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Vincent Rivellese - Level 2


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The GripBoard Proudly Certifies:

Vincent Rivellese

*************

GripBoard Mash Monster Level 2

This certification is granted by The GripBoard as an independent third party with no ethical or commercial conflict of interest.

The Mash Monster Gripper is one of a limited number supplied and controlled by The GripBoard.

The gripper is closed with one hand under strict and uniformly ethical and authenticated conditions.

This momentous feat was demonstrated on video to assure it will be valid for posterity.

 

 

Official Mash Monster Video

 

Name: Vincent Rivellese
Age: 51
Height: 5' 6"
Weight: 185
Date of Feat: August 31, 2020

Witness: Anthony Clarino, Anton Torella, Heather Faust
How Long Grip Training: 3 years
Current Grip Training Program:  None

Other Training Info: I work out with friends or go to comps alternate Saturdays (when I don’t have my son), and I do grippers a couple of times a week at home or in my office.
Acknowledgements:  Anthony Clarino shot the video for me, Anton Torella provided the venue, and Chez Ricchezza offered expert advice.  Heather Faust gave me confidence and made me want to show off.  Also, the whole grip community is just great, full of encouragement and support and camaraderie.  Thanks to all!

 

Silver Bullet.jpg

 

Vincent Rivellese, the 63rd man in the world to close the Mash Monster Gripper - Level 2

 

Could you tell us a little about your background in lifting?

I don’t really have a background in lifting.  Until I was 50, I could not even bench press 200 pounds, but I made it a priority and got myself to a solid, single wide rep at 200 pounds free weights for the first time just before I turned 51. 

-How did you get into grip training?

About 4 years ago I bought a COC 1, 1.5, and 2, and closed all three right away (well, the 2 took maybe a week to figure out just how to hold it).  I looked online and saw that this was a relatively strong result for a newbie, and thought maybe there was something to work with here – I was never the slightest bit athletic and I had never thought of myself as unusually strong, but I felt like grip just fit me.  So I found the Grip Board (thanks, Google), and I posted my intro.  Someone reported that there were guys in NYC who worked out together on Saturdays, and before I could even track them down, Anton messaged inviting me to join them.  I did, the next weekend, and met Anton, Anthony, Chez, and Jose.  They welcomed me as if I had always been part of their group, and since then they have taught me pretty much everything I currently know about grip, which is still much less than them but much more than I used to. 

-You are now a GripBoard Mash Monster, what would you recommend to those aspiring to close this gripper?

I found that this particular gripper was much harder to set than the MM1, but a little easier to set than a typical gripper of about the same difficulty to close.  Thus, for someone who has done MM1 and wants to close this gripper, I think working hard with grippers around 160 RGC will be best.  My PR before going into MM2 was a COC rated 160, which I actually got for a double on my best day; my next harder gripper is 170 and I cannot do that one yet even very deeply set.

 -What does your current grip routine look like?

I don’t have a real routine, but I tend to work grip every other weekend either by working out with my friends or by going to a comp.  Those workouts tend to be focused on whatever implements are going to be contested in some upcoming comp.  On my own, in my office, I usually do grippers about twice a week, sometimes three times.  For those workouts, I usually do 20 or so microreps on a COC Trainer, 10 or 20 micro reps on a COC 1.5, 5 or 10 microreps on a COC 2, 4 or 5 microreps on a COC 2.5 rated 127 or 132, one or two doubles or triples on a Tetting rated 140, and one or two singles or doubles on a Grip Genie 5 rated 146, then a single on a COC 3 rated 153.  Based on whether I slam the 153 (I just get a good gauge of how strong I am for that day when I close this gripper), I will either try a max attempt on something or else just drop back to the Tetting rated 140 (my favorite gripper really) for some working sets.  In between sets I do push-ups and/or jumping jacks.  I recently have closed my goal gripper -- COC rated 160, which I got for a double, and I have a 3.5 rated 170 that I am nowhere near actually closing and was using just for silver bullet practice, but maybe I will try some attempts on that with deep cheating sets.  I’ll do IM expand-your-hand bands later that day and also just any old day, at my desk or in my car.  I try to make those just a habit, not part of a specific workout. In the last few weeks, I started doing some sledge hammer work, not necessarily same day as grippers, but just to work on the wrists.  This has coincided with improving my closes, so I’ll keep it up for now.  I am also advised, by the best, that I need to incorporate more overall strength training.  This advisor is pretty much always right, so I intend to follow the advice after resisting for a while lol.

