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Under the Spotlight - Grip Profile - Eric Roussin

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Today's profile features Eric Roussin.

 

Zydrunas Savickas...Lithuania. Mariusz Pudzianowski...Poland.  Brian Shaw...USA.

Those who train strength, know this build-up greets those viewing World's Strongest Man. 

 

This idea could easily be transferred to GripSport...only the names would change. 

Juha Harju...Finland.  Gil Goodman...USA.   Eric Roussin...Canada. 

 

Indeed...Eric would be the man representing Canada.  Roussin is responsible for starting (and growing) Gripsport in an entire country. He created and maintains the website http://www.canadagripsport.com ,  co-founded the International King Kong Grip Challenge with Andrew Pantke. (the biggest annual multi-venue grip sport contest in the world), and won the overall title of the International GripTopz Championships in 2013.  He has held three weight class World Records at the same time...the  Ironmind Rolling Thunder , the FBBC 2.5" Crusher   and the Double Overhand Axle record .  In addition, he won the APL World Armlifting Championships at St. Petersburg, Russia in 2016, followed by a recent three-peat of the Overall title at the Canadian National Grip Sport Championships.

 

Eric's Armwrestling resume is no less impressive...and continuing to evolve.  He led the Ontario Armwresting Association for 8 years (2007-2015). He won 14 Ontario Provincial Armwrestling titles and a Canadian National Armwrestling title. Placing Top 8 at the World Armwrestling League Championships two years in a row, he ended up winning his first Major WAL title in February of this year.

 

In 2013, I got to meet Eric and his father at The Diesel T.G.A./Holdfast Gauntlet.  5 time NAGS Champion Jedd Johnson beat Roussin by less than 3 points to take the win in the contest.  Eric particularly impressed with the FatGripz Trap Bar Hold, easily beating the field holding 450lbs for an eternity (I believe that Karl Skjelvik was the only other competitor to get that weight up).  Physically impressive, he literally appears chiseled from rock.  On his body, there is not a spare ounce of weight that isn't usefulEric is also one of only a few Anvil aficionados, collecting nearly all the variations GripSport has to offer.  Just a handful of people in North America (Adam T. Glass, Kody Burns etc.) have recorded pulling more on them.

 

Like Kody Burns, Eric is more the quietly intense type.  His propensity to do unreal feats without so much as a peep of celebration, makes people underestimate this quiet Goliath.  Very few people can Row 172lbs.  Fewer still can lift the INCH Dumbbell (it is a World Class feat).  To hold the INCH for 9 seconds is ridiculous...but to ROW 172lb 2.3/8" handled INCH during those 9 seconds is logic defying.  I can't tell you how pleased I was when Eric agreed to be put "Under the Spotlight."

 

So...just how did this Canadian Colossus make his way to the top of the Grip world?  Let's find out...

 

step22.jpg

 

 

 

7 questions to get to know Eric...

 

1.  What are your stats?  Gripboard Name, Age, Height (inches/meters), Weight (lbs/kgs), R/L dominant hand size (cm/in), Country/City (or region … whatever you are comfortable with), Relationship Status, Kids?, Occupation ("international spy" is acceptable) 

GripBoard Name:  Eric Roussin

Age:  39yo  (40 on 3/6/17)

Height:  6’2” (188cm)

Weight:  200 lbs (90.7kg)

Hand size:  8 and 3/16” (21.3cm)

Country/City:  Canada/ Ottawa, Ontario

Relationship Status:  Married (Common Law)

Kids:  Four kids between the ages of 5 and 10

Occupation:  Risk Management Expert (cool-sounding way to describe the work I do as a civil servant of a federal agency)

 

 

2.  Why did you start training grip (and how long is it now)? 

I got into competitive armwrestling in late 1996.  This coincided with the time I first discovered the Internet. One of the first armwrestling websites (armwrestling.com) featured advertisements for Captains of Crush grippers.  I ordered the #1 and the #2.  I could close the #1 for reps immediately, but I could not close the #2. I didn’t use them very much, because I soon realized that they didn’t have much to offer in terms of carry-over strength to armwrestling.

The main focus of my training over the following 15 years was on developing armwrestling strength. Every year or two, I would order a new piece of IronMind equipment that I thought could be useful: the Titan’s Telegraph Key, the Rolling Thunder, the Heavy Hammer II Leverage Bar, etc.

I started hosting armwrestling tournaments in 2004, and in 2007 I started to hold small grip contests in conjunction with them. They were last-man-standing types of events.  I didn’t compete in these because I felt I had an unfair advantage (I was the only one with access to all of the equipment).  I’ve since changed my stance on this issue, because it’s hard to compete in other promoters’ contests when you’re the only active promoter in the country!

