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Under the Spotlight - Grip Profile - Ivan Beritashvili


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Far from Alberta, Canada, we spin the globe for the first profile of a Russian Gripster/Bender. 



Today's profile features Ivan Beritashvili.

Ivan Beritashvili is synonymous with Grip and Bending in Russia.  In a remarkably short time, he has built an impressive resume of feats of strength.  Despite his youth, Ivan is well respected for his leadership, his accomplishments and his humility.  Not yet 30 years old, the worldwide grip community has voted Ivan to be part of the IGC (International Grip Collective).  This is a select group of individuals that help lead and guide the future of Gripsport. 

Like many of you, I first saw Ivan via his Youtube account.   

What I noticed first (other than he was seriously strong), was that he didn't seem to limit himself.  One day he could be doing 12 reps on a CoC #3 at 20mm, the next he's cleaning and pressing a Fatman.   Wait…was that Ivan just eagle looping 463kgs (1021lbs) or Bending a horseshoe in IMP's?  …because I'm pretty sure I just saw him lifting the INCH …and barehanding an Ironmind Blue Nail start to finish.  Those outside the Grip world may think I'm being effusive in my praise of Ivan and others profiled before...but it's almost impossible to describe how extremely difficult these things are without attempting them first hand.

So basically, Ivan is a specialist…who specializes in EVERYTHING?  Do you know how short the list is of Gripsters that can wrist-curl (partial or otherwise) the INCH dumbbell?  It's just a tiny fraction…of the very few people who can lift it in the first place.   To be clear, we are not talking about a "jack of all trades…master of none."  Oh no.  Ivan has held at least 4 Gripsport weight class World Records in various events (shallow hub, key pinch, levertop).  He pretty much excels at anything he turns his attention to.

Over the last several years, I've chatted with Ivan several times via facebook.  I've always been impressed at both his command of the English language…and his ability to poke fun at himself.  Far from being over-serious, this is a guy willing to throw up a failed attempt on Youtube. 

Although Ivan is on my bucket list of gripsters I'd like to meet, I was lucky enough to talk to him via video with E.J. at SJ1.  It was truly a major highlight of that day for me.  Ivan is on good terms with some of the best benders and Gripsters out there…trading steel or implements with Hannes,  E.J., Jedd and many others.  He's plugged in to the Bending community, always approachable and willing to give advice if asked.  He's led a veritable parade of Russian benders to the Red Nail Roster.  Although he can DO and DU a IM Red Nail in IMPs…he himself waited to cert. the Red "Reverse" (a rare feat indeed).  With the light Ivan has spread to his corner of the globe, it's obvious there are a number of crazy-strong Russian gripsters/benders over there.  Hopefully in time, we will get to hear from more of them.

With what Ivan has accomplished thus far, there is no doubt he will become an integral part of Grip and Bending history.  And...although he has already addressed me  as "my friend," I hope to someday earn that honor.   Without further ado…


ivan profile pic.jpg



7 questions to get to know Ivan.


1.  What are your stats?  Gripboard Name, Age, Height (inches/meters), Weight (lbs/kgs), R/L dominant hand size (cm/in), Country/City (or region … whatever you are comfortable with), Relationship Status, Kids?, Occupation ("international spy" is acceptable) 

GripBoard Name:  Ivan Beritashvili

Age:   29yo

Height: 183 cm (72")

Weight :  94-97 kg (207-213lbs)

Hand size:  20cm (7 7/8")  Both hands

(24 cm from thumb to mid) Each hand has a different specialization in contests.  

I use my right hand for grippers, V-bars, rear levers, bottom-up presses, pronator lifts, wrist curls, wrist extensions, thumbless lifts and reverse bends (oh those golden times of heavy bars reversing before that awful injury).  I use my left hand for pinching (all widths), thick bars, front levers, hubs, stubs and pennies.

Location:  I am from Moscow, Russia.

Relationship status:  Not married, but not suffering from loneliness.  

Children:  No kids.

Occupation:  I work as a project manager on oil fields.  It means I do and am responsible for EVERYTHING that touches my project.  We’ve build a big oil-water separator machinery on oilfield in middle of Russia.  Now I am at the stage of commissioning.


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

I always was a huge fan of Armwrestling.  Once I’ve read that John Brzenk said that forearms of an Armwrestler should be as tough as stone.  I made a lever from a leg of a stool and a shoelace, and began practicing. 

That was maybe 2004-2005?
Then I learned about "Captains of Crush" from Brooks Kubik.  Admit it!  The book is excellent.  Nobody in Russia knew about tough grippers.  All what we had were hockey puck – like rubber grippers.

