Jump to content

Under the Spotlight - Grip Profile - Adriane Wilson


Recommended Posts


Today's grip profile features Adriane (Blewitt) Wilson. 


I have to admit…I was decidedly nervous asking Adriane to participate in a profile.  She is after all, framed in a meme on my gripper cabinet.  Along with a gym picture it reads, "Somewhere…out there, Adriane Wilson is warming up with your max.  Hit the gym."  Although the content is a little dig at men in general, I've taken great motivation from it. 

Here is a person who strives for excellence day in/day out, not for financial gain or accolades…but for the personal satisfaction that comes from improvement.  She is a better, stronger and wiser person than she was the day before.  Strength training is a journey, and few feel this more keenly than Adriane.

I first learned about Adriane in 2011 when she became the first woman to certify on Ironmind's Captain's of Crush (CoC) #2 Gripper with a Credit Card Set. Appropriately, as the world's first certified #3 gripper closer, Richard Sorin was her official referee.  When researching for this profile, I thought it best to start with Pops.

"Adriane?  If there is ever a finer attitude to be found within an athlete…it resides in Adriane.  I have known of her since her shot putting success in the college and then her brave battle with cancer.  She always has a bubbly laugh and a happy smile when tackling anything set before her.

She is a consummate Highland Games champion…blessed with true athletic strength and a great grip.  I was proud to help her a bit in the basics of shutting spring grippers.  In a short time, she succeeded in being the first woman to officially shut a #2 gripper.  This great feat is only surpassed by her focus and friendliness which is always present in this wonderful lady." - Richard "Pops" Sorin


Ohio resident and former perennial North American Grip Sport Champion Andrew Durniat had this to say about Adriane. 

"She is from the Youngstown Ohio area and was a standout shot-putter for Ashland University. Here she successfully battled through a cancer diagnosis and returned to qualify for the USA Olympic trials for shot put and went on to win the Highland Games World Championship three times in a row. A student and enthusiast of all things strength, grip was a natural progression. She was the first women to certify on the CoC #2 under official rules. I'm fortunate to be able to call her a close friend and can't wait to see what she accomplishes next."


Nick Rosendaul (Strongman, Bender, Highland Games competitor) said…

"She is one of the most technically sound throwers I have seen…and one of the nicest people you could meet." 


As I asked people about Adriane, a pattern quickly emerged: respect for her abilities and work ethic, admiration for her courage and determination, and appreciation for her genuine affability.  These three came up time and again. I'm going to have to add in an incredible sense of humor…because Adriane does not shy from a bit of goofiness from time to time.  She trains seriously, competes seriously, but doesn't take herself too seriously.

In fact…Adriane was so well respected, a captivating documentary was filmed detailing her strength career.  I will include the link at the end of the profile.

Let's go direct to the lady of the hour…


adriane wilson profile pic.jpg


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:  1stWCoC

Age:  37yo 

Height:  5'10” (178cm)

Weight:  163 lbs (74kg)

Hand size:  7.5" (19cm) (RH Dominant)

Country/City:  USA/Irmo, South Carolina

Relationship Status:  Married (Joe)

Kids:  2 dogs, 1 cat

Occupation:  I work as a personal trainer at two local gyms and I am contracted for the Army to coach our wounded, ill, and injured soldiers for the Warrior Games. I teach them how to throw the shot put and discus in adapted sport.


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

Grip specific training made it into my workouts in college when my coach, 4X US Olympian Jud Logan, added axle presses and deadlifts.  He encouraged us to NOT use straps.  There were also a few CoC grippers and a Rolling Thunder hanging around.  I even gave the INCH Dumbbell a good scare…but didn’t quite make it off the ground without help.  The grip training was included to help our hand, wrist, and forearm health in a sport that puts a lot of stress on the hand, wrist, and elbow. I am sure the grip work supported my overall strength in the last 20 years.

When Dr. Strossen announced the CoC #2 certification, I was still training full time for the shot put.  I knew I had a good chance of being the first woman to certify so gripper training had to start right away.  I incorporated crushing, pinching, and supporting grip work in the best training environment ever… Pops Sorin’s gym. I was lucky enough to train at the Sorinex showroom with THE number one guy. I had all the grippers, blobs, plates, pinch blocks, horns, hubs, Pop’s machine, fat bars, you name it!  I took full advantage of the gripper’s playground.  Richard was so incredibly helpful.  He and my husband Joe helped me fine tune my hand placement and taught me how to get set up for a credit card set.  In a few short weeks I could close the #2 for reps.

I’ll get the occasional email from Dr. Strossen with a new challenge and I am always happy to give it a go. Rolling Thunder pull ups is currently on the training block.


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

Competing in a grip competition and earning a world record is definitely a lifelong goal.  Grip sport competitions seemed to be popular weekends with highland games and track and field.  I NEED to put a competition on the calendar.


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

Training for me right now is a bit different than the usual workouts.  

