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bencrush

Barehand Bending Made Simple(R)

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bencrush

I commented on jmatney's thread about bending: "Unless you are going to work on barehand bending. And in that case it serves a purpose."

Some guys are interested in barehand bending. Most aren't. I never bent anything harder than an IronMind Yellow Nail barehand. I didn't do much of it though.

One of the guys I worked with at the mutual funds job was bitten by the bending bug after seeing me do a small "show" (tore 6 decks of cards, exploded some cans of pop by punching them, rolled frying pans, broke a few baseball bats) years back (2007) for a small group at work, on break. I put together his training and he quickly went from failing at about 90 degrees on a Yellow Nail (in IMPs though) to destroying a 6.5" Red Nail in just shy of 3 months. We are Facebook "friends," but I really haven't heard anything from him after 2009. Until last night when he messaged to say he's been back in training (steel bending) since August 1st of this year - and has the goal of certifying on the Red Nail barehanded. I thought that was insane. But also cool. I have no idea if he will succeed. To be honest, I highly doubt it. I had to be up front with him and say that I thought it was a terrible idea. But again, it's intriguing to me. I have to use my hands every day. Pretty much everyone does, right? He is an IT guy now and should be pretty concerned about his hands. But he really has it in his head to give the barehand cert a good run.

He is going to keep me notified of his progress on the way to his ultimate goal. He hasn't set a time limit, which is smart. He does a very basic gripper workout once a week that keeps him at the CCS #2 level on both hands. I feel like that's "enough" grip strength for whatever he needs in terms of bending. At least for a while.

His double pad (2 sets of IMP) max right now is a 7" Red. His IMP max is a 1/4"x7" Square-FBBC. His barehand max is 1/4"x7" HRS. The HRS is some leftover from a 3' rod I gave him years back. It is super soft HRS. About as hard as 3/16" Stainless-303. But easier on the hands since the diameter is larger and spreads the force (joy?) across a larger surface area.

I listed his double pad and IMP current maxes because I am interested in how those will change over time on his barehand-focused program. The most padding he will use (on his choice) is about equivalent to a handkerchief (which he is also going to use in his training). He mentioned he'll do a max effort bend of each type (double pads, IMPs, barehand) once every 6 to 8 weeks to test his progress.

He has been using a simplified version of the original bending program (it involved progressively reducing the amount of padding - from double pads to a very thin IronMind cut pad) I wrote up for him back in 2007. But this version is of course tailored around barehand bends, with some very thin padding bends as assistance.

He does have a few things going for him that most guys don't. No wife or kids - and his job pays him enough to spend a bunch of money on various steel through online steel suppliers, IronMind, etc. He placed a huge order of O-1 Drill Rod, Stainless-304 and 303. All smaller-diameter stuff for the most part. I also had him buy some hardware store Aluminum and Brass. That way he could get used to the larger diameter barehand bends, which are more comfortable.

This is the program (1st workout, the rest will change somewhat and progress) that he started today. And the workouts he's been doing since restarting bending a few months ago he's going to table until further notice. It is a 2 day per week bending program. The volume is controlled by how he feels that day. Or by any time constraints. I told him to try to leave a "good bend" in the tank at the end of every workout. Except for max tests. I told him he ought to buy some Silvis Ninja Nails too. I like the look of them. They appear to be super polished and free of any burrs. Kind of a good thing when you're bending barehand, haha! All bends are 7" bars. No variance. I told him if the Red is his goal, then 7" is what he's going to do all his bends with.

DAY 1: BAREHAND FOCUS ALL BENDS ARE DONE BAREHANDED: Bend 2 bars of 3/16"x7" CRS for a warmup. Rest is as much (or little) as he wants. 1/4"x7" Aluminum. Either do a bunch of those or progress to the next hardest bar. He didn't have any Brass yet.

