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2008 May - British Iron Grip - mobsterone


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Saturday May 17th

Who needs an alarm clock? Even though I didn't have the (as in the past) pre-event jitters I was still up at 5am or so. So as to not waste it I had my usual breakfast then chilled for an hour by having a very long soak in the bath. I then enjoyed a big ass tub of yogurt and started taking stuff from the house to the gym.

I'd set the weigh-in time for 10am and kick off at 11am. You can guarantee I'd miss someones name off what is a short list and did so ha ha so, as some were coming a decent distance, we left it to the last minute just making sure we were ready to go soon as. I thought I'd be the heaviest at 283 or so but Stewart Killick weighed in a very solid looking 320+ His training partner was equally massive! Only at strength events can someone weighing 280 go wow!

I had on hand to assist me (thanks again guys) two former competitors Jim Wylie (won it back in 2005) and Andy Christie (who put on the 2005 event) and they would referee and do the scores etc for me. You can add to that list Harry and Laurence Shahlaei who helped at various points through the day and Mike Betty (co-director of the Whey Consortium with me) who loaded ALL day even with his still damaged but now healing hand. All 5 guys helped and a good crew make the day run smoothly - cheers dudes! But as one of my last, for a while, duties as promoter I made a point of introducing those directly involved as well as pulling the athletes forward announcing who they were, how old and so on. Then it was kick off time.

First event - grippers using the 20mm block

Not the greatest of visual events but one that pretty much every person who does 'grip' knows. I'm pretty sure that everyone competing either raised their game from previous competitions or got PB's. I did :D

I went into the event fairly confident the worst that would happen is a 2nd place. On paper, as it were, Sam Solomi had the skills to win. Like Arnold I had given him some 'advices' in the nicest way 'show your hand to the ref' and so on but having competed a number of times helps a lot.

The old combined total record was 6.61 (for the MT guys: we take what we believe (from a sample of a few) a good average CoC 3 gripper and everything else gets rated above or below). The previous best left hand was Chris James with a 3.29 last year and I did that this year and the right was my 3.65 which I did again for the 4th year in a row I think. That gave me a combined winning total and new British record total of 6.94 (best ever in the world using such grippers is 7.30 I think). Sam Solomi raised the left hand record (3.54??) but could not beat the total. David Horne moved his total up and during in between lift chats we both agreed his awesome Vulcan Gripper had helped us move our game up a notch. Having already one after just two right hand and three left hand attempts I decided to give the CoC 4 gripper a go - this was less 'closing a 4' and more lowering of the percentage of my max scores for the other athletes (we use a 100 points for the winner and a percentage of their max for 2nd, 3rd and so on). A game David has taught me well. The first attempt was, I'm told, 2mm off a close and the second 1mm. I actually thought I felt contact and even Jim later said 'it might have Steve but I had to be sure - at worse it was the thickness of a bit of paper apart'. As it didn't affect my winning it was onwards and upwards.

Final result a win by Steve Gardener with 6.94 (so 100 points) which I think is a British record total (as my old one was 6.61).

Next up - 2 hand pinch

For the MT's - we use an adjustable width set up called a Euro Pinch (check my log for a photo). For the rest of ya - narrowest width @ 44mm first working out to Sam's monstrous and as it turned out too wide 65mm (as wide as she'll go I think). With only 2 of us at 44mm I took full advantage of the setting up etc. The minimum time between lifts, to allow recovery, is 2 minutes. I can't remember right now who I went with but I think I started with what the ended on. From memory 85-kilos rings a bell, then 90, 100 and finally 105.5-kilos. David commented after that all my earlier lifts had been a little shakey and it was true. But standing in front of the 105.5-kilos it was time to kick in the old winning mind-set. I thought back over sessions where I had been up and down, how my hands felt locked in tight on the good days, how I'd trained for far too long this time (over 20 weeks when 12-16 would have been better) and had that internal chat which goes 'do not waste this, make this the one where it's rock Four score and seven years ago I am the MAN because I swear and I want everyone to know how manly I am by using profanity.ing solid'. And it was.

