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Strongman Andre Brandeli, known also as Little Andre witnessed Apollon perform the following feat of strength for Mr. Marchand. After Brandeli performance at the Follies-


"Apollon took four authentic 20-kilo weights and stuck his fingers through the rings without tying them together with cords as was usual, and then using just one hand, he pressed the 80 kilos three times in a row. He then asked Mr. Marchand if that was enough. Apollon did not perform this feat in public because the weights hurt his hand too much."

Although the cleaning of this 176 pound cluster weight is

not mentioned, I submit that anyone capable of such other-

worldly finger strength would not be stopped by a 2.38"

diameter bar weighing four pounds less. Imagine the hand

LENGTH needed to accomplish grasping four separate weights!

This from Desbonnet's book THE KINGS OF STRENGTH.

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Roark - I'm a little unclear on what exactly was done in this lift. Does it say how many, or which fingers were used? The whole issue hand position and configuration is not clear to me.  

- Mike M.

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The weights were 'ringweights'- that is a circular ring affixed

loosely to a block weight. Looked like the modern weights that

the Highland Games competitors throw for height.

So you place four weights in a square next to each other,

lean all four handles toward a common center, and if you do not have long fingers you will not be able to even hook each

of the separate handles, but Apollon's hands were 9" long, so

I am not sure how his hand was configured, but of course at

least four fingers would be required to grasp four handles

thus spaced.

I have two 50 lb scale weights with solid fixed handles,

and trying to put those handles together and clamp on to

them with one hand is painful. What Apollon did was beyond description strong! He often did this same stunt after tying a cord thru the rings and then swung the weight by grasping

the cord- still stupendous but not nearly as difficult as using

no cord.

Nathan Say,

Yes, LES ROIS de la FORCE, the 1911 book.

I have never heard of anyone else duplicating this feat

by Apollon.

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During a visit from John Brookfield I tried an odd lift(actually minutes after closing the Phantom 4) of crossing the handles of two solid round globe dumbells by slipping my fingers around this awkward two layered mess and deadlifting it. It REALLY hurt due to the cramped, odd position(only one finger grasping the lower handle)  The weights were weighed and were 132 and 134 lbs. each. Brian Harvey(a CoC) dropped in last night while I was working out and said he would come by today and play with some of my toys. I'll keep ya' posted.

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Richard, in my opinion, and let me emphacize, my opinion,

you are being robbed of your rightful place in the crushing

scheme of things. I believe you closed the 621 pound

gripper; I further believe that 621 is in excess of what

Joe Kinney closed when he closed the #4.

I was excited to call Brookfield to get his verification on

you closing the 621, and when he stated that it may have

happened but that he simply did not recall it, I was baffled

because you had referred me to him as a witness.

Kinney's #4 has not been tested, and I suspect never

will be, and this will force his ranking to go to the bottom

of the list of those who will eventually also close a #4 which

has been calibrated. If no one has a #4 calibrated, then

Joe's name should stay at the top of the list.

In no way is this meant to disparage Kinney for whom I have

incredible respect for crushing strength. It is meant to

elevate you to your rightful place as probably the greatest

exponent of crushing strength we have yet known. Some will

say that you are 'past your peak'- I have no way of knowing

that. But even if you are, we should consider how long that peak lasted! Amazing.

Before people attack me for these statements, again I say

this is my opinion which I feel welcome to, especially knowing

of your long successful involvement in hand strength in all

its aspects.

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Doubt, doublecheck, decide......your words.  Did you forget about the first two in this case?

Also, I thought we were done relying on IP numbers, reality shows they are seriously flawed at best.

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You have a point about the IP numbers, though I do

not know what it is because some of these calculations are beyond me. This is not sarcasm, because you may be

totally right. I simply don't know.

Regarding doubt and doublecheck. My opinion is to not

doubt Richard and the 621 in this case. I spoke to a woman

who witnessed him closing it, or at least the one Richard

says he closed in front of her, and she saw the handles touch.

Now Richard may have pulled a switch, but in my opinion, he

did not, and is a man on honor. That is my opinion, and it

is only that. You have a right to disagree, and I will not

argue on matters of opinion; I'm expressing mine as a show

of respect for Richard Sorin.

Regarding doublecheck. Well, in this case, the only checking

I was able to do was with the woman to whom Richard

referred me and to John Brookfield. The woman verified the

squeeze, John did not, though John did not deny it may have

happened just that he could not recall it happening.. The

only other doublechecking is along the lines of Richard's

other known, witnessed, hand strength feats, and I rush to

add that those other feats do not PROVE the 621. But they

do give Richard credibility to be at that level.

As the old saying goes:"It is with our judgments as with

our watches; no two go just the same, yet each believes

his own."

So if you, and everybody else on this board disagree with

me, no argument from me; just expressing an opinion. I do

not for a moment claim to be able to prove this opinion.

