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Sledgehammer Deadlift


KRC

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Looking for technique and performance info for the hammer DL. I've seen clips of Rex Hubbard lifting a 12lb hammer w/coin and David Wigren do a 5kg which are both outstanding. Not much on the youtubes or elsewhere that I can find on the lift. Any other benchmark lifts? What's a "common" lift for this event?

Also welcoming technique discussion. Two adjustments I made that helped a lot were sacrificing finger wrap to get the "pinky pad" fully on the hammer as well as holding it out more in front of you instead of with your arm straight down at your side. Anyone else?

Cheers.

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Stephen Ruby

Slim the hammer man could do the deadlift with like 24lbs sledges if you want benchmarks lol-straight arm too apparently-. I don't think anyone is going to be doing that for a long time if ever. I'm buying one tomorrow to train for the contest so I'm looking for pointers also. I have never done any wrist training other then bending nails which is recent for me so I figure this will be quite difficult. Are you coming down this sunday to daniels place to train?

Edited by Stephen Ruby
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David_wigren

Slim the hammer man could do the deadlift with like 24lbs sledges if you want benchmarks lol-straight arm too apparently-. I don't think anyone is going to be doing that for a long time if ever. I'm buying one tomorrow to train for the contest so I'm looking for pointers also. I have never done any wrist training other then bending nails which is recent for me so I figure this will be quite difficult. Are you coming down this sunday to daniels place to train?

What Slim did was a very different lift. Slim was the man in sledge levering, but I doubt he would do much more than 12-13 lbs in the sledgehammer deadlift, if he ever tried it. Right now Rex is the man to beat for having lifted a 12 lbs hammer by a 31" handle. There are a few other guys like me, Eaton, Goody, and a few others who are in the 10 lbs region. The 11 lbs I did in the video above was with a plastic fiber handle, which makes the overall weight a little easier. My best lift with a hickory handled hammer is 10 lbs with 0.5 lbs taped on it.

Here's a link to a picture of slim and the setup he would use. Very different lift than a hammer deadlift.

http://oi56.tinypic.com/2d6mjvq.jpg

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mark the handle off in 1" increments. choke up and keep moving down as you can. the jumps between standard hammer weights are huge when you hold it out at the end.

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lifesnotfair

But everyone who does it seems to let their wrist bend completely.

Wouldn't this challenge make more sense if people trying it aimed to keep their arm straight down by their side? So the Arm and the Sledge form a 90 degree angle?

Just a thought of course, wanting to hear opinions.

David: a couple of years back on an armwrestling forum, an AW legend (now in his 60s I think) was chiming in and I even dared to show him Rex's video of the 12# hammer as he had been talking about a similar feat. He had witnessed Mo Baker apparently doing the 12# hammer without "letting his wrist break". He specifically saw Rex's video (the one above) and commented that what Baker did was much more impressive as his wrist did NOT "break", and on top of that he proceeded to hammer curl it twice, on his second rep the wrist did "break" a little bit.

On another note, I am curious as to why you think Slim in his prime was only do a very similar poundage in this lift than You and/or Rex? Are you also very close to him in other sledgehammer feats? Genuine question here, because I thought that some of his feats are still light-years ahead of today's top guys... but maybe I'm wrong about this one!

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Eric Roussin

John Woolsey, the armwrestler you're talking about, almost mentioned the story about Mo Baker doing this with a 12-lb sledge to me. However, the length of the sledge used is unknown, so it's hard to know exactly how hard it would have been. I know John was extremely impressed.

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daniel reinard

Love this thread. Good idea Kevin.

For our contest we'll lift the sledge onto a ~16" platform with a coin on the head. This makes it easier to judge because people tend to just drop straight to the ground when near their max. Makes it hard to see if it was a controlled lift or if the coin was on the head before it touched the ground. Also for judging purposes we'll allow strict and non strict form since there is a gray area of strictness.

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@Stephen

Yep, I'll be there.

@Arturo

I don't see what difference it make as long as the hammer stays parallel. And regarding Rex's strength relative to Slim's (Note: I really don't want this to turn into another debate over Slim's accomplishments; there are already several long threads on that here), there's vid of Rex doing a very strict 20lb face lever, and apparently he recently did a 20 for an equally strict double which is mind boggling. This is not better than Slim, probably not even as good, but it's in the ballpark definitely. Closer than anyone else anyway as far as I know.

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daniel reinard

If you can Kevin, bring your 12# sledge. That's what we'll use in the contest.

