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Best Lifter vs Overall? Discuss.


Squeezus

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Squeezus

Hey y'all, rather than hijack the SJ4 results thread with a topic that seems to have the potential to turn into a Joe Kinney Euro Axle thing, I thought we could make a dedicated thread for discussing the finer points of determining the best lifter at a grip competition. Let's keep it civil.

Aaaand go!

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Hand size has been discussed "to death" in the past - every few years it comes back - a shit storm ensues and we move on again.  We had hand size classes for several years - many different ideas were

It seems like there's been a real interest in finding the overall winner, which is cool.  However, I don't think taking any formulas from other sports is the way to do it.  Here's why I feel that way.

As someone who doesn't compete in grip sports events, but has taken an interest from a distance, my thoughts are aligned with @climber511 to an extent. I think that having weight classes and then an o

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I like keeping things simple. Weight Class results and overall results with absolute scoring. I understand the attempt to use formulas. I just don't think they work well for grip. They work better for regular weight lifting.  

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Squeezus
Just now, Chez said:

I like keeping things simple. Weight Class results and overall results with absolute scoring. I understand the attempt to use formulas. I just don't think they work well for grip. They work better for regular weight lifting.  

I don't want to suck up all of your time, but I am genuinely curious about your reasoning in detail.

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Kluv#0

David Horne, who is obviously on MT. Rushmore of grip and grip sport, advocates neutralizing hand size advantage. Euro- is a great invention, Adjustable Thickbar(everybody should own these)- great concept, etc. It is cool to see someone of David  stature and Jedd Johnson(another Mt. Rushmore figure)- who has very large hands advocate neutralizing hand size. Best lifter award(s)- results would be totally different if the hand size classification was 7.75" over/under- why not try it once in a blue moon?  Case in point that gentleman that lifted the 2.5 crusher 211lbs has a smaller gap around that handle than I do when I use the 2" crusher- Can I lift more on the 2" crusher than him on 2.5"? yes. In my book he lifts more but Iam stronger on that rolling handle. Conversely, Iam not oblivious when I see Thomas Larsen, Marco Buhl go mid/upper 90's on 2 hands shallow hub key pinch- which is just as impressive as my lifts on it. Gil Goodman breezing up 76lbs on IM hub with no rest on a demo is crazy. Jedd Johnson holding the stub 46lbs for over 5 seconds is very impressive. Everything Adam Glass has done with griptopz lifts is incredible,etc. Top 20 at King Kong I bet all hand size averaged 8" or above- It is what it is- nothing you can do about it. Great sport, many implements, nice men and women who enjoy it, to choose from but best lifter award should once in awhile -taking into account events contested- be based on total weight lifted and hand size NOT bodyweight. Obviously, if you have axle than bodyweight has to be considered or flip it and if you have stublift, hub, etc you cant have a hand size designation winner because that generally favors smaller hands. I like the bodyweight classes 95% of the time but it would be nice to select "best lifter" taking into account hand size.

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KapMan

This definatly is going to turn into a shit show. 

I just assume keep the scoring simple. If you are going to get that butthurt over it. Then get stronger and leave no doubt that you rule the roost. 

Im really tired of hearing about hand size. Get. F'in. Stronger then. Life isnt about being fair. Theres always going to be someone stronger, smarter and better looking. Just stop. 

 We all lift on the same stuff jesus christ. How any fairer can you get? 

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3 minutes ago, Squeezus said:

I don't want to suck up all of your time, but I am genuinely curious about your reasoning in detail.

I want to give a detailed response but I'm at work. I'll chime in around lunch time. 

 

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climber511

Hand size has been discussed "to death" in the past - every few years it comes back - a shit storm ensues and we move on again.  We had hand size classes for several years - many different ideas were floated - remember "fair bar"?  Even hand size is more complex than it seems on the surface - palm versus finger length for example gives advantage to different aspects of grip sport.  Body weight may not be perfect either but it's only one variable at least.  Every sport has body types that give an advantage to those people.  In the more popular or well attended sports it sorts itself - very tall people play basketball or volleyball - short people become gymnasts - divers and on and on.  The problem is when we want to excel in a sport where we do not enjoy a natural advantage for that activity - such as grip in this case.  The IGC and NAGS groups have to look at it to "what is fairest to everyone - not just one subgroup" and it's an impossible thing to do - life isn't fair - and never will be all around.  It's easy to think you got beat cause "he's bigger than I am - or his hands are bigger - or whatever the case may be.  But in the end he beat you because he lifted more weight than you did - bigger body - bigger hands - longer thumbs or whatever the case may be.  Or course outliers exist and fudge up things but there will always be outliers - and what can one do about them.  Formula stuff can be fun and I'd personally like to see an age factor one :) LOL- but if we give everyone their own category we might as well hand out participation awards.