DAY 2: BANDANA FOCUS ALL BENDS ARE DONE WITH BANDANA PADS: Bend 2 bars of 3/16"x7" CRS for a warmup. Rest is as much as he wants. Then progress up the "difficulty ladder" in available steel, starting with the closest bar (but harder) to his current barehand max bend of 1/4"x7" HRS. For him, the first workout started (after warmup) by bending 1/4"x7" CRS with the bandana pads. After that he made the choice whether to go up to the next harder bar available - or stay at the 1/4"x7" CRS - or to just end the workout and recover for the next one.

The details of the bending program are pretty long-winded. But in practice, it's very simple progressions.

  • His bandana bends are obviously going to be with harder steel than barehanded.
  • The purpose of the program is to get the two (barehand and bandana pads) to come closer together.
  • I don't know yet what his best bend with bandana pads is. He'll let me know tonight.
  • After that, for his next workout with the bandana pads he can either try to bend harder steel or cut a very small strip away on the bandanas. To clarify: this is one bandana on each end of the bar. One bandana per hand. I think he bought a box of bandanas online. Something like 100 of them, unless he was kidding. If that's true, he has enough bandanas that he can trim some of them down and keep some intact to work on harder bends.

He will find out on his own, but I've also told him that he'll have to change his style up (probably) to bend harder steel barehanded. For me, a DU or Reverse kink was the way to go. Get it as close to 90 degrees as possible before going to DO.

Some of you mutant barehand benders might disagree with what I've written here. I humbly acknowledge that at my best (barehanded), I was not even a mediocre bender. So I'll pass on any comments to him if you put them here. He is not a member here, and probably won't join - even though I've encouraged him (once in 2007 and currently) to join here and the IronMind forum. He doesn't live in the States anymore, but he told me that when he is ready to certify on the Red - he'll fly over (with IronMind's permission, of course) and have me be the judge for his cert. I'm frankly not sure I'd be chosen by IronMind even if we lived in the same 100-mile radius of each other. Since I'm not Red Nail certified. Or even a bender anymore. But, we'll cross that bridge when he bends it.

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EJ Livesey

Well this should be interesting. Of course I will have different opinions on this regiment, but hey it's the internet we all have opinions.

Make sure you tell him to invest in super glue, Tuf foot and tiger balm yellow. He's going to need those thing bad. His diet needs to be on point with as little sodium and bad fats as possible. He should take apple cider vinegar for joint help and olive oil to keep the hands soft and keep the skin elasticy. You don't want brittle skin that will crack and split but you need it tough enough to take the abuse.

My vote is lose the bandanas and use a single IM pad. IM pads are rough and will toughen the skin were as I don't think a bandana will since its cotton.

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bencrush

Well this should be interesting. Of course I will have different opinions on this regiment, but hey it's the internet we all have opinions.

Make sure you tell him to invest in super glue, Tuf foot and tiger balm yellow. He's going to need those thing bad. His diet needs to be on point with as little sodium and bad fats as possible. He should take apple cider vinegar for joint help and olive oil to keep the hands soft and keep the skin elasticy. You don't want brittle skin that will crack and split but you need it tough enough to take the abuse.

My vote is lose the bandanas and use a single IM pad. IM pads are rough and will toughen the skin were as I don't think a bandana will since its cotton.

Thanks for your input, EJ! I actually told him specifically about you and two other guys. I'll send this word-for-word to him and tell him he should pay big attention to it.

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EJ Livesey

Well this should be interesting. Of course I will have different opinions on this regiment, but hey it's the internet we all have opinions.

Make sure you tell him to invest in super glue, Tuf foot and tiger balm yellow. He's going to need those thing bad. His diet needs to be on point with as little sodium and bad fats as possible. He should take apple cider vinegar for joint help and olive oil to keep the hands soft and keep the skin elasticy. You don't want brittle skin that will crack and split but you need it tough enough to take the abuse.

My vote is lose the bandanas and use a single IM pad. IM pads are rough and will toughen the skin were as I don't think a bandana will since its cotton.

