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2020 January - The Pinch Grip Games - Eric Roussin


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Eric Roussin

After King Kong, which was the 10th grip sport contest or armwrestling tournament in which I competed in 2019, I was looking forward to four uninterrupted months of training in the lead up to the Arnold Classic Armlifting Championships. I had no grip contests or armwrestling tournaments on my agenda, but by mid-November I was already becoming restless. It seems four months was too long for me to wait before competing, so I came up with the idea of holding a pinch-only grip contest which I dubbed The Pinch Grip Games.

Before announcing the contest, I checked with Justin Major, Yves Gravelle, and Dan Fleming to see if they were interested and available to compete in the contest in January. All said yes, so I already knew it would be exciting given our pinch strengths are comparable. But when I heard Jedd and Luke were also interested in attending, I knew I had the makings of an extremely competitive contest. Add in a few of my other regular local competitors, as well as a couple of newbies, and we had ourselves a fun event.

Preparations went very smoothly, but the weather created some challenges. Dan got to the bus station in Montreal only to be told that bus trips to Ottawa were cancelled for the day (a snow storm was coming). So, unfortunately, he couldn’t make it. The Pennsylvania boys had a smooth drive up to Ottawa, but by the time the contest was over, the roads were very bad. Luckily, they were able to crash at Devon Larratt’s house for the night (more on Devon later).

Saturday morning, I was surprised to see pictures on Facebook of Storm Chellino making the drive up with Jedd and Luke. In addition to being a great armwrestler, Storm is known for his tremendous hand and wrist strength. I figured the contest was about to become even more stacked. Alas, the purpose of his trip was solely to armwrestle, so we didn’t get to see what he could do in a pinch-only meet.

The first event was the FBBC 2” x 5” saxon bar. This is the same model of bar that was used at Living Legends. I expected numbers to be down from Legends, simply because my implements aren’t seasoned. The humidity in my basement gym is quite low, so most of the equipment remains in like-new condition. Luckily, Luke worked his magic and was able to chalk all of the implements in such a way that they became quite “grippy”.

The contest was run using a last man standing format. The weight went up in pre-set increments, and competitors had the option to jump in whenever they wanted. However, once they missed a weight, they were out and received credit for the top weight they lifted. For the saxon bar, the weight went up 10 lbs at a time. Once the bar got loaded to over 200 lbs, only five competitors remained: me, Jedd, Luke, Justin, and Yves. Justin was out first, with a max lift of 215 lbs. The 2” width seemed less than ideal for him and the bar was giving him some pain. Luke made it up to 255, while Yves – who weighed in at 146 lbs – successfully lifted 265 lbs!!! Jedd and I managed lifts of 275. Jedd almost got 285. In fact, I signalled the lift was good. But he felt he didn’t quite get it and didn’t want credit for it. An honest guy!

At this point, Yves already had to leave for the day due to some family commitments. It was really too bad, because I think everyone wanted to see how he would do in the rest of the contest. (This explains the Did Not Finish (DNF) beside his name in the results.)

Next up was the Stronger Grip Blob Trainer. It has the approximate shape and dimensions of a fatman, but without any real edges (very rounded). Luke, Jedd, Justin, and I managed to lift 47+ lbs with it. We had been using 1 kg increments for this event, but collectively, we decided to jump 2 kg to 51+ lbs. Bad idea, because only Jedd was successful at this higher weight.

The third event was IronMind’s Blockbuster Pinch Block. We were not following IronMind’s new rules for this event, which requires that the block be wiped down between each attempt. So none of the lifts would have qualified for IronMind records (everyone was fine with this). This event made the standings a bit more interesting, because Justin managed to get the top result with a lift of 95.75 lbs. The 3” width seems to be much better for his large hands. Luke was second best with 91.3 lbs and Jedd and I topped out at 86.9 (we were using 2 kg weight increments).

Next up was the DubeCube Coin lift. I generally do well in the small key pinch lifts, so I was expecting a good result. I managed a lift of 33.3 lbs, but failed when 1 kg was added. Not quite a PR for me, but I was satisfied. Jedd got up to the same spot. Luke and Mike Drieman tied for third, with lifts of 28.9 lbs.