Written by an almost 70 year old guy with small hands, a bad back, and only medium body weight who gets beat because other people simply are stronger than I am.

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Kluv#0
8 minutes ago, climber511 said:

Hand size has been discussed "to death" in the past - every few years it comes back - a shit storm ensues and we move on again.  We had hand size classes for several years - many different ideas were floated - remember "fair bar"?  Even hand size is more complex than it seems on the surface - palm versus finger length for example gives advantage to different aspects of grip sport.  Body weight may not be perfect either but it's only one variable at least.  Every sport has body types that give an advantage to those people.  In the more popular or well attended sports it sorts itself - very tall people play basketball or volleyball - short people become gymnasts - divers and on and on.  The problem is when we want to excel in a sport where we do not enjoy a natural advantage for that activity - such as grip in this case.  The IGC and NAGS groups have to look at it to "what is fairest to everyone - not just one subgroup" and it's an impossible thing to do - life isn't fair - and never will be all around.  It's easy to think you got beat cause "he's bigger than I am - or his hands are bigger - or whatever the case may be.  But in the end he beat you because he lifted more weight than you did - bigger body - bigger hands - longer thumbs or whatever the case may be.  Or course outliers exist and fudge up things but there will always be outliers - and what can one do about them.  Formula stuff can be fun and I'd personally like to see an age factor one :) LOL- but if we give everyone their own category we might as well hand out participation awards.

Written by an almost 70 year old guy with small hands, a bad back, and only medium body weight who gets beat because other people simply are stronger than I am.

Iam a fan of weight classes 95% time as I stated.

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climber511

Now to try and answer the question :).  Some sort of formula is always going to be involved in determining a "best lifter" award.  In PL and OL they uses a formulas based on weight class world records.  They enjoy having a long competition history to draw results from.  What you won't find factors in is height.  A tall skinny guy in the same weight class as a short stocky one is at a disadvantage generally speaking.  Only so much can be done.  I imagine someone with a much greater math skill set than myself can probably use existing results to make a formula but our results are pretty limited and have not been broken down fine enough to make adjustments based on hand size and offer only a limited number of  results broken down by body weight. 

The answer - there really isn't a perfect way to do it at this point in time - and may never be.

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MCrushetta
Just now, climber511 said:

Now to try and answer the question :).  Some sort of formula is always going to be involved in determining a "best lifter" award.  In PL and OL they uses a formulas based on weight class world records.  They enjoy having a long competition history to draw results from.  What you won't find factors in is height.  A tall skinny guy in the same weight class as a short stocky one is at a disadvantage generally speaking.  Only so much can be done.  I imagine someone with a much greater math skill set than myself can probably use existing results to make a formula but our results are pretty limited and have not been broken down fine enough to make adjustments based on hand size and offer only a limited number of  results broken down by body weight. 

The answer - there really isn't a perfect way to do it at this point in time - and may never be.

Shorter may not be a disadvantage. I believe Mike Rogowski and Dan Fleming weigh close to the same - opposite builds - pretty well matched. 

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climber511
Just now, MCrushetta said:

Shorter may not be a disadvantage. I believe Mike Rogowski and Dan Fleming weigh close to the same - opposite builds - pretty well matched. 

Maria - I was talking about PL and OL as regard formulas with that comment - sorry if my post really didn't make that clear

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MCrushetta

To the original point - best lifter / overall awards - some thoughts:

* Weight classes are good. Personally I think there are too many in grip. Why not have a light / medium / heavy sort of like Strongman?

* If you simply measure TOTAL weight lifted - chances are the big guys will always win 'overall'. Or it will be skewed that way. 

* If the above is the case - why not award weight class awards and then calculate for best lifter based on body weight and have that exist separately from weight classes, as was done at SJ4 etc? If I weight 400 lbs and lift 300 lbs on a crusher ... that is less impressive than if you weigh 200lbs and lift 275lbs on a crusher, even though the total weight is less. 

* Dan John, the strength man himself, has a list of 'strength standards': http://danjohn.net/2013/04/strength-standards-sleepless-in-seattle/ that we use for our gym in some ways. Note that most are based on body weight. Also note that carry (grip and core if you will) standard is based on body weight. Also of note - the womens weight standards are slightly different than the mens to account for less muscle mass overall. Not to add to the allometric complication but it would be worth considering some of these numbers when looking at womens scores. 

* As Chris Rice mentioned - age too might be considered in regards to a Masters Class. If you look at the Strong First standards for certification - once you are over 58 years old, the bell size you use goes down. 

 

 

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Jedd Johnson

It seems like there's been a real interest in finding the overall winner, which is cool.  However, I don't think taking any formulas from other sports is the way to do it.  Here's why I feel that way...