When chatting with David on MSN I'd said if I can get close enough to your potential 115+ kilos I'll score about 93 points or so by getting 105-kilos. As it happened like Nick McKinless at our xmas event and even myself many times during training David did not pull what he wanted. His 109-kilos was the winning amount but I'd done enough by being just 4-kilos behind to still be winning. This was, at you'll see, exactly what I needed.

2HP results (note different lifters use different widths to suit).

1. David Horne - 109.14k

2. Steve Gardener - 105.58k - this moves me to 5th best of all time.

The rest of the field were spread over 63-77 or so kilos with Sam bombing on all four attempts. He was using a massive 65mm width which felt huge on the Euro (I've used 90+ on 70mm using 2 x 15-kilo plates but after already lifting I gave 65mm a feel and it was like 'what??!!'). 19 year old Fred's 76-kilos was pretty cool.

No 3 and a banker - Thumbless Rolling Thunder

MT's - check the Ironmind site. It's a revolving thick vinyl sleeve and the lift - with or without thumbs - mimics a one hand deadlift. Unlike training you need to wait for a down signal from the ref. While I did not hit the high numbers I set myself as targets before commencing the training nor event the highs I'd actually hit in training I still won left and right and the total. Those that have followed my training via my various logs will have seen more lifted a few weeks ago. I'd also debated the merits, or lack thereof, of flexing the wrist. I ended up using that style out of necessity. I did not want to lose this event. The numbers were coming back but I was still off where I wanted to be. I had hoped for and been on target to get a planned 110-kilos left and 120-kilos right. But a win is a win so I went in to the 4th event with 2 of 3 and still winning.


I ended up with a little under 105-kilos (104.86) or 231lbs thumbless right and a little under 95-kilos (94.94) or 209lbs thumbless left and 199.8 or just under 200-kilos total. 14-kilos ahead of David (94.94 r/h and 90.10 l/h) and a good points scorer for me.

Youtube video of (I think and thanks to Sam for this one) 80 or 90-kilos which I did with either hand. So 2nd or 3rd attempts I think.


I know when I pulled the max right hand lift I shouted 'all Four score and seven years ago I am the MAN because I swear and I want everyone to know how manly I am by using profanity.ing day' :D

Number 4 - weaver stick to the rear.

The only grip events where you can wear a wrist wrap is leverage events like this. It's needed - these are brutal. David and I said that this would be close. Back when I'd got the record David was a mere 50g behind me with his left hand to my right. David said, half joking half serious, that he was expecting 9 or even 10-kilos (indeed he might be able to confirm that he did hit these numbers in training but like my RT work did not get them on the day). If I'd lost it would have been ok just to see it done as if it hurt like hell with 8.10 and then 8.6 then god only knows how much pain there would have been with 9 or even 10.

For what is a simple event it takes time to set and is, as has been said, not much fun for those watching. I wanted it in as a test but will not be putting this in nor encouraging others to do so on a regular basis. More so for big public events. The hammer leverage to the face type stuff is as hard and more visual.

One 19 year old worth watching (as per 'Twig' GB members talent spotting) is Fred Coombs. Fred had matched me with 7-kilos in training (he did 1 rep I did 3 x 1 reps) and Fred was thereabouts on the day. David was pulling from a much lower height than I'd prefer but taking full advantage of the way we're allowed to lean forward. For his sub-maximal attempts I was pretty sure, if they were anything to go by, that he could well win. He looked real strong and was not using a wrap until around the 6-kilo mark. That is mad strong and very hard.

However, once at the 7 and 8-kilo level with just Fred, myself and David still in it I pulled ahead. I'd taken warm up lifts but literally the bare minimum to get me ready to go. Enough to prepare but not to wear out. I think I hit 7 or so with my left and had two lifts to go with my right. I took 8.10-kilos, equaling my old and still a world record and got it. I had a lift left and the minimum jump was .5-kilos (500g) so I took that. It came up but was just short.

