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Vincent Rivellese - Level 1

Bill Piche

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The GripBoard Proudly Certifies:

Vincent Rivellese


GripBoard Mash Monster Level 1

This certification is granted by The GripBoard as an independent third party with no ethical or commercial conflict of interest.

The Mash Monster Gripper is one of a limited number supplied and controlled by The GripBoard.

The gripper is closed with one hand under strict and uniformly ethical and authenticated conditions.

This momentous feat was demonstrated on video to assure it will be valid for posterity.



Official Mash Monster Video


Name: Vincent Rivellese
Age: 50
Height: 5' 6"
Weight: 178
Date of Feat: November 4, 2019

Witness: Anthony Clarino, Anton Torella
How Long Grip Training: 2 years
Current Grip Training Program:  None

Other Training Info: I work out with friends or go to comps alternate Saturdays (when I don’t have my son), and I do grippers a couple of times a week in my office.
Acknowledgements:  Anthony