I don’t recall exactly why, but I didn’t hold grip contests between 2008 and 2010 (I think it may have been because armwrestling tournaments themselves can take several hours to run).  The grip bug returned in late 2010 when I purchased a replica Inch dumbbell.  I had wanted to purchase one for a while, but the high purchase and shipping costs were a deterrent.  Anyway, I finally decided to bite the bullet – I figured bringing the Inch to armwrestling tournaments could be a lot of fun.  I suspected I’d be able to lift the Inch when it arrived, because I had been training with the Rolling Thunder for several years, and it had always been a strong lift for me (I managed to lift 185 lbs that first time I tried it).  Sure enough, I was able to lift the Inch with relative ease with my right hand. When I realized through comments made on the GripBoard that this lift was considered a major achievement, I decided to see what I could manage in other grip events.

In 2011,  I had a great opportunity to expose a large group of armwrestlers to grip sport.  In September of that year I hosted the Canadian National Armwrestling Championships. Men and women with strong hands and wrists from across the country would be attending, so why not give them a chance to try a grip medley?   And so I organized The Canadian National Hand Strength Challenge.  I ran it following the armwrestling tournament.  The Challenge consisted of a 35-item medley.  To boost the event’s credibility, I invited Jedd Johnson to come emcee the Challenge.  I considered the event to be a success – I believe there were 18 official entrants.  This was the first grip contest in which I competed, and I won the large hands division. I was hooked!

In 2012, I decided to attend a grip contest in the US. I attended one of Adam Glass’ Grip Decathlons in the fall of that year. Though I had absolutely no expectations that I would beat Adam in this contest, I was thrilled to take second, and I actually outlifted him that day in the Rolling Thunder and Double Overhand Axle events!  Then and there, I decided that I would attend the NAGS Championship in 2013.  I’ve been competing in and hosting grip sport contests ever since.

 

 

3.  Before you die, what is your ULTIMATE grip goal/goals? 

I don’t have an ultimate grip goal.  Continued progression is what I’m chasing.  I stay motivated by setting small objectives (e.g. increasing a lift by 3-5 lbs), reaching them, and then increasing them slightly once again.

I guess it would be cool to do 10 consecutive bent-over rows with the Inch dumbbell (without setting the bell down between reps). I know Andrew Durniat once stated he had the same goal.

 

 

4.  How do you currently structure your overall training/how do you incorporate your grip training? 

Because I train for various purposes – armwrestling, grip sport, health, and to maintain a balanced physique – it’s hard to find the perfect training mix. These days, I’m trying to stick to the following six-day cycle:

Day 1: Thick bar and vertical bar-type exercises

Day 2: Chest and shoulders + cardio

Day 3: Pinch and hub-type exercises + abs

Day 4: Back, biceps and forearms (armwrestling-focussed workout)

Day 5: Crush-type exercises + cardio

Day 6: Legs and abs

I basically do bodybuilding type training for non-grip and non-armwrestling exercises. For armwrestling training, static exercises are more the norm (e.g. holds for time). For grip training, I usually do sets of 3-8 mini-reps (short range of motion) and I increase the weight with each set.

 

 

5.  What hobbies (other than grip/bending/lifting) do you enjoy?

I really enjoy researching and writing about the history of organized armwrestling.  It’s a sport whose evolution has not traditionally been well-documented.  I would hear about various champions who had won dozens of world titles, but I couldn’t find any record of such titles online.  So in 2010, I decided to do something about it.  I began tracking down key figures from the sport’s early days – people who were involved in the promotion of the sport back to the 1950s and 1960s.  I conducted dozens of interviews, obtained hundreds of newsletters and magazines, and looked through thousands of old newspaper articles.  From this, I’ve been able to reconstruct how the sport developed and expanded across North America and ultimately around the globe.  I originally wanted to write a book, but decided to start a website instead (http://www.thearmwrestlingarchives.com). I continue to add to the site on a sporadic basis.  It’s a bit sad, but discovering old tournament results that have previously never been posted online gives me a rush!

Other interests include playing pinball (like Bob Sundin) , learning “useless” facts (think Bathroom Readers), browsing the Internet, attempting escape rooms, and watching reality TV. (Don’t judge me. :))

All of my kids are enrolled in various sports/activities (skating, swimming, dancing, piano, hockey, soccer) and I’m really enjoying watching them progress in their abilities.  The four of them also compete in kids’ armwrestling tournaments, which are a blast.  My eldest won two national titles before the age of five – I’ve only won one!