Eight weeks ago. I had my right hip repaired (labrum, bone resurfacing, sucked out the floaties, tightened up the joint), so I have significantly dropped body weight and strength with the physical restrictions. Big milestone this past week though—goblet squats to a bench and rack deadlifts have now been added in to my rehab.  My entire career I have been on the go…so taking time off for major surgery and being patient for 8-10 MONTHS is testing my sanity.  I feel I have been very compliant with the restrictions and that would explain why I am doing so well in my recovery right now.  This time has been the perfect time to focus on my grip so hopefully the extra work will pay off when I can move heavier weight.

Typically, I favor the axle bar for overhead pressing and occasionally tricep extensions.  I don’t use straps for my Olympic lifts or deadlifts.  I have a CoC #1, 1.5, 2, and 2.5 in my training bag with a silver bullet.  I wish I could say I crush grippers often in my training but I tend to grab them once in a blue moon to make fun of the guys who can’t close the CoC #1. :D 


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

Throwing the shot put was my love/career for a long time…so when ‘elite’ status dropped to ‘meh, okay’ status I needed to find a sport I could still train and be competitive.  The Scottish Highland Games has taken me all over the world with some of the most amazing people.  I love being able to train like a maniac, travel to faraway lands, throw my heart out, then goof off with my fellow competitors when it’s all done.  I have been to Scotland, Iceland, the Yukon, and all over the United States.  I travel more with the Highland Games than I ever did with track and field.  I’m having a lot more fun with it too!

I have a true passion for adapted sport.  At work in the gym as a personal trainer I train people with disabilities, injuries, and people who let life get in the way.  All training can be adaptive.  There is the perfect workout for everyone.  My personal experience with our wounded soldiers in the Warrior Games inspires me daily.  Coaching these athletes can be a challenge but it isn’t even close to what they had to endure to survive.  I’m just showing them how to chuck a steel ball in the air and find their purpose in the effort.  I am very grateful to spend time with all the athletes and it is a joy to see them succeed.


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

A fun fact about me is that I had cancer when I was 23.

I diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in the fall of 2003… right before the 2004 Olympic year.  Life as I knew it—a top three female shot putter in the US—was no more.  I went through 6 months of chemo, made it to the US Olympic Trials, and finished an amazing 5th place overall.  I had a lot of help getting there though.  My college coach, Jud Logan, set me up with his former coach, Charles Poliquin who is world renowned for his training. Charles took me under his wing and wrote my programming, helped with supplementation, and basically fueled my drive to continue training during chemotherapy.  I would fly from Ohio to Arizona to see him once a month and train at his facility.  His clientele included top NHL, NFL, MLB, and other high level athletes so my training sessions got me a little star struck.  

I generally stayed pretty quiet and did as I was told until one day Charles was talking about the importance of grip and dyno measurements.  I chimed in mentioning Jud had focused on our grip strength in our programming.  Obviously, I was pretty confident I knew more about grip than Charles Poliquin.  There was an intern and another client of Charles’ in the gym that day so in a split second the grip challenge was on.  Charles called out the hub lift using the end of an EZ curl bar.  We had to stand on top of a bench, pinch the end of the vertical bar from the floor to shoulder height and hold for time.  I CRUSHED THE BOYS!  All I remember was Charles’ reaction in his French Canadian accent, “Jesus, F**k!”  

It was proud moment for me.


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

I have someone in mind, but I'll have to get back to you on that. :) 


Thanks Adriane.  Looking forward to it!

To those reading...when you find 50 minutes on your hands…click here to watch Adriane's Documentary.

Make sure you have the time though…because it's very engaging.  Children might find themselves stuck without rides, meetings may be missed, and pots may boil over unattended…


  • Like 15
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great write-up Nate! @1stWCoC definitely has an interesting story. Now I have something to watch at lunch tomorrow 😊

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, acromegaman said:

Great write-up Nate! @1stWCoC definitely has an interesting story. Now I have something to watch at lunch tomorrow 😊

Thanks man.

2 hours ago, Wannagrip said:

Awesome job Nate!

Appreciated Bill.  It was a pleasure just learning more about this tremendous athlete and person.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

great write-up

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you to @anwnate for allowing me to share a little bit of my story. I hope you all enjoy the documentary!

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, 1stWCoC said:

Thank you to @anwnate for allowing me to share a little bit of my story. I hope you all enjoy the documentary!

Thank YOU!  You rock! :rock


Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, 1stWCoC said:

Thank you to @anwnate for allowing me to share a little bit of my story. I hope you all enjoy the documentary!

I know I did. Very inspirational and amazing story you have there 💪👩

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nice read. The COC#2 certification video was one of the first grip videos I saw on YT when I first got in to grip. Probably before I was able to close the #2 myself. Great stuff!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great story @1stWCoC...was hoping to run into you at the Arnold this years but wasn't sure if you were there!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Unfortunately, your content contains terms that we do not allow. Please edit your content to remove the highlighted words below.
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy policies.