The fifth event was the World of Grip Gold Bar. This has historically been one of my weaker pinch events, and Saturday was no different. I still managed a lift of 69 lbs, but Jedd, Luke, and Justin all lifted more. Jedd had the top lift of 79 lbs.

The contest was capped off with a 25-item pinch medley. Before things got going, I informed everyone that I considered this to be a tougher medley than usual: it had to be in order to challenge the experienced guys who would be attending and fighting for the title of “The King of Pinch”. I also pointed out the two feats that I thought would be the biggest challenges: pinching two 45’s that don’t hold chalk well and that have relatively sharp edges, and a  4.5” wide, 172-lb anvil that needed to be lifted by the face. 60% of the competitors managed 10 feats or less. Justin completed 19 feats, Jedd and Luke managed 22, while I had the best result with 23. I was correct in my assumption that the anvil and plates would be toughest: no one was successful with the anvil, and I don’t even think the plates were attempted. (At this point in the day, most of us were starting to do damage to our hands and no one wanted to risk ripping up their skin any further.) The difference proved to be the 30-lb lift with the DubeCube Bearing – I was the only one to get this.

When it was all over, Jedd had done enough to secure the prestigious title of “The King of Pinch” and he was awarded with a special trophy featuring a king on top. I was second in the overall standings, Luke was third, and Justin was fourth.

When the contest was winding down, several armwrestlers started arriving, including Devon Larratt, Storm, and Brenden Lemmon Mulvihill (among many others). Interested gripsters stayed around to do some pulling and attempt some grip feats. Jedd ended up getting his revenge on the 172-anvil, lifting it successfully, and convincingly, at least twice. Storm, Luke, Justin, and I attempted to do the same, but we couldn’t. It was further proof that Jedd was “The King of Pinch”!

I hope to see many of you at the Arnolds and/or at the NAGS Championship in June!

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Very nice Write up, Eric. Sounded like a pinching good time. Lots of good numbers and I wish I was able to come.

I just remembered there was a key pinch challenge of a 100 pound plate for 100 bucks to the first one to do it sent by Mike Thomas. Did anyone ever collect on that? Surely someone must have.... it’s always nice to have a cash incentive in this sport. That was very generous of him.

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Eric Roussin
1 minute ago, Joseph Sullivan said:

Very nice Write up, Eric. Sounded like a pinching good time. Lots of good numbers and I wish I was able to come.

I just remembered there was a key pinch challenge of a 100 pound plate for 100 bucks to the first one to do it sent by Mike Thomas. Did anyone ever collect on that? Surely someone must have.... it’s always nice to have a cash incentive in this sport. That was very generous of him.

Thanks for asking about Michael Thomas’ key pinch challenge! Luke, Jedd, and I all tried it after the contest, but none of us were able to lift the plate using the hub. Maybe we would have have some success had we tried it when we were fresh, but I’m not so sure...

It was indeed a generous offer! Thanks, Michael!

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Jedd Johnson
2 hours ago, Eric Roussin said:

Thanks for asking about Michael Thomas’ key pinch challenge! Luke, Jedd, and I all tried it after the contest, but none of us were able to lift the plate using the hub. Maybe we would have have some success had we tried it when we were fresh, but I’m not so sure...

It was indeed a generous offer! Thanks, Michael!

Great write-up, Eric. Thanks for running an excellent contest.

The Key pinch was weird. When I reached down, I felt pain in my tailbone. My hips are just too tight for that.

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36 minutes ago, Jedd Johnson said:

Great write-up, Eric. Thanks for running an excellent contest.

The Key pinch was weird. When I reached down, I felt pain in my tailbone. My hips are just too tight for that.

At least your hips were fine and thumbs not to tired to pull off amazing 172 lbs anvil lift. Just goes to show that keypinching ain't easy even with 100 bucks up for grabs:)

 

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38 minutes ago, Kluv#0 said:

At least your hips were fine and thumbs not to tired to pull off amazing 172 lbs anvil lift. Just goes to show that keypinching ain't easy even with 100 bucks up for grabs:)

 

No 🕳 manhole  cover is safe when you are around. Ever think of applying to your towns DPW? 🤣🤣🤣

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Squeezus

Cool event, great writeup (as always), and congrats on winning the medley, especially considering who all you were up against.

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