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Vinnie's slow road to the COC 3 cert - goal: by age 50

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Like many on this forum, I would love to get the IM cert on the COC 3, and now that I have gotten familiar with the Gripboard and the MM ladder, I would also love to start climbing, most certainly toward the MM1 and maybe the 2 (not sure my genetics would allow for anything higher than MM2, but that and COC 3 do seem to be within reason for me if I work hard).

So my story.  I am 49 years old, 175 pounds, and was never very athletic, mostly because I had a childhood cancer and the radiation treatments to my torso during puberty stunted my growth a bit and left me with big arms and legs on a small frame.  Chez says yeah, you always say that, everyone has read it, stop limiting yourself, just do it.  But age and size are part of a set of parameters in our lives, and not everyone reads every post, so I include it because the reader may want that info.  If not, the reader can go ahead and ignore it.  I'm not looking for a debate on allometrics or whatever the word is, and I respect feats for what they are in and of themselves (like Chez and the 200 grippers, astounding at any weight) AND for who does them (like Juliet, at 140 pounds, bending horseshoes and ripping cards and bottlecaps!).  I love this sport and it's all good.

Anyway, I have fiddled with grippers since I discovered them a few years ago at an arm wrestling competition, and got so interested in them that I kinda forgot about arm wrestling (January 2016 I think is when I bought the "Men's Set" of a COC 1, 1.5, and 2).  Out of the box, I closed the 1 and the 1.5 and they seemed rather similar.  Then it took about a week to get the 2 closed (I later had the 2 rated, and it was 107, which is typical; the 1 and 1.5 are not rated but are so similar and much easier than the 2, so I think it is a hard 1 and an easy 1.5).  Encouraged by the quick progress, which is probably not so unusual at the very beginning, with gains coming both from challenging previously unchallenged muscles and figuring out better hand position, I then bought the 2.5 and 3.  How humbling!  I thought, "These are so much harder, I will never close either of these."  It took me about 6 more months to just barely close the 2.5, but I did not know how to train and I had no contact with this forum or anyone who knew what they were doing, and I got tendinitis (I think) and stopped.  I picked my grippers up again in January 2017 and tried to be more careful about how I felt, and got back to closing the 2.5 by the fall of 2017 without hurting myself again.  In November 2017, I joined the Gripboard (or rejoined, but had never actually used it before).  Here I met Anton, Jose, Anthony, and Chez, and began meeting them for real workouts.  They coached me a bit on safer training and introduced me to other grip implements and the comps.  I also learned about Cannon PW and got my grippers rated -- my 2.5 was a 132, and my 3 was a 153, which are both on the harder side of average, so it explained my slow gains after closing the average 2.  By March, I was able to get my MM0 with Anton's 145-rated No. 3 and also closed his 148.

But, whether it be psychology or sloth or the fact that I let grippers slide a little because of how much I have enjoyed learning about all the other grip sports implements, for another year I could not make any real gains or get any gripper rated 150 or more closed.  So a few weeks ago, I decided finally to heed the advice of a person who knows a little about grippers, whose name begins with C, who had been telling me for a while that I was gonna stay stalled unless and until I took his advice.

Well, let's give some credit where it is due:  I started listening.  Mostly about trying harder to set better, and being a little less deliberate and more explosive in trying for a max (reps are less different than before, although better warmup and pace and set for the first rep is helping with those as well).  So anyway, during just my second intense gripper workout with C, I MMS closed a COC 3 rated 153, the one C had actually certed on -- my first PR in a long time!  So, to keep my momentum going and record my progress toward what is starting to look like an attainable goal (at the very least, one that it is credible for me to chase), I will try to record here at least what I do during my more formal gripper workouts.

This past Saturday, best I can recall, I warmed up with 10 reps of very light weight military presses and 10-15 MMS reps with a COC .5 and a 1.5, and repeated the 10 presses (but not the lighter grippers) between sets with the heavier grippers to follow.

I ramped up the grippers (best of my recollection) by doing singles roughly as follows:

121 (spectrum narrow), 132 (COC 2.5), 138 (spectrum narrow), 147 (COC 3) (fail), 144 (COC 3), 144, 144, 147 (COC 3), 149 (COC 3), 153 (COC 3) (fail) 153 (success! PR!)

After that exciting PR, I moved to 4 sets of doubles with 138.  I followed that with 4 sets of triples with 132.  I followed that with 4 5-second negatives on a Baraban adjustable, set at 5 (about 140 pounds is the guideline on that I think).  I held the last negative for quite a bit past 5 seconds, maybe 15, so maybe next time I experiment with 150 on that.

My goal will be one workout per week like this.  I will try to post when I do it.  Wish me luck!


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Edited by Chez
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  • 1 month later...

I haven't posted in a while, ugh.

So, after my initial post here, my next workout with Chez was less successful (did not match my PR from the previous one), and then we had the King Kong comp, where I pulled something in my right arm on my 4th attempt at the last event.  So, I finished the comp 2nd of 8 at the Queens venue and 8th of 28 in my weight class world-wide, which made me very happy.

But unsurprisingly, the injury has set me back a little.  My best gripper close righty since the injury was 134 (PR pre-injury was 153).  I am stopping when I feel a twinge of pain, so I could do more than 134, but I fear that will exacerbate the injury.  Yesterday at Tim's informal grip comp, we did dynomometer and I got 212 by pushing to the edge of pain but not into pain; Chez got 289.  This was very encouraging, because Chez tends to close grippers rated about 30 per cent harder than I do.  289 is not much more than 30 per cent higher than 212, so I am probably getting close to my pre-injury gripper ability and it is only two weeks.  I was able to do most events at Tim's right handed, but did still feel I had to stop short of max on things to avoid exacerbating the injury.  I am hoping that I can be close to normal by Gripmas and pick up on the COC 3 and MM1 cert quest by the end of the year.

I imagine that this might be a good time to experiment with some weight training and to focus on left hand, and to settle on a new gym now that I live too far from my old one, if I don't just get lazy and wait.  And I've been meaning to do more pushups.

But the main report for today is that I got injured at King Kong, I am pretty pleased with the rate of recovery, and goals remain unchanged and just delayed a little bit.

That is all. 

Edited by Vinnie
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We over-40 warriors have to stick together!    The injuries happen more often, and the recovery takes longer.  My biggest problem is knowing when to back off and when to push through.  It seems like you have found a better balance than me.  Good luck on your journey to the 3 and up the MM ladder.

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