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Breaking Yellow: My 2015 Goal Logbook


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A minimal amount of spare time in my training schedule (Sunday arvo) has led to the following goal for 2015:

Break (unbraced) a standard length Ironmind Yellow nail in less than 2 minutes.

This log details my endeavours to reach this goal. Note: All the other training I do isn’t detailed here – only the stuff I consider relevant to the goal is. I simply don’t have the time to detail everything else I’m doing that is relevant to my other training goals. I’ll probably throw in a few musings/observations as well. Links to pics and clips will be included.

Fair Warning: Unless you’re REALLY into bending/breaking this log will probably bore you to tears.

For the record: Several years ago I broke an IM yellow – but it was a truly epic battle that took me 5 and half minutes! The accomplishment of this goal by the end of the year is something I see as realistic – but I’ll need to get a lot stronger in some quite weak areas (once I figure out what they are AND how to improve).


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18/1/15 – Breaking Session

My first breaking w/out in a fair while – so it was all about seeing where I was at. Steel selection was a little tricky as what little 6.35mm easy stuff I have is “uncategorised”. Some of it is semi-bright merchant bar and some is plain wire (they look quite similar and now feel about the same strength to me).

The breaks:

  • - 6.3mm Unknown * 177mm in 0:31
  • - 6.3mm Unknown * 177mm in 0:49
  • - 6.3mm Unknown * 177mm in 0:43

- Surprised myself a little with the first break! Over the moon with 31 seconds
- Came back to Earth on bar 2 (no rewrap – slipping around badly)
- Bar 3 went ok (but right thumb a little sore)
- I seem to have retained a bit of strength in my wrists over the last couple of years.

Pic 1 and Pic2

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This is interesting. Look forward to see how you plan on training for this breaking feat! I never got into the bar breaking. I tried it maybe twice and was surprised at how insanely hard it was. It seemed like breaking feats wouldn't add to your unbraced bending strength (duh, right?) - but it would bring up your braced bending game, even though the bends would technically be way easier than your max braced bend.

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I remember seeing Ivan snap some hard stuff near a red level ^

Interesting technique. . . .I think if he'd kept more heat in the bar he could have done it in half the time. The hotter the bar the easier it bends and the quicker it breaks/tears/fails..

As far as breaking clips go, I've always enjoyed this one:


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25/1/15 Breaking Session

First joint on my right thumb was still not a 100% - but Ive trained (and certainly bent) thru worse.

The breaks:

  • - 6.3mm Unknown * 177mm in 0:57
  • - 5.86mm Galv Wire * 160mm in 0:41
  • - 6.3mm Unknown * 170mm in 0:36

- Bar #1 not wrapped tight enough! Uncranks were quite comical (burnt myself on the bar a couple of times!)

- Bar #2 stock was scavenged from a hard rubbish collection a few years back and was always earmarked for breaking. I tried it more for the length than anything.

- Bar #2 left a little off-centre and made for an insightful and somewhat incremental challenge. It also reminded me of my dislike for breaking stuff less than 160mm (how many times did a smash my knuckles together on this one?)

- Bar #3 was the pick of the bunch some really pleasing controlled cranking sequences got the job done nicely (apparently concentration and NO panic works well!). I think it might be called . . . . .getting into a groove.


Next week Ill move up to doing 4 or 5 bars (that should finish off this Unknown length). I had plenty left in the tank today.

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29/1/15 – W/out

An opportunity for a brief goal specific training session presented itself – so it was time to put the brain into gear and experiment with a few exercises.

Sledgehammer (a.k.a. “Sledge”) pronation and supination sets are something I used to do regularly. A 6lb sledge (handle length 26”) is lightest I have and with a grip at the end of the handle I knocked out 4 sets of 10 reps. The sequence for each set was pronate L then R, Supinate L then R. I only go to 3 or 9 o’clock with these and it’s always been 10 reps of the same exercise (ie. I don’t combine a pronate rep and supinate rep into “1” rep).

Between each set I opted for some hand towel wringing. This involved first folding it down to a small rectangle (8ish inches long) and dunking into a 8 litre bucket of water before wringing it (clockwise) into a larger bucket. Then it was dunk and repeat anti-clockwise. One bucket lasted the entire w/out!

This is first the time I’ve tried this exercise in a w/out – plenty of experimenting (fold it longer and thus more twists?) to do yet. It was fun though and broke up the sledge sets nicely.