One final thought. I'm glad Laine doesn't do all round events yet. He came to see me to pick up the Millennium for the last OHF do and did a COMPLETELY COLD (no wraps and no warm up) 7-kilos with either hand using my training set up (e-z bar and weights).

Results: 1. Steve Gardener – 8.1k r/h (equal to old record) + 7.22k l/h = 15.32k (NB: I also attempted as above 8.60 right handed)

2. David Horne – 7.22k r/h + 7.22k l/h = 14.44k and worth noting for the future was no 3. Stewart Killick with 6.54k r/h Another win :D 3 of 4 events. It is, as it always is, a points game to take titles and I was I think 22 or more points clear at this point.

Final and 5th event - one hand lift

Now with the next lift I had no real idea what I'd actually do. Last year I was on fire with a solid 300-kilo left and world record 330-kilos right and a world record total of 630-kilos to boot. Yet in training the best I'd managed free hand style was 240 left and a not quite enough 260 right. With my hand braced, as is allowed, left was all over the place and my right was 274.54-kilos done last Sunday the last time I trained it.

Unless David pulled, as he claimed when we entertained the rest of the gang, 350-kilos, even if I had an off day all I had to do to win was keep close. I did. Sam had been well up in the numbers on this last year and proved the most consistent this year. He missed a 332 or more big lift and had, in between puking outside and getting himself ready / in the zone said '400 if that's what's needed'. I think if we'd allowed more than 4 attempts he might well have got the 330+ he'd wanted. As it was he won this event but had placed lowish on the middle three and would have need some crazy number to get back the points he needed.

The final results on this event were:

1. Sam Solomi – 302.57k r/h + 283.09k l/h = 585.66k

2. Steve Gardener – 270.56k r/h + 285.6k l/h = 556.16k

3. David Horne – 263.35k r/h + 285.6k l/h = 548.95k

4. Richard Scott – 222.1k r/h + 243.12k l/h = 465.22k

5. Stewart Killick – 211.99k r/h + 227.26k l/h = 439.25k

6. Fred Coombes – 227.26k r/h + 191.72k l/h = 418.98k

7. Paul Wood – 222.1k r/h + 181.93k l/h = 404.03k

8. Scott Roberts – 201.68k r/h + 201.68 l/h = 403.36k

Youtube video of my bet left handed 260-kilos lift (cheers again Sam):

I'd done enough to place just head of David here and seal my victory. Richard Scott, Stewart and Fred were close enough with a few attempts to spare that some calculations were being done (I was asked 'how much do I need to do to beat so and so?' more than once). Afterward the final lifts had taken place and apparently with little actual grip training (although he has been working on the Severn Valley strongman events) Richard had finally been consistent enough all the way through an open grip competition to place third. He beat Fred by 6 points who beat Stewart by just over 2 (I know how that feels Fred).

Final overall results

1st. Steve Gardener 491.20

2nd. David Horne 470.80

3rd. Richard Scott 363.99

4th. Fred Coombes 357.93

5th. Stewart Killick 355.72

6th. Sam Solomi 333.34

7th. Scott Roberts 326.79

8th. Paul Wood 316.64

I'd won three and place high enough in the other two to win (we use the count back method if needed). So it was time for the thank yous and award ceremony.

David Horne's 'world of grip', John Beatty's Fat Bastard Barbell Company, Charles Rinaldi's www.heavygrips.co.uk and finally (and most gratefully) Steve and Ken from www.londonkettlebells.co.uk had all donated prizes. Mike Betty and myself from www.wheyconsortium.co.uk donating time and the venue and a few quid to boot (as did one anon benefactor via the Gripboard). Indeed I was able to sort it out so that every single competitor ended up with something*. Thanks for your help guys, you came through and being able to make everyone happy is awesome.

A special word of thanks to Loz, H and especially Mike (his hand still healing but stayed and helped all day) for loading and helping referee. And again for Jim Wylie and Andy Christie for referring and tallying the scores.

*Sam and his supportive mum had a train to catch and so his goodies await his return for a training session.

The winners trophy: http://img233.imageshack.us/img233/9995/trophyrh1.jpg

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