-How has your grip routine changed since you first started training your grip?

Before I met the guys, I overtrained grippers – at least every other day – and never did extensor work.  I focused always on max attempts and hardly thought about working sets.  I had no idea how important a set was.  Now I focus more on mechanics, working sets, timing of workouts, and how I feel that day, rather than always chasing a max for that day.  Which I still have an urge to do – but I understand that I shouldn’t always do it.

 -There seems to be a significant variation in the frequency of grip workouts among trainees. Have you experimented with workout frequency and it’s affect on your training?

I trained more than every other day at the beginning and made significant early improvements but then plateaued, and also hurt myself.  I then came back a little more carefully working grippers maybe once a week, and learning all the other implements and the whole grip community thang, and got my MM0 – but I plateaued again.  More recently, I moved to training grippers two or sometimes three times a week, with more focus on working sets as the meat of the workout, and have gotten some gains again (these last two months are where I progressed from hit-or-miss flirting with grippers in the 155 RGC range to reliably closing 160, and getting the MM2).

 -What are your favorite grip exercises?

Grippers and all kinds of pinch implements.  I am not a big fan of thick bar and v-bar, although I am starting to like rolling handles more, and I still prefer those events to powerlifting and general weight training.  I am not really an overall athlete, more a grip hobbyist and fan. 

-What kind of starting routine would you recommend for a trainee new to grip training?

I am not experienced enough to give such advice, other than to say that a new grip enthusiast would be wise to introduce him or herself on the Grip Board or other forums, to meet more experienced enthusiasts and athletes, and to learn from all of them.

 -Who do you most admire in gripdom?

Although everyone admires the big strong dudes with the world records, and so do I, I am most impressed by those folks who do the most proportionally with their physical assets:  people like Juliet Lancaster Avila, who weighs 145 and can outgrip most men and holds several women’s world records; Tanner Merkle who is an average-sized man but still won King Kong as against everyone of every size; and Yves Gravelle, who may be the best grip athlete ever, pound for pound.  And similar kudos to guys like Chris Rice and Mike Rinderle, who approach world class even while in the Masters category.  Kudos also to Chez, who has battled back from injuries and surgeries to close grippers RGC 200 and counting, and who should be the next MM8, or one of them. 

-If you were to start over again with your grip training, what would you do differently?

I’d start at 20-something years old instead of at 48! 

-What do you believe is the most difficult grip exercise?

For me, the wrist wrench feels especially awkward and is harder for me than it seems like it should be.  I also find the lifts that involve the heaviest weights very difficult, like DOH axle and some of the two-handed thick bar pulls, because I am not as strong overall as I am with just grip.  For example, I can DOH axle only about the same weight that I can deadlift mixed grip with a standard barbell -- because my limiting factor is what my legs and core can budge off the ground.

 -What are some of your personal bests in grip exercises?

My best yet gripper close has been a COC3 rated 160 for a double, and also for a solid single without chalk.  My best silver bullet hold has been 12 seconds on a 3.5 (I have done this three times in competitions actually, on two different 3.5s); my best DOH axle is 305 pounds, Rolling Thunder 167 pounds, Flask 82 pounds, 2.5 inch Saxon Bar 205 pounds, Euro 194 pounds, Jug 173 pounds. 

 -What do you believe is the most common mistake made by new grip trainees?

I don’t know enough to opine on that, but in my case it was overeagerness, impatience, and overtraining. 

 -What do you consider to be the greatest grip feats of all time?

Maybe Yves Gravelle lifting the Inch, or Tanner Merkle Silver Bulleting a COC 4 for an hour (lol), or Juliet Avila hubbing two 45-pound plates at the same time, one in each hand.  I’m not a grip historian, so I don’t know what everyone has done before, but those three things happened while I was involved in grip (Juliet’s in my presence), and they simply astounded me.

 -Do you have any parting advice for readers?

Yes.  Find the online forums, the organizations, and the comps.  Meet the participants, at least online, and even better, in person.  This is a small, organic sport with good, interesting people sharing a common interest that is a healthy pastime if not passion, mentally and physically.  I am grateful that I found this sport, where I have made some good friends, made myself happier and healthier, and closed the MM2!

 

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