The workout was due to finish with some uncrank isometric hits – but my iso bar is M.I.A. at present (the search will resume on the w/end!)

I still have some thinking to do when it comes to coming up with a few more shed and/or gym assistance exercises. Oh, and I think I need a plan as well.

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01/2/15 _ Breaking Session

Snuck in a brief grip training session yesterday which included some revolving handling lifts. Arguably not the best idea considering I was doing a 2HP and then a breaking session today. My thumbs were certainly feeling at the end (my thumb pads were throbbing).

The breaks:

  • - 6.3mm Unknown * 175mm in 0:24
  • - 6.3mm Unknown * 165mm in 1:04
  • - 6mm * 150mm Grade 2 _ in 0:13
  • - 6.3mm Unknown * 165mm in 0:52
  • - 6.3mm Unknown * 155mm in 2:24

- Bar #1 was just amazing. Perfectly centred, 2 well paced cranking stints and BANG! All over red rover.

- Bar #2 was harder. I think I had the pads too close together (hinder crank downs a little). Everything else left ok.

- Bar #3 was a bit of a laugh mild steel bolts of this length and thickness are something I wouldnt even warm up with. Still, my curiosity was sated as I could normally break these particular bolts in under 25 secs.

- Bar #4 was a (determined) revisit of bar #2 to try to improve the time.

- Bar #5 was bite a bullet. I was hoping for under 2 minutes but gas was running out and I had to change by technique to finish it (I will discuss my technique(s) in a future post).


Battlelines appear to have been drawn at the 155-160mm parallel. The next session should be a bit of fun, and hopefully I can get 155mm in under 2 minutes.

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05/2/15 _ W/out

I was keen to get another workout in a couple of days before my next breaking session AND have a couple of days rest (no grip training at all).

4 sets of sledge supination and pronation with my 6lber. Went for 12 reps this time The aim is to progress to using the 7lb hammer for 10 reps in 3 weeks time (current sets are not really hard its all about getting used to the exercise again).

Towel wrings were again slotted between each sledge set to break things up. 9 litres was almost not enough Im really enjoying this exercise! I made an effort to hold the wring at 3-5 seconds each time.

On the weekend I built a new isometric (Iso) bar for breaking. 12mm CRS * 600mm was the go. Is this ideal? Time will tell !! A comparison pic to my (found) shorter DO iso bar is HERE

My DO iso bar is not suited for what I want as its really the final 70% of an uncrank where Im weakest and need to focus on. With the pictured DO iso bar Id focussing on the final 2-3%.

I did 3 sets of 3 reps of 5 sec hits. Each rep was broken up with some wrist twists or tricep extensions behind the neck (ie. I didnt let go of the bar) during the set.

I consider4 this new ISO bar to be a prototype. I reckon ll need at least a couple more at different (wider) angles. Obviously theyll need to be a bit shorter as well.

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  • 4 weeks later...

08/2/15 _ Breaking Session

The plan was to step things up a little today. A little turned out to be something else altogether. Read on!

The breaks:

  • - 6.3mm Unknown * 160mm in 0:57
  • - 6.3mm Unknown * 155mm in 3:38 (new 2000mm length)
  • - 6mm 1214 Square * 177mm (Gave up after 5 minutes)

- Ballsy length for the first break! I had two really solid crank sequences and knew Id get it in under a minute.

- Bar #1 went to my head! A brand new length of unknown stuff and I opted for 155mm? Madness! I battled on manfully but it was a messy break (as can be seen by the pronounced curve)

- Bar #3 . . . what can I say? Nuts! (The internal dialogue was: yeah If I can flat-side this puppy the uncranks should be doable). I was only 87-90 degrees off the flat side . . .which made uncranks EXREMELY hard (and minimal probably 20 degrees tops). I end up putting so much effort in to the uncranks that I resulted to some experimental archery style draw back attempts. . . .and after a few of these my unnoticed blister had decided enough was enough. Time was called at 5 minutes.

- Incredibly I tried a 4th bar (170mm of the round) that that idea quickly died on its rear end once I painfully realised that uncranking would be impossible thanks to the burst blister.



bent square bar


Cant say Ive ever generated a blister on that part of my index finger before. Should take a week or so to heal up. A lot to think about in the meantime (how do I toughen up the skin there, or refine/review my technique, or . . . . .)

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