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Under the Spotlight - Grip Profile - Don Cummings


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anwnate

 

When the itch to resume writing profiles returned, one name kept coming to the top of the list.  Don Cummings.  

In 4-5 short years, Don had accomplished more than most competitors achieve in a lifetime. 

When it comes to bending…he has no weaknesses.  

Whether Braced, Unbraced, or Snapping Steel, he has performed multiple elite bends in each discipline…several being World Records. 

 

While there is a more comprehensive list of feats at the bottom of this profile, I'd like to mention a few to start things off.  I'll stick to a few that might be more recognizable to non-benders. 

·       Unbraced - 102 Red Nails in 2 hours and 18 minutes. (WR Volume and Time)

·       Braced - 60 Gold Nails in 1 hour and 22 minutes.

·       Snapping - snapped a Red Nail in under 3 minutes.

 

Over time, Don's love and interest in preserving bending prompted him to compile the Steel Bending Contest History Book.  He is responsible for starting and hosting the annual Michigan Steel Bending & Breaking Championship.   He now even performs strongman shows for kids at schools, etc.  The wonder and disbelief on their faces is something to behold.

 

Interestingly enough, his success hasn't gone to his head.  He's extremely approachable, offering advice and sharing his own experiences from his journey.  It may not flow off the tongue, but if I had to give him a nickname, it would be "Relentless."  He goes from one ridiculous feat to the next…never sitting on his laurels.  But you are hearing all this from a fan.  I thought it might be better to consult a more respected opinion.  I reached out to someone with a much more impressive resume than my own.  I asked him to weigh in on Don and he thankfully obliged.

 

“I am truly amazed at Don’s accomplishments and how fast his steel bending abilities have increased. This is no doubt a result of having considerable foundational strength and a great work ethic. Don also fits the description of what I think a real strongman should be: A man of both strength and character. I give him an A+ in both categories.”  - Dennis Rogers (Grandmaster Strongman)

 

That said…let's hear from the man himself.

 

Don_profile_pic_2_near_final.thumb.jpg.fc25f20a6e87a81b0747ed16f438bfbe.jpg

 

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) 

·       Don Cummings

·       @Donc101

·       42 years old

·       6’1

·       240lbs

·       Right handed, 8” hands

·       Birmingham, MI (Detroit area)

·       Married for 16 years to Kelly Cummings with 3 kids, all girls (ages 8, 5 and 3). Maybe we will have 3 steel bending young ladies soon! 

·       Lawyer

    

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

I bought a copy of John Brookfield’s first grip book in high school to help with wrestling and football.  I would occasionally do some grip work, but nothing too seriously.  In 2007, I started rock and ice climbing.  This became a big obsession for me for a number of years.  I was able to travel to some really cool places to climb, including rock climbing in Thailand and Brazil.  Ice climbing was my favorite.  My size limited me more in rock climbing than ice climbing.  I was able to ice climb at a fairly strong level.  I went to Nepal in the winter of 2011/ 2012 to climb some big, vertical ice climbs.  This was the highlight of my climbing career.  I did specific grip training to help with climbing while it was my passion.

After my kids were born, I stopped climbing because it required too much travel.  I found grip sport at the beginning of 2016.  My first contest was Living Legends.  It was an awesome experience to meet so many strong people when you are just starting out.  I discovered bending very shortly after starting grip in 2016.  The bending bug bit me hard.  I tried to do both grip training for competitions and bending.  However, as I got stronger in bending, my body was not able to recover from training hard for both.  Thus, since 2017, I have not done much of any grip work outside of bending.  

 

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

I am not sure that I have an ultimate bending goal to do before I die.  I am constantly coming up with new big goals and striving to accomplish them.  I think my ultimate goal is to be able to say I maxed out my potential and bent the hardest steel I personally could bend.  I really like the challenge of pushing my mind and body as hard as I can.

I would also like to be in this game for a long time and still be bending when I am 80 years old.

 

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

After a lot of experimentation, I have found it works best for me to bend 2 times a week and have a general strength training day 1 time a week.  I tried to do more, but my 42-year-old body only recovers from so much.  I strength train on Monday.  I think it is important to keep your overall body strength high to maximize your bending.  I have been doing a lot of isometrics lately, along with some lifting.  I have found Steve Justa style isometrics to be very effective and useful for my bending.  They build a lot of strength and help strengthen the nerves and mind-body connection you need for bending.  Lifting is mainly overall body strength and strongman lifts.