Thanks for your input, EJ! I actually told him specifically about you and two other guys. I'll send this word-for-word to him and tell him he should pay big attention to it.

If he's interested I can PM you my email addy to send his way. But I think he should join here and share this experience with the rest of the board. This is semi-new waters for me. And I know a lot of guys are interested in this bare hand stuff.

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EJ Livesey

Looking back over this regiment I would change this:

Skip the soft steel, aluminum and brass. I feel like all that will do is give a false sense of strength. And it's expensive.

I would incorporate 1/4 x 7 g2s for bare hand days.

The pad days look good but again I'd use a single IM pad.

Based on the info you have given that's about all the real advice I can give. I know nothing about his diet, sleep, gym stuff etc etc.

Edited by EJ Livesey
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Justin Matney

Good stuff Ben. Thanks.

Got a 1/4" 7" CRS to 45 degrees earlier barehand, decided that wraps are actually my friend after all, and that maybe impressing strangers on the internet isn't quite as important as it may seem. Small laceration, lesson learned.

Nothing a belly rub, a warm glass of milk & some Vagisil won't fix.

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bencrush

Good stuff Ben. Thanks.

Got a 1/4" 7" CRS to 45 degrees earlier barehand, decided that wraps are actually my friend after all, and that maybe impressing strangers on the internet isn't quite as important as it may seem. Small laceration, lesson learned.

Nothing a belly rub, a warm glass of milk & some Vagisil won't fix.

Haha! That's strong though, for real!

I did several IronMind Yellow Nails barehand. And several FBBC 1/4"x7" bars. I definitely felt the FBBC bars were harder. Even though they were not as raggedy jaggedy as the Yellow Nails.

What style did you use? You're no doubt already figuring this out, but DO hurts like hell barehand. At least for me. DU was the best barehand style for me. Reverse didn't hurt terribly, but I couldn't kink it as far as I could DU.

Not totally on topic, but the first time I met Big Steve McGranahan, I remember thinking that THOSE hands looked like he would utterly demolish a Red Nail barehand. Seriously. Those are not even homo sapiens hands. I believe they are correctly identified as: Homo Gripectus.

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Justin Matney

Proof:

NJLfzng.jpg?2

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bencrush

It's been almost 3 years since I've updated this.  I heard from Utpal (the former mutual funds coworker) yesterday for the first time in over 2.5 years.  One of the first things I asked him (besides about family) was if he was still bending.  I heard the pride in his voice when he told me that he had gotten a lot stronger in both barehand and bending with Ironmind pads. 

Me: "How much stronger?"

Utpal: "I have kinked about a dozen Reds barehand to a range of 5 degrees to 21 degrees (best)." 

He said he recently barehand bent a 9/32"x7" Drill Rod (O-1) and using Ironmind pads has done a 6.5" Edgin and .339"x7" Drill Rod (O-1) - both slightly under a minute. 

I was really pleased that he has stuck with it this long and pushed his limits.  He said he's still using the same basic template I gave him, with the exception of doing a lot of specific (his own creation) stretches and prehab-type work for his shoulders and hands.  Oh, he also mentioned sledgehammer levering, so I assume that had something to do with his slow and steady improvement too.

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anwnate

Update?

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bencrush
19 hours ago, anwnate said:

Update?

I wish there was!  He stopped returning my e-mails after this update and I never heard from him again.  Hit phone was shut down.  Not on any social media where I can ask him what's going on either. 

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anwnate
6 minutes ago, bencrush said:

I wish there was!  He stopped returning my e-mails after this update and I never heard from him again.  Hit phone was shut down.  Not on any social media where I can ask him what's going on either. 

Bummer.  Would have been an epic cert!

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bencrush
2 hours ago, anwnate said:

Bummer.  Would have been an epic cert!

I totally agree!  I was surprised that he fell off the face of the earth.  And he isn't on FB anymore, so I can't just message him there to see how he's doing. 

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