 

 

6.  Do you have a personal anecdote, topic or thoughts you'd like to include in your profile?

Don’t let the fact that you haven’t competed in grip sport nor done much grip training prevent you from attending a grip sport contest, if you think it’s something that would interest you.  Grip sport is very much still in its infancy, and there are almost always several first-timers competing.

Traveling to attend competitions can be expensive and time-consuming, but if you can manage it, I highly recommend it.  I went to Russia last year for the first time to compete in the APL World Armlifting Championships. (Since he didn't mention it...I feel the need to again point out that Eric took the Gold) It was one of the highlights of my 20-year athletic career.

 

 

7.  Who's Grip profile would you like to see next?

Jason Steeves. He’s leading grip sport’s development in Western Canada.  Plus, of all my friends on Facebook, he has the most eclectic mix of posts!

 

 

Thanks Eric.  Jason has agreed and will be profiled soon.

 

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Not only is Eric super strong, Hes also a super nice and humble guy who does a lot for grip sport. I have no idea how he is able to train and compete in both grip and arm wrestling with a family. The guy travels pretty far for some comps. It just amazes me.  

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Eric you should check out the Rose Buddies podcast. Really good and funny Bachelor and Bachelorette recapping. 

 

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6 hours ago, Chez said:

I have no idea how he is able to train and compete in both grip and arm wrestling with a family.  

Luckily, the training for both sports is for the most part complimentary. I train at night when the kids are in bed. I sacrifice my sleep -- not ideal, but I've come to realize that I don't need quite as much as I thought I did.

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3 hours ago, Shoggoth said:

Eric you should check out the Rose Buddies podcast. Really good and funny Bachelor and Bachelorette recapping. 

 

Recaps are often hilarious. I tend not to watch the relationship "reality" shows. But I continue to like Survivor, and my favourite one of all: The Celebrity Apprentice. Dalton Ross, an Entertainment Weekly writer, does great recaps of both shows.

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Eric is definitely an amazing athlete, but you can tell within a short period that he is as humble and quiet as he is strong. I can atest to his strength in a unique way as i went to the table with him and quickly came off the ground doing a one arm hang off his ( i know wtf right). I dont know of many people that can keep an iron like arm with 150 pounds hanging off it. Thats a story ill be telling the grandkids.

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@Eric Roussin Would you tell us something about your experience with Escape Rooms?  

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For those who may not be aware of what an escape room is, it’s a game where you are locked in a room with a group of people and you need to look for clues and solve a series of puzzles in order to escape within a set time limit. The rooms usually have some sort of theme (e.g. “prison break”, “bank heist”, etc.).

I find these types of challenges fun, and it can be very satisfying to escape. But it’s not for everyone. If you’re not into logic puzzles, or if you don’t like to work under pressure, it may not be your cup of tea.

I’ve done about a dozen escape rooms and am happy to say I have a near perfect record – there’s only been one room where I didn’t escape. But we were close! :)

Most bigger cities probably have an escape room establishment. The first one popped up in Ottawa two years ago, and now there are a half-dozen places.

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6 hours ago, Eric Roussin said:

For those who may not be aware of what an escape room is, it’s a game where you are locked in a room with a group of people and you need to look for clues and solve a series of puzzles in order to escape within a set time limit. The rooms usually have some sort of theme (e.g. “prison break”, “bank heist”, etc.).

I find these types of challenges fun, and it can be very satisfying to escape. But it’s not for everyone. If you’re not into logic puzzles, or if you don’t like to work under pressure, it may not be your cup of tea.

I’ve done about a dozen escape rooms and am happy to say I have a near perfect record – there’s only been one room where I didn’t escape. But we were close! :)

Most bigger cities probably have an escape room establishment. The first one popped up in Ottawa two years ago, and now there are a half-dozen places.

Love the logic...working under pressure...less so.  Sounds very interesting. You said "we."  Do you go with friends or are put with strangers?

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Yea one of my customers has an escape room business a few blocks from my house here in Astoria - obviously a cover for his serial killer hobby (no ones ever heard of again) - I've meant to ask him if I'm a locksmith and pick the lock open and leave do I win? Or am just never invited back?

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4 hours ago, anwnate said:

Love the logic...working under pressure...less so.  Sounds very interesting. You said "we."  Do you go with friends or are put with strangers?

I've always gone with friends. Most rooms are designed to accommodate six escapees at a time. I'm sure it would different doing it with a group of strangers.

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Nice read Eric! 

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