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Under The Spotlight - Grip Profile - Amy Wattles


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Today's profile covers Amy Wattles.

When I started this series, I had thought to highlight those who fly "under the radar". At the same time, I wanted each person profiled to be able to choose who would follow them. When Gil Goodman chose Amy Wattles…it presented me with a quandary. Amy does not fly "under the radar;"she soars above it. So…a new profile title was born. I was pretty darn pleased when Amy agreed to a profile. There are not a lot of women in Grip to begin with, and Amy is at the very top of the sport. Time and again, she has set World Records in Grip. Former world record holder in the I.M. Hub and Little Big Horn, current world record holder in the DO Apollon's Axle, and CoC Silver Bullet. In 2013, she became the second woman to ever certify on the I.M Captian's of Crush #2 Gripper(CCS).

If that wasn't enough, this Team EliteFTS Sponsored Athlete was the 2010 NAHA (North American Highlander Association)Women's National Champion, the 2012 US Grip Women's National Champion and the 2013 Mas Wrestling Women's National Champion. Phew! That made me feel like an M.C at a prize fight. While her resume is staggering…her ego is not. She is completely down to earth and basically…a sweetheart. It's been my pleasure to converse with this titan of grip.

Amy Wattles pic.png


7 questions to get to know Amy.

1. What are your stats? Gripboard Name, age, height (inches/meters), dominant hand size (cm/in), country, city (or region…whatever you are comfortable with), married/single, kids, occupation ("international spy" is acceptable)

Gripboard Name: "Amy"

Age: 42

Height: 5' 11" (180cm)

Dominant Hand size: 7 3/4" (19.7cm) In the end I was disappointed that my hands weren’t as big as my mind perceives them to be. There’s a pic somewhere out there with Jedd and I measured our hands together. I am sad to report that his were bigger than mine. J

Country/City: USA/Meridian, Idaho

Marital Status: Married (Matt)

Kids: I am a mother of two, Magnus (16) and Mojo (12). My kids definitely have the freak gene. Both kids grew up watching us lift and train. It’s one of the most amazing and satisfying feelings that they have come full circle to love and value lifting as much as we do. In addition to their training with us, they both work with a weightlifting coach and their own position/sport specific coaches. Magnus is a kicker and very strong for a 16 year old boy still growing and developing with crazy kicking skills. Mojo’s love is throwing in track and field. At 12 years old she can OHP 100 lbs, bench 95 (100 seems to be her mental barrier right now), deadlift 270 lbs. My secret goal for her is to bench 135 lbs at 13 years old. That would be pretty cool.

Occupation: My husband Matt and I own Competitive Edge Athletic Performance Center in Meridian, ID. We are also partners in Movement Guides which has created and manufactured the SquatGuide and T-Dot. Those two products are proving to be exceptionally well received and effective products in clinical, real life and strength settings. I am extremely fortunate to be a part of Team EliteFTS and maintain a training log there. I would really like to get back to writing more articles for them. I truly love being part of EliteFTS and being able to “live, learn and pass on.” As if our lives aren’t hectic and demanding enough, I am also a special education teacher, currently teaching in junior high.

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

I started training strongman when Mojo was 3 months old, so I guess that’s 12 years. I had always lifted, but once she was born, I decided it was time to start competing. At the time, I was fortunate to be training with a partner who demanded that no training session ended until we trained grip. It was ingrained in me and carried through the years.

I always kept an eye on grip. I read The Grip Board, COC gripper certification additions, and even bought many videos through the years to watch just out of curiosity. It became obvious competing in strongman that my grip was pretty good and it reached a point where I wanted to see what I was able to do. I finally decided it was time to act on this grip obsession of mine and contacted Jedd about competing in Grip Sport and have not stopped. I am not convinced my grip is good enough. It has lots more room for improvement, so it is enough to keep me moving forward as best as I can.

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

Right now my goals are to be the first woman in the world to certify on the COC 2.5 and to pull 300 lbs double overhand. I truly had no idea these two goals would take me so long to accomplish. So perhaps they will actually take until I die. I can close a COC 2.5 with a credit card set in training and even had an unsuccessful certification attempt. The consistency just isn’t there, along with consistent and focused training. I compete at LA FitExpo next weekend so I guess shortly we will see if I am making any headway towards accomplishing my grip goals.

I wouldalso love to see more women cross over from other strength sports and try grip. My impression is that: lack of knowledge of what grip sport really is, lack of equipment, and ego are the three biggest limiting factors why more women strength athletes are not competing in grip. Grip strength absolutely goes hand in hand with any strength sport out there.

If I can get this nagging 2.5 certification out of the way, perhaps getting certified on a COC 3 would be possible. It would be a pretty awesome feat to accomplish before I die. I strongly believe that a female closing a COC 3 IS possible and one day it will happen. It may not be me, but it will be someone. Women are so new in grip that the boundaries are just beginning to expand and increase, along with women’s own beliefs that it is possible for a female to certify on the COC 3.

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

My time to train is very limited and I have to be very efficient in how I choose to train. It’s not the most ideal set up, but it is all I can do at the time. If I am not competing in strongman or grip I have a OHP/Bench, Squat and DL day. I throw random grip training in there as I am able to. If I am training for strongman my split is OHP, DL, Squat/Event Day. Since that is so time consuming, grip is put on the back burner unless it is directly related to a competition event.

When I am training for a grip competition, I stick to my usual training plan and add in grip. I do that as long as I can, until recovery becomes a major issue and then start cutting out some of my other training so I can focus strictly on grip with such limited time.

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

My favorite thing to do out of anything in the world is watching my kids compete. I’m pretty sure that qualifies as a hobby because it brings me so much happiness. I save my crazy mom for once we get in the car. I just adore having competitive and fiery kids willing to work hard. It’s fun. My other favorite thing to do is take my Wrangler up in the mountains and disappear for at least a few hours…ideally a few days. I work hard during the school year so I try to enjoy life and get back to simple as much as I am able to in the summer.

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

I would like to share that I have competed in many sports and competitions in my career. I say this with nothing but love, but my impression is that grip people are for sure a little over the top with details and precision. However, I have never felt more welcome and genuinely supported in any other sport than grip. I feel exceptionally fortunate to have made some friends along the way who are much smarter than me with grip. They have been willing to entertain some random, crazy thoughts I may have about grip training and are a tremendous part of my success.

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

I’m sticking with the girl theme, Maria Bascetta. I enjoyed reading her write up on The Southern Squeeze and admire her positive energy.

Thanks Amy, Maria will be profiled in two weeks. The series will return next Wednesday with Bader Samir Tayeb(Alawadhi).

Special Thanks to Randall Strossen and IronMind for use of Amy's profile picture.

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Awesome writeup! I am so glad I nominated you, Amy. So inspiring.

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Amy is a beast - and as stated also a super nice lady. I'm really enjoying this "Under the Radar - Spotlight :)" thread

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