In Powerlifting, Grip strength isn't challenged like it is in Grip Sport.  In fact, there's only one event where it's even a real factor, and that's the deadlift.  And on the deadlift, you can use the alternated grip, so much of that is taken out as well. 

In Olympic weightlifting, Grip Strength is not a substantial factor at all, due to the use of the hook grip, so any comparison formula from that sport shouldn't be used either, in my opinion.  Allometric and Wilkes might make sense for Powerlifting & Oly, but they don't make sense for Grip Sport, because you're not comparing apples to apples.

The first time I can think of where an Overall winner was crowned in addition to the weight class divisions was Nationals, 2013, when it was stated that the overall winner would get an automatic invite to Mighty Mitts.  Considering most Mighty Mitts competitors were 280lbs or more, it only made sense to just use Absolute Numbers.  A bodyweight formula winner going up against guys like Tex, Chad, and Rich would get smeared in the Mighty Mitts events, because they all involved large implements and very heavy weights.

At SJ4, the events seemed be chosen in a way to make things fair for the lighter guys, which I applaud.  However, it doesn't seem like hand size was taken into consideration though, with the 30-mm set, and the 2.5" crusher favoring larger handed individuals, so a lot of the efforts to even the playing field were negated with those two events, especially the Crusher.

In the end, the guys like Gil, Tanner and Kody will pretty much ALWAYS come out on top when a bodyweight formula is used for the results, because they all have 8+ inch hands, and they are in the 93 kg class or lighter.  Hands that size will be able to handle just about any Grip Sport lifting events.  The only events that I can even think of where Hand Size doesn't play a huge role is things like Pickaxe and Sledge Choke.

In summary, based on my observations, I feel if a formula is to be used to decide a winner, it can't be something borrowed from elsewhere.  It should be produced by Grip Sport athletes and promoters, using pertinent factors, and tested using example comp results in the past.  That way it's actually based on apples to apples comparisons.

Luke and I discussed ideas for a formula in the hotel room the morning after the comp, for about 10 minutes.  I'd like to share what we came up with, but before doing so, I'd like to actually get with him first, so we can refine it more and then present it later as a starting point.

 

 

 

 

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MCrushetta
1 hour ago, Jedd Johnson said:

It seems like there's been a real interest in finding the overall winner, which is cool.  However, I don't think taking any formulas from other sports is the way to do it.  Here's why I feel that way...

In Powerlifting, Grip strength isn't challenged like it is in Grip Sport.  In fact, there's only one event where it's even a real factor, and that's the deadlift.  And on the deadlift, you can use the alternated grip, so much of that is taken out as well. 

In Olympic weightlifting, Grip Strength is not a substantial factor at all, due to the use of the hook grip, so any comparison formula from that sport shouldn't be used either, in my opinion.  Allometric and Wilkes might make sense for Powerlifting & Oly, but they don't make sense for Grip Sport, because you're not comparing apples to apples.

The first time I can think of where an Overall winner was crowned in addition to the weight class divisions was Nationals, 2013, when it was stated that the overall winner would get an automatic invite to Mighty Mitts.  Considering most Mighty Mitts competitors were 280lbs or more, it only made sense to just use Absolute Numbers.  A bodyweight formula winner going up against guys like Tex, Chad, and Rich would get smeared in the Mighty Mitts events, because they all involved large implements and very heavy weights.

At SJ4, the events seemed be chosen in a way to make things fair for the lighter guys, which I applaud.  However, it doesn't seem like hand size was taken into consideration though, with the 30-mm set, and the 2.5" crusher favoring larger handed individuals, so a lot of the efforts to even the playing field were negated with those two events, especially the Crusher.

In the end, the guys like Gil, Tanner and Kody will pretty much ALWAYS come out on top when a bodyweight formula is used for the results, because they all have 8+ inch hands, and they are in the 93 kg class or lighter.  Hands that size will be able to handle just about any Grip Sport lifting events.  The only events that I can even think of where Hand Size doesn't play a huge role is things like Pickaxe and Sledge Choke.

In summary, based on my observations, I feel if a formula is to be used to decide a winner, it can't be something borrowed from elsewhere.  It should be produced by Grip Sport athletes and promoters, using pertinent factors, and tested using example comp results in the past.  That way it's actually based on apples to apples comparisons.

Luke and I discussed ideas for a formula in the hotel room the morning after the comp, for about 10 minutes.  I'd like to share what we came up with, but before doing so, I'd like to actually get with him first, so we can refine it more and then present it later as a starting point.

 

 

 

 

I don't think worrying about hand size is going to get us anywhere. Matt Cannon closes things in the 150 range on grippers, right? From training for it? Smaller hands can get stronger. 