On Wednesday and Saturday, I bend steel.  These are normally about 2-hour workouts with lots of bends.  I start with Indian clubs and a general warm-up.  Then, it depends on my current goals. If I don’t have 1 specific goal that is taking up all my training, I like to do most of the types of bending in each session.  I normally do unbraced first if I am not going for a big braced goal.  I will do DO, DU and reverse. Then, on to some braced bends and finish with a snap or 2.  Snapping is great for the conditioning.  Steel bender’s cardio.   

 

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

Cooking, especially Cajun, Creole and southern food.  I used to live in Louisiana and South Carolina and developed a love for this food and culture while living there.  My family loves to cook big meals and blare New Orleans music or country music while we are cooking and dancing around the kitchen with a refreshing beverage.  I also like hiking, travelling and smoking cigars.

 

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

The biggest thing to me is to not place many limits on yourself.  Just because it has not been done before or not many people have done it does not mean that you can’t do it.  Set big goals, make a game plan to achieve them and train consistently.  Consistency is key. Huge strength is built with the accumulation of bend after bend, lift after lift over the years.

Also, make sure your training is fun.  Go to competitions.  There are so many great people in this community.  Some of my best times have been getting to know the other benders and grip people at comps and after comps.  It would be great to see lots of you all at my bending comp next year. Probably May again.  The first 2 years we have had a blast and destroyed lots of steel!

Good luck with your training!

 

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

Carl Donati

 

Thanks Don.  Carl has agreed to be profiled and should be posted early December.

Here is a more detailed list of Don's Elite Bends.  Most of them can be found on video here!

Braced

·       60 Gold Nails in 1 hour and 22 minutes

·       2 x 6” Red Nails taped together

·       3 x 166.3 kg Grade 5 Bolts taped together

·       5 x 6” Nails taped together

·       6” DHWOG Gold Nail replica and 6” DHWOG 6mm steel taped together

·       4.5” DHWOG Gold Nail replica

·       5.5” Gold Nail

·       12mm x 8” HRS Bar

·       40” Headless Goliath Bar

·       16mm x 18.5” HRS Bar

·       17 pairs of 2 x 6” nails taped together in 2 minutes for a DHWOG world record

Unbraced

·       FBBC Bastard In Everyway

·       FBBC Reverse Bastard

·       FBBC DU 5.5” Bastard

·       FBBC DU 6.5” Golden Bastard

·       FBBC DO Bastard in 1/3 of a IMP

·       Double Overhand 102 Red Nails in 2 hours and 18 minutes

·       Double Overhand a 50lb box of 60d nails (576 nails) in 2 hours and 29 minutes. Most nails ever bent at 1 time.

·       Double Overhand 66 x 6” Bastards: Devil’s Challenge

Snapping

·       ¾ x 48” HRS Bar

·       Red Nail in under 3 minutes

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Edited by anwnate
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Donc101

Thanks so much Nate @anwnate for all those very kind words! That is awesome that you reached out to Dennis. It means a lot to me what he said. I am excited the grip profiles are back and excited to hear from Carl.

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What an amazing list of accomplishments Don, truly incredible.  And j second what both Nate and Dennis Rogers said!  

Can't wait to see where you take things next.  

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Donc101
1 hour ago, KRC said:

What an amazing list of accomplishments Don, truly incredible.  And j second what both Nate and Dennis Rogers said!  

Can't wait to see where you take things next.  

Thanks so much Kevin! Lots of fun to be had bending.

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Buccos1

Great write-up and a truly amazing list of bends/feats!

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Donc101
4 minutes ago, Buccos1 said:

Great write-up and a truly amazing list of bends/feats!

Thanks Carl! I am excited to read yours.

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  • 2 weeks later...
robertmiller67

Amazing body of work Don.. your all around bending strength is unparalleled Imo sir!  
 

I’d love to get up there to see you one year for the MI bending comp brother!  💪🏻
 

Keep inspiring my friend & God bless you and family!  🙏💯

 

Awesome write up by @anwnate Btw... love to see you back at it my friend! 😎👊🏻

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Donc101
4 hours ago, robertmiller67 said:

Amazing body of work Don.. your all around bending strength is unparalleled Imo sir!  
 

I’d love to get up there to see you one year for the MI bending comp brother!  💪🏻
 

Keep inspiring my friend & God bless you and family!  🙏💯

 

Awesome write up by @anwnate Btw... love to see you back at it my friend! 😎👊🏻

Thank you very much Robert! It would be great to have you up here for the comp. We have a blast. Bending steel is so much damn fun. Have a good rest of your weekend.

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