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Guest woody36


     If i can play Devils Advocate, with the debate over

the inch lift,would you have taken the word of some woman

who said she had witnessed the lift,or would your instincts

as an historian lead you to question what she in fact saw,

and which bell was used?

ps:I believe the closing of the gripper took place,witness

or not.

Best regards


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Roark, Howdy!

I do not doubt Richard's strength or his honor.  Respect him, that goes without saying, he's one of the guys who motivates me in this game.  Regardless, independent verification is required for something this important.  I discount the woman's account  who witnessed the close, only because she may have not been privy to the rules of a legitimate close (no additional part of body touching arm etc.).  I never thought RS would pull a switcheroo in any manner.  I would expect a man such as Brookfield to remember such a significant feat in grip history, remember this probably happened before Kinney's closure.

As for the great IP debate, the science and formulas obscure what is becoming more clear.  In a blind test (squeeze), it is difficult to match the grippers with their IP numbers.  I have seen a pretty large range of numbers through exchanges with other COC's.  The hand ranking, which to me is what I would use for a training progression anyway, doesn't seem to coincide with the IP numbers.  

Bottom line, if I have seen a 400 (I have) that was easier to close than a 292 (it was), I'm gonna tell you that.  Or a 430 something that's impossible, harder than a 473 that's nearly impossible, I'll tell you that too.  I wish it was as cut and dried as a calibrated barbell plate.

Pleasure talking to you :D

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You have a  point. But in Inch's case, there is such a

preponderence of evidence that PROVES he switched bells

often, that we do not have to rely on word of mouth evidence, female or male. He switched bells, he switched

details, he switched time frames, he switched details on

what types of lifts he performed with the bell, he switched

off the genuine possibility that several men were far more

able than he to lift the 172.

I hesitated before posting the opinion about Sorin, but he

has not been guilty, so far as I am aware, of switching

weights to make false claims, or in never having handy the

very implements that he claims to be able to lift. He has,

quite literally, put down a gauntlet as his business. Unlike

Inch, Richard walks the walk.

Again, this is my opinion. It isn't like I'm claiming that one of

the men who lives down the street, about whom I know

nothing strength-wise, could have closed the 621.

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Let me be candid. Richard was very enthusiastic about

me contacting Brookfield because Richard said to me that

John would remember the incident. Richard and John were

walking thru Richard's business and John urged Richard to

try to close the gripper (621). So Richard gave it his all and John said (paraphrasing) 'You did it! You closed it!" This

was according to Richard.

Quite frankly, Richard was so excited about John being able

to verify this, that in the back of my mind, the thought popped in about perhaps they had already discussed this and John was waiting for a call. So I was expecting John to verify

what Richard told me.

When John said he could not recall such an incident, I was

almost speechless. And confused. I do not think either man

is lying; perhaps memories play tricks. I know mine does. The

whole situation is bewildering and saddening. It just so happens that I accept Richard could have, and did, close, the 621.

Regarding the IP numbers, I don't have a clue.

Best regards.

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Guest Jeff Roark

Does Richards 621 IP have a 4 stamped on the handles Joe? It just seems funny to me, although I beleive he closed it for some reason, that if a man did this feat, one of the greatest in history why wouldn't he get certified? Richard could you answer this question as you are here and post regularly? Joe do you beleive Kinneys close before you would Richards? Kinney provided a video with his, Richard is word of mouth and didn't even get that from Brookfeild. I just wish Heath would shut that #4 and prove it is doable. Or will people doubt his closure, like people has doubted Kinney?

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As I understand it, three prototypes of the gripper were

made. One was sent to Richard, but he should tell this story.

I will say this. It was sent to him as a joke, and when he

told the manufacturer that yes, he had closed it, there was

drop-jaw silence on the phone line.

I believe both Kinney and Sorin have closed what amounts

to a #4.

The lesson to be learned from this is GET DOCUMENTATION!

If you want 'official' credit, get witnesses, phots etc. altho

photos don't prove a thing- the gripper could be wired shut

and surrounded by a large hand hiding the wires. I can rig

up a photo to show me closing the #3, or show me one hand

deadlifting my Inch replica. Proves nothing, illustrates what

could be an illusion.

There is another young man on this board who closed the

#3, and it almost took an act of congress to get him

certified, though he has closed it many times. So the other

lesson is that the reality is there are many people qualified

to judge whether or not the handles have touched on a #3 or

on a Trainer. I suspect that the huge majority of people who

train on the grippers could so judge, as could anybody with

decent eyesight. It is not calculus.

No doubt many strong men have closed the #3 and not been

certified. Mark Henry has closed it with each hand upright, and

inverted. He is not certified. Terry Todd witnessed Mark

closing it. Does Terry not have the senority in this sport to

be a reliable judge? That's silly. Few people know more about

strength and proper lifting than does Terry. How long is the

course at Crusher College that delivers one to the door of the


If a tree falls in the forest...if a #3 is closed with no

ordained judge there to see it...

