add a few. I admire the grip veterans who promote grip as a sport and give it a good face: Chris

Rice, Jedd, Eric, Paul, just to name a few, and there are many more. I admire what Paul has

accomplished, particularly within the past year – he took his life and training to another level. I

also admire some of the strongmen we've recently seen pulling absurd amounts on thickbar, and

Andrew for hanging with them at a fraction of the bodyweight.

If you were to start over again with your grip training, what would you do differently?

I would have better known my limits and avoided some overtraining.

What do you believe is the most difficult grip exercise?

I struggle the most with pinch.

What are some of your personal bests in grip exercises?

Hard #3.5 (MMS)

218 2HP

537 DO DL - olympic bar

395 DO DL - axle

275 2" v-bar

What do you believe is the most common mistake made by new grip trainees?

Focusing too much on grip and not enough on overall power

What do you consider to be the greatest grip feats of all time?

Paul's grippers, Jedd's WR pinch, and Rich's thick bar. Also, Richard Sorin's blob domination

(among his many other feats).

Do you have any parting advice for readers?

Please support grip as a sport, and let's take it from a side show event to the main stage.

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Congratulations! Again! You closed it with power to spare just like the MM3. I'd put money down that the MM5 and 6 is not far off. And soon you can give Paul some company at the top.

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Congratulaions, Tim! So glad you decided to go after the MM4 right away - no doubt you had it easily. Excellent focus on the goal. On to the next rung!

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Always nice to read this kind of interviews. For us not having a good coach around, stories like yours motivate and help a lot.

And ofcourse congratulations Tim on your MM4 certification.

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