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2010 October - CoC #3 Certification Attempt - Hubgeezer


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It's been 3 weeks since I posted. One week ago today I went for Certification, and did not get it. Here is my story.

I backed off from doing "overload" work two weeks and a day before my attempt. I have a history of doing a heavy overload workout 7-9 days before a contest. Randy Strossen urged me to listen to him and do short intense gripper workouts for the last two weeks with primarily a 2.5 CCS. Seeing as I failed two previous times, my last contest had my best gripper day ever with 8 days of no overload, and he was giving me a break by trying a Certification without my "truly" being ready, I followed his advice. It was interesting, because for the next 10 days, with no monster workouts, I really was stronger every time I touched the grippers. A credit card set on the Number 2.5 felt like an easy 2 with a deeper set. He also had some preparation advice regarding visualization and rest. He was very encouraging, very positive.

I was not talking much about it. At AOBS there were a few who knew. Dennis Rogers came up to me (Dennis Rogers :whacked ) and told me I should just be thinking of it as a 2. I am going to close a 2, and I would do it. Now, as simplistic and as silly as that may sound, when you consider the things Dennis has done at his size, as well as his age, obviously he has something going on that most of us do not.

I knew what time I wanted to do it, and selected a place that was open and isolated, part of a back entry way to the hotel (Marriott at Newark Airport). There was a door nearby I could walk outside, jump around, pace around by myself, and there was a little hotel table where I could put down my warmup grippers and chalk. So, everything was laid out to my liking in a big way. Five mintues before the agreed upon time, I was pretty much warmed up with my son (age 29, been my biggest supporter since he was 17, and today, one strong and physically menancing young man, great guy) when the others showed up. There was Randy Strossen, Pat Pouvaulitis as judge, and Odd Haugen as a spectator. Haugen was in a contest 3 weeks earlier and saw me close 3 different 3s, so he was good positive energy.

I warmed up both hands. For the heck of it, I was pushing my left hand to see how it was. It was a good day. I have a very wide 1999 2 that is about a 2.5, and I was grinding it with my left hand like I had never done before. It was going to be a good day.

I made one major mistake, which I have not shared with anyone, including Dennis Rogers, Randy Strossen, and my son. I made the mistake of squeezing the Certification Gripper with my left hand. It went down to about half an inch, and stopped. My "good day", my preparation, my confidence, everything, was destroyed at that moment. Why? Because I am so wired into the difficulty of grippers by "feel", I knew this was a stronger than average Number 3. Although I didn't show it to anyone, I knew I wasn't going to do it. I was licked before I started.

I made 3 tries, and they were all about one eighth of an inch off - - a mile by Certification purposes. The first attempt was really screwy because when I started squeezing I had not moved the card all the way from the handles so the card was stuck in the grippers and I had to yank it out. I was so far off, I stopped at 3 attempts. Then something else happened. Randy opened another one for me! It was slightly easier, and I didn't go much past the other. Pat P later admitted that he agreed with me that the second one was just the slightest bit easier. If I had to guess the "RR" difference (Redneck Rating), I would say it was about 2 pounds.

I am sorry to say that I was not really a gracious loser. Two years ago, I was not really ready, but took a very solid harder than average 3 down to a hair multiple times, maybe even to closing, and was fine with it. Last year, I had no business trying for Certification, and took it to 1/8th of an inch. I have that gripper and it is 154 Redneck Rated. This year, I knew I was much stronger than last year, and possibly as ready as I was in 2008, but was not sure. No, I was not ready.

The gripper has been measured by Cannon. It came in at 159, just under 160. The spread was a little wider than average, so that could be why it appeared to me to be over 160.

Okay, all of that being said, so what? The reality is, for guys like me (let's face it, at the low end of the strength chain for Captains of Crush), we can't be setting our sights on doing "just enough" to certify. Because, how much is "just enough"? What about how you felt that day, some fluky thing with how the credit card came out, the weather (don't laugh, heat and metal...) etc etc? And besides, just because they have averaged 152-154, who is to say that a 3 is not supposed to be 160? Using my basic formula (a very personal estimating methodology) for measuring my own strength based on how far away I am from closing something, in retrospect, I was at best in shape for a credit card set of say, 152, maybe as low as 148. That ain't good enough folks. What, I am supposed to hope for a sub-150 gripper? Just because someone else got it that way is besides the point. Besides, many of these recent Captains of Crush are not on the Gripboard, and based on the writeups I read, are destroying the gripper, so they have a lot more in the tank. Heck, my closes at contests of "over 150s" are just barely closes. "You had it for a fraction of a second, and then it backed off, so I gave it to you".

Next time, assuming there is a next time, I have to be closing my 158 CCS at home before I go for it.

My experience probably has an impact on future Certifications. I think IronMind will want assurances that you are in fact closing your 3 CCS consistently before you are going to get a shot at it. And, after my experience, that is a reasonable policy.

Not exactly sure what path I am going to take, but I am thinking: lots of gripper work, overall weight training, my Rolling Thunder work, but no pinch, Vbar, hub, or blob work. I had thought about competing in Day One of the Fit Expo Grip Contest for entertainment purposes, but now I think I would rather attend and go for Certification down there instead. It is almost 3 months to the day. Kevin Bussi wants to go for the 3.5 there, and Gripzilla wants to shoot for the 3 there as well, so it would be fun to have a California Certification Celebration. And, seeing as Gripzilla is now over 50, that would be amazing to have two guys 50 or more certifying on the same day!

Having Pat P as a judge was a good choice. I am thinking that in Los Angeles, assuming it will be Wade Gillingham, that he too would be an excellent judge. Heck, he may have witnessed more than anyone else! Everything in Newark was perfect. Everything except my execution. By the way, the rest of trip, the time, everything else, was fantastic. Slim Farman was amazing. I think I have some things to learn from him.

Edited by Hubgeezer
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