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Guys I do apprecite your candid comments! I can start off by saying it has always been of upmost importance to me do things right...Whenever possible through my career I have weighed and measured any attempts I felt were of merit and would serve as a positive indicator for others to gauge their progress. I was grippin' when there were NO rules so we did the best we could in the early 90s grippers were not marked few used or knew of them AND the thing now referred to as a #4 didn't exist. For that matter I have some early UNMARKED 4s that I guess if I shut then wouldn't count either. As far as photos go they are not as reliable as a real person (hopefully a grip master) that KNOWS what it should look and feel like to do such a feat to be a witness.  Believe me I wouldn't pick a man like John Brookfield to say was my witness if I didnt do it. Remember he was first introduced to grippers by me and it was very new to him.( on our first meeting could not do a #1).AFTER he saw my Phantom 4 on his second visit he then called Mr. Strossen and got one. I forget things too and he was "new" to the gripper scene.. Later, it was mentioned by John in his book that he gauged my crushing strength to be the best, mentioned AND witnessed me at the Old time Strongmans dinner along with a large crowd of world class gripsters close my old (527 IP) #3 with 2 fingers.(I did run across an OLD photo of me doing this in a workout and sent it to David Horn recently. I may be past my prime as some of you say but when visited  by the Gentle Giant and fellow Captain of Crush Brian Harvey (#3 either hand And has visited Mr. Kinney personally) today he said this old man is the real deal. I would love to have any and all my fellow grip brothers feel, test, and try any of my  grip equipment I have used and enjoyed over the years.In my heart I know what I have gone and I am content with that......Thanks to you all for you kind support!

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I was chatting to Arne Persson tonight, and told him as I have told many before, that I believe that Richard has the best crushing and thick pinching ability of the modern gripsters. I placed Richard Sorin 3rd in my all time list, and only Goerner and Uni bettered him!!!!


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Jeff thanks for the question about the 621. When it arrived I only knew the return address was Ironmind and it had a spring thicker than my #3. I was excited, tested it with a medium squeeze and it went down well.I was at my peak and thought if I shut this "thing" I should have a witness. It was mid afternoon and the gym was empty and my secretary out at lunch, The only person, a middle age female bodybuilder was present and I told her what a "good squeeze" consisted of. On my first try I came close and on my second I shut it .I did see the handles closed as well.The second time I ever tried an all out max was at the insistance of John Brookfield as we walked across the gym. He said it was closed , it felt closed to me but, my hand was down and out to my side so I did not eyeball it myself.Those were and are the only two hard tries I ever gave it. A great danger is present with an all out squeeze and I have been hurt many times so when a goal is met for me I dont push it much further. An interesting aside to the story about Mr.. Kinneys closing of his gripper.. a woman (his wife) also acted as his witness.Sometimes when great things happen it all can't be set up to be perfect for history.When I heard of the great feat I asked Mr. Strossen if he would like me to visit, witness AND congradulate Mr. Kinney and he said "no, I believe the man"so I or no other Captain of Crush witnessed his tremendous closings as far as I know. My 621 and my old threes await any of my fellow grip friends to try their luck with a piece of grip history.....and make their mark!  Regards,RS

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Richard, I had heard that Kinney's wife acted as his witness. Strange that Strossen would not want to see that for himself (or have another CoC check it out thoroughly), feel the gripper, etc.

As for your monster 621, you know you closed it and your reputation speaks for itself. If Kinney closed his #4 like he says, he knows what he did and no one can take it from him either. I definitely think that if someone is going to give him (relatively unknown before this) the benefit of the doubt, they should recognize your (you being a known grip master) closure as well. That is just my opinion.

As for you being "past your prime" (maybe not the best choice of words), there is no offence meant towards you. That is basically what you are saying in the other discussion about anvil lifting. You closed your 621 when you were totally on top of your game. You may or may not not close it now but that doesn't change the fact that you *did* close it (more than once). It would be unfair for someone to say to you  "if you really closed that 621 gripper, close this #4 right now".

No one doubts that you are the "real deal", and no one thinks that you are "out of the picture". If you are currently at 90% of your best, you are still 200% ahead of most of us grip-wise.

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I spoke to the lady who witnessed Richard close the

621. She was not his wife. Perhaps that is the obstacle,

Richard. Hmmm, what can you do about that...

Seriously, one standard should not be employed for one

claim and a variant, more difficult standard applied to


It is not difficult for me to make the jump from someone

who can close a 527 gripper using two fingers and a thumb,

to accepting that same hand using all the fingers and the

added co-ordination that the hand working as a unit implies,

closing the 621. Especially since it is Richard Sorin, and

especially since we have a witness, however unmarried to

each other they happen to be, which quite frankly, ADDS to

the idea of objectivity.

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