A 20# strict lever double is insane. Pretty sure my wrists would explode from that. lol

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climber511

The "coin load" is pretty common is medleys at the contests I attend. Either a 6 or an 8# sledge and held at the end (usually has a taped handle section you must keep your hand on). Coin must be loaded to a bench or box of various heights. Ten is hard - 12 is stupid tough obviously..

If you want something fun - try using a 10# one and doing inner and outer rotation with it - hand on the floor. Fun lift also.

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David_wigren

But everyone who does it seems to let their wrist bend completely.

Wouldn't this challenge make more sense if people trying it aimed to keep their arm straight down by their side? So the Arm and the Sledge form a 90 degree angle?

Just a thought of course, wanting to hear opinions.

David: a couple of years back on an armwrestling forum, an AW legend (now in his 60s I think) was chiming in and I even dared to show him Rex's video of the 12# hammer as he had been talking about a similar feat. He had witnessed Mo Baker apparently doing the 12# hammer without "letting his wrist break". He specifically saw Rex's video (the one above) and commented that what Baker did was much more impressive as his wrist did NOT "break", and on top of that he proceeded to hammer curl it twice, on his second rep the wrist did "break" a little bit.

On another note, I am curious as to why you think Slim in his prime was only do a very similar poundage in this lift than You and/or Rex? Are you also very close to him in other sledgehammer feats? Genuine question here, because I thought that some of his feats are still light-years ahead of today's top guys... but maybe I'm wrong about this one!

The story about that biker, I hear those stories all the time. Most of the times they're complete BS. For a few years I've trained with a very respected weightlifter, a few Swedish national gold medals. To boot he is also very smart and he definitely knows his shit. But, every now and then when we were talking about grip strength, he would bring up a story of some other weightlifter he had seen, I forget who, who could lift a 20 kg barbell, hold it in the snatch position and then let go of it with one hand, and with the wrist strength of the other hand keep the 20 kg bar completely level. So forget even your strict 90 degree angle, we're talking 110-120 degree angle, which is even harder. I would always call BS every time I heard the story. But he insisted every time until a few years later when he found out that the other guy had not been using an 20 kg bar, but rather an aluminum practice bar. Which is still a very good feat of wrist strength, but not quite the Ninja-Robocop wrist strength of holding a 20 kg barbell level by grabbing it almost at the very end inside the collar.

And with that story I'd like to add that people usually don't realize how bad their brains are at remembering details, while being extremely well at synthesizing details to fill in the gaps. I'm sure that if you had the opportunity to go travel back in time to the exact place where that biker lifted that hammer, you'd see it was something like a 6 lbs hammer that he might have lifted or even swung with one hand. Maybe it was a strict lift of a 12 lbs, but with two hands. People usually forget those important details, so who knows what actually happened.

Regarding Slim, I don't think he trained the hammer deadlift. His numbers could be anywhere between 8-16 lbs. We simply won't know since I don't think he trained that lift. Regarding the lifts Slim actually did, he was no doubt a complete beast. But considering the setup he used I don't find his numbers to be "impossible". I know I will probably never reach his numbers, partly because I simply have no interest in training for those lifts. But for what it's worth I did 16 lbs the very first time I tried a one handed slim lever on a rolled up towel on the floor. I understand that Slim did two 28 lbs hammers drilled together this way? Insane numbers, but I wouldn't call them unreachable. However IF anyone is ever going to reach those numbers, it's going to require some crazy amount of hard work and dedication, along with a bucket of talent.

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Eric Roussin

Arturo's story is not about a biker, but about Maurice "Moe" Baker, a five-time world armwrestling champion, who was recognized as the best armwrestler on the planet in the late '60s and early '70s. He favourite technique was the toproll, which means that his wrist would have been exceptionally strong. While I agree that memories can alter from reality with time, John Woolsey's memory, though not infallible, is incredible. I've interviewed him a number of times, and his ability to recall dates and details is amazing (and I double check all the information I can). So I have no doubt that the sledge weighed 12 lbs, but I question the length of the handle.

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Eric Roussin

I should add that this feat was performed in front of many of the best armwrestlers of the time -- so very strong dudes, many of whom would have understood the significance of the feat. John has refered to it as the most impressive feat of strength he's ever personally witnessed.