We could theoretically look at a squatter in powerlifting and measure their femurs and say oh!, shorter femur means better squat ... and it might ... but we use body weight.

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Jedd Johnson said:

In the end, the guys like Gil, Tanner and Kody will pretty much ALWAYS come out on top when a bodyweight formula is used for the results, because they all have 8+ inch hands, and they are in the 93 kg class or lighter.

I have to agree with this. I think these formulas are skewing the results the other way now. I would be curious what a 300lb+ guy would have to lift to beat these 3 men. I don't know the formula but I'm guessing the guy would have to break records in order to have a chance. For example, Kody holds the record on the 2hp at like 274 and he was sub 200 at SJ4. I'm curious what a 300 lb man would need to pull in order to beat him under one of these formulas.  

Edited by Chez
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KapMan
38 minutes ago, Chez said:

I have to agree with this. I think these formulas are skewing the results the other way now. I would be curious what a 300lb+ guy would have to lift to beat these 3 men. I don't know the formula but I'm guessing the guy would have to break records in order to have a chance. For example, Kody holds the record on the 2hp at like 274 and he was sub 200 at SJ4. I'm curious what a 300 lb man would need to pull in order to beat him under one of these formulas.  

If we were using wilks, is need to lift 51 pounds more than kody to edge him by 2 points.

 

i can only imagine how much i would need to lift to win under these formulas. 

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4 minutes ago, KapMan said:

If we were using wilks, is need to lift 51 pounds more than kody to edge him by 2 points.

 

i can only imagine how much i would need to lift to win under these formulas. 

exactly. I don't know the other formula used at SJ4 but I'm curious what you need under that. 

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climber511

Big "if" - but if we had the number of competitors then weight classes would perhaps be the way to go - not so much for an overall but for fairness (as much as is possible maybe).  But when each class is so small - awarding prizes sometimes can come down to just showing up - which I don't think anyone wants.  Even in PL and OL meets - there is always controversy about the "Best Lifter" award - someone is always questioning the "how" used to decide it and saying it isn't fair.  Sometimes there just isn't a really good answer to some of these things.  Big men and women will always have the "potential" to be stronger (if muscular weight is considered) - and perhaps big hands offer the "potential" to be stronger - but trying to somehow figure out all the possible variables - not sure that's really possible. 

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richcottrell

As a new guy to Grip, my understanding is Hand size plays different roles in different lifts... 

for example let's look at "support" Grip like the crusher or Axle .

wouldn't this distance count the most?

 

IMG_2553.JPG

Edited by richcottrell
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Allen Heineck
26 minutes ago, richcottrell said:

As a new guy to Grip, my understanding is Hand size plays different roles in different lifts... 

for example let's look at "support" Grip like the crusher or Axle .

wouldn't this distance count the most?

 

IMG_2553.JPG

I walked right into this; Scoped!  Guess you get to punch me in the arm next time you see me.

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Eric Roussin

Absolute figures = overall champion = strongest person in the room. 

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1 minute ago, Eric Roussin said:

Absolute figures = overall champion = strongest person in the room. 

Crazy thing about this is that Eric is always super lean. I love that you think this way. 

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Squeezus
3 minutes ago, Eric Roussin said:

Absolute figures = overall champion = strongest person in the room. 

Again, I would like to see folks elaborate on their reasoning. I specifically didn't put a poll at the top of the thread because an idea popularity contest isn't useful to anyone.
Why should the best lifter the strongest person? Do you think that Bill Jones with a bodyweight of 285lbs and an 825lb total is really a better lifter than John Brown with a bodyweight of 185lbs and a 810lb total? If so, why?

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Eric Roussin

I think "overall champion" the way that I've described is the title that interests me the most. The person who lifted more than the others.

A "best lifter" title, if it is adjusted to factor in hand size, bodyweight, etc., just doesn't interest me very much. One reason is probably because whichever adjustment is used would be open to debate.

I think it's fine to include a "best lifter" award at bigger comps -- I'm just more indifferent towards it.

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pburke23
16 minutes ago, Eric Roussin said:

Absolute figures = overall champion = strongest person in the room. 

I think with all the ideas presented, (hand size, body-weight, etc.) there are too many variables to take into account, and trying to create an algorithm that takes all these variables into account just isn't a good idea. Of course Bill Jones with a bodyweight of 285lbs and a 825lb total is comparatively less impressive than John Brown at 185lbs with a 810lb total, however, Bill Jones still lifted more, and deserves to be the overall winner. 

Having Jones lift 825, but handicapping his effort because his hand size is .06cm larger would be pretty silly if a loss came down to something minor such as this. Having an overall winner, and a "top pound for pound lifter" sort of award might help. 

Someone should check back from all the recent contests and find out how often the highest bodyweights have won the overall anyhow. 

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