Of course, it was awesome new toy here.  I decided to cert IronMind's CoC #3 and Red Nail.  I was successful on both counts.


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

I would like to:

1)  Certify on the CoC #3.5

2)  1HP Pinch 50+ kg in a contest…and also a pair of 25 kg plates

3)  Clean the INCH

4)  32kg + 32kg stacked bottom up press, 50kg + 50kg bottom-up press two hands

5)  Kill an Edgin DU in something like BB wraps.

6)  Kill a Full bend on a G5 bolt  6” x ¼” barehanded, and a barehand DU bend on G8 bolt 6”x1/4” to 40 deg


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

Nowadays I am 100% in my job and I thank God if he gives me 1-2 days off in a week.

When I have a free time, I bend, press or pull one’s arm on the table.

So…one workout is strictly in my life.  Standing Press…every Saturday.   After that, I train wrist on the Armwrestling table or practice pulling with somebody.  Then I can make some big efforts in steel bending.

Another workout can alternate in.  Either I am busy with manual labor, or I can buy a kilo of spikes and bend/snap/scroll them.

My job had a period of intense manual labor with wrenches, pliers and sledgehammers.  I was happy to see, that even after a looooooong  time without touching grip tools, I was still able to close level 15 (5-5) on old Vulcan CCS, lift a Fatman Replica and lift the Inch (with some tilt).


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

I have no time for hobbies now…just my job, steel bending, gym, SLEEP.

Occasionally I can go to a local disco and have some fun time.  You know…I appear to be a decent dancer, probably a best one on that local town disco, haha!!


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

Never hurry.  

Put decades in your strength building.  Watch David Horne and Gary Hunt, realize that there are no age limits and that true strength comes with accumulated experience.

Strength is not about how you "rip your ass" (senseless huge efforts) today.  Strength comes with 1000 of tons of lifted or bent metal.  Strength comes with 1000's of opponents pulled.

Each rep, each bar, each kilo, each fight – counts.  Accumulate your experience and don’t  always go "balls to the wall"  if you want to progress till your 60-s.

Let me tell you my story…

Once I became strong, I was a very good reverse bender.  After some isometric tips from Jonathan Umpherville (who in his turn learned this all from Gary Hunt) I gained HUGE reverse power.   I added something like 50 lbs to my reversed bar rating in a very short period of time (maybe 2-3 months?).  I was reversing IM red nails (450 pounders) confidently in IMPs, and bastards also.  I passed a red nail cert no trouble with reverse start.

Then I became greedy.  I took tougher and tougher bars and progressed too fast.  My strength increased faster than my body could bear.  I believed, that Gary Hunt’s bends are touchable, and that I would reach a G5 Edgin reverse.

Soon, I took some new awesome 1.25” leather pads put them on a Sexabastard bar.  I gave it an awesome hit!  The bar began bending and then CRUNCH!!   My thumb web tendon ripped off.  That was end of my “great” reverse bender career.  Young, strong, greedy, cocky.   Good combination of characteristics to cross out forever a big branch of my favorite sport in one second.

But luckily we have DU :) .

(By the way, before it mangled me, I gave the "#@%*^!" a good 17 degree kink!  It was a good hit, believe me.)


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

Adam T. Glass.  Adam…is a legend.



Thanks Ivan.  Adam has agreed and will be profiled soon.



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Great interview! Spent many hours chatting away with Ivan about bending and arm wrestling. Great guy!

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Beastly strong fellow - seems to hang out with a bevy of beautiful women - and a genuinely nice guy.  I'm still bending the scrolling nails he generously sent me a while back.  I really enjoy these profiles - it's fun to know more about the gripsters we interact with - thanks for doing this Nate.

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1 hour ago, climber511 said:

Beastly strong fellow - seems to hang out with a bevy of beautiful women - and a genuinely nice guy.  I'm still bending the scrolling nails he generously sent me a while back.  I really enjoy these profiles - it's fun to know more about the gripsters we interact with - thanks for doing this Nate.

More than welcome Chris.  There are so many amazing guys out there.  It's great to shed some light on them. :) 

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Great write up!  I enjoy watching videos of Ivan bending and snapping.  He is super strong.  I would love to hear what Ivan has to say about isometric training for bending.

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Ivan's bending videos are truly inspiration. He has uploaded some pretty long and intense steel bending battles.

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Great profile - I really appreciate Ivan's story of his reverse bending injury and warning to not advance too fast - even incredibly strong guys like him have to pace themselves - very inspiring.

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