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David_wigren

Arturo's story is not about a biker, but about Maurice "Moe" Baker, a five-time world armwrestling champion, who was recognized as the best armwrestler on the planet in the late '60s and early '70s. He favourite technique was the toproll, which means that his wrist would have been exceptionally strong. While I agree that memories can alter from reality with time, John Woolsey's memory, though not infallible, is incredible. I've interviewed him a number of times, and his ability to recall dates and details is amazing (and I double check all the information I can). So I have no doubt that the sledge weighed 12 lbs, but I question the length of the handle.

lol, I need to pay more attention. But that is a terrific example of how our brains(in this case my brain) will fabricate information to fit. i turned One of the strongest armwrestler into some random fat biker :grin: . I can see how a guy like that could deadlift a 12 lbs hammer. But I'd love to see a video of it to know for sure how it was lifted and if it indeed was a 12 lbs hammer.

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Stephen Ruby

Slim the hammer man could do the deadlift with like 24lbs sledges if you want benchmarks lol-straight arm too apparently-. I don't think anyone is going to be doing that for a long time if ever. I'm buying one tomorrow to train for the contest so I'm looking for pointers also. I have never done any wrist training other then bending nails which is recent for me so I figure this will be quite difficult. Are you coming down this sunday to daniels place to train?

What Slim did was a very different lift. Slim was the man in sledge levering, but I doubt he would do much more than 12-13 lbs in the sledgehammer deadlift, if he ever tried it. Right now Rex is the man to beat for having lifted a 12 lbs hammer by a 31" handle. There are a few other guys like me, Eaton, Goody, and a few others who are in the 10 lbs region. The 11 lbs I did in the video above was with a plastic fiber handle, which makes the overall weight a little easier. My best lift with a hickory handled hammer is 10 lbs with 0.5 lbs taped on it.

Here's a link to a picture of slim and the setup he would use. Very different lift than a hammer deadlift.

http://oi56.tinypic.com/2d6mjvq.jpg

Thanks for the clarification I just read the number and figured it was the regular hammer deadlift. I can't even deadlift the 8lb sledge I tried today at home depot so even 12 lbs seems very far out of reach. That is a fantastic lift by yourself btw did you train the lift a lot or did you just develop the wrist strength through other ways?

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benjaminBoy

Unreal the best i have gotten was a 6lb hammer a 12lb is insane strong to think about doing better start training the hammer deads more serious.

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BenMorrissey

I just tried this with my 7lb sledge, which has a total length of 30 inches. I can only just keep onto it at around 25-26 inches. Got a long way to go for this feat.

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climber511

But everyone who does it seems to let their wrist bend completely.

Wouldn't this challenge make more sense if people trying it aimed to keep their arm straight down by their side? So the Arm and the Sledge form a 90 degree angle?

Just a thought of course, wanting to hear opinions.

David: a couple of years back on an armwrestling forum, an AW legend (now in his 60s I think) was chiming in and I even dared to show him Rex's video of the 12# hammer as he had been talking about a similar feat. He had witnessed Mo Baker apparently doing the 12# hammer without "letting his wrist break". He specifically saw Rex's video (the one above) and commented that what Baker did was much more impressive as his wrist did NOT "break", and on top of that he proceeded to hammer curl it twice, on his second rep the wrist did "break" a little bit.

On another note, I am curious as to why you think Slim in his prime was only do a very similar poundage in this lift than You and/or Rex? Are you also very close to him in other sledgehammer feats? Genuine question here, because I thought that some of his feats are still light-years ahead of today's top guys... but maybe I'm wrong about this one!

The story about that biker, I hear those stories all the time. Most of the times they're complete BS. For a few years I've trained with a very respected weightlifter, a few Swedish national gold medals. To boot he is also very smart and he definitely knows his shit. But, every now and then when we were talking about grip strength, he would bring up a story of some other weightlifter he had seen, I forget who, who could lift a 20 kg barbell, hold it in the snatch position and then let go of it with one hand, and with the wrist strength of the other hand keep the 20 kg bar completely level. So forget even your strict 90 degree angle, we're talking 110-120 degree angle, which is even harder. I would always call BS every time I heard the story. But he insisted every time until a few years later when he found out that the other guy had not been using an 20 kg bar, but rather an aluminum practice bar. Which is still a very good feat of wrist strength, but not quite the Ninja-Robocop wrist strength of holding a 20 kg barbell level by grabbing it almost at the very end inside the collar.

And with that story I'd like to add that people usually don't realize how bad their brains are at remembering details, while being extremely well at synthesizing details to fill in the gaps. I'm sure that if you had the opportunity to go travel back in time to the exact place where that biker lifted that hammer, you'd see it was something like a 6 lbs hammer that he might have lifted or even swung with one hand. Maybe it was a strict lift of a 12 lbs, but with two hands. People usually forget those important details, so who knows what actually happened.

Regarding Slim, I don't think he trained the hammer deadlift. His numbers could be anywhere between 8-16 lbs. We simply won't know since I don't think he trained that lift. Regarding the lifts Slim actually did, he was no doubt a complete beast. But considering the setup he used I don't find his numbers to be "impossible". I know I will probably never reach his numbers, partly because I simply have no interest in training for those lifts. But for what it's worth I did 16 lbs the very first time I tried a one handed slim lever on a rolled up towel on the floor. I understand that Slim did two 28 lbs hammers drilled together this way? Insane numbers, but I wouldn't call them unreachable. However IF anyone is ever going to reach those numbers, it's going to require some crazy amount of hard work and dedication, along with a bucket of talent.

Slim had a few things going for him that may never happen again in this modern world. For decades he spent every single day, all day, with a sledge hammer in his hands - that isn't very likely to ever happen again due to newer technology in stone quarries. He also had the Mighty Atom as a mentor (something not to under estimate) - something that also will never happen again. Now Slim has a do it or die attitude that can be duplicated perhaps but while many people think they have that attitude - how many of them had ever pulled hard enough to actually break their bones? No one at this point seems to be even trying to duplicate any of Slim's feats of strength with the hammers that I know of. You really need to load up a set of double hammers and attempt 56# to even have a clue as to what this feels like - I have and was humbled to the extreme - to even hold them out at arms length will stop most men. And 56# is nowhere near his best - not even close.

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This is an outstanding thread with lots of great information. It's always refreshing to see and read about non-gripper related aspects of training, although gripper stuff is always good too. :) Cool vids fellas.

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Paul Savage

Slim the hammer man could do the deadlift with like 24lbs sledges if you want benchmarks lol-straight arm too apparently-. I don't think anyone is going to be doing that for a long time if ever. I'm buying one tomorrow to train for the contest so I'm looking for pointers also. I have never done any wrist training other then bending nails which is recent for me so I figure this will be quite difficult. Are you coming down this sunday to daniels place to train?

What Slim did was a very different lift. Slim was the man in sledge levering, but I doubt he would do much more than 12-13 lbs in the sledgehammer deadlift, if he ever tried it. Right now Rex is the man to beat for having lifted a 12 lbs hammer by a 31" handle. There are a few other guys like me, Eaton, Goody, and a few others who are in the 10 lbs region. The 11 lbs I did in the video above was with a plastic fiber handle, which makes the overall weight a little easier. My best lift with a hickory handled hammer is 10 lbs with 0.5 lbs taped on it.

Here's a link to a picture of slim and the setup he would use. Very different lift than a hammer deadlift.

http://oi56.tinypic.com/2d6mjvq.jpg

Have done 6kg sledge from 33" David, is in this video
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David_wigren
Have done 6kg sledge from 33" David, is in this video

Very impressive, I've seen it before. But It doesn't really count if there is no coin on the head of the sledgehammer. Your hand was at knee height before the head of the hammer left ground, which does make a very good difference. if you look at Rex's video and mine you'll see that handle doesn't tilt more than a few degrees before the head of the sledgehammer leaves the floor. Also I'd like to see the weight of the hammer, preferably one of those hammers where the number is part of the hammer mold, so there is no mistake. Lastly, it's better to use a hickory handled sledge, the plastic fiber ones makes it a tad easier since the handle weighs so much less. If you can follow those "rules" and still do 12+ lbs then you'd be the man to beat. But until then, Rex's 12 lbs hammer deadlift is still the one to beat.

Chris, I agree. Slim is almost untouchable in his particular sledge lifts/levers.

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Paul Savage
Have done 6kg sledge from 33" David, is in this video

Very impressive, I've seen it before. But It doesn't really count if there is no coin on the head of the sledgehammer. Your hand was at knee height before the head of the hammer left ground, which does make a very good difference. if you look at Rex's video and mine you'll see that handle doesn't tilt more than a few degrees before the head of the sledgehammer leaves the floor. Also I'd like to see the weight of the hammer, preferably one of those hammers where the number is part of the hammer mold, so there is no mistake. Lastly, it's better to use a hickory handled sledge, the plastic fiber ones makes it a tad easier since the handle weighs so much less. If you can follow those "rules" and still do 12+ lbs then you'd be the man to beat. But until then, Rex's 12 lbs hammer deadlift is still the one to beat.

Chris, I agree. Slim is almost untouchable in his particular sledge lifts/levers.

Ok fair enough, my best with coin on is 7kg (14lb head) from 25" for 5 sets of 3 reps but no video sorry. It was my first time doing the lift in the video, i didn't know the difficulty so i didn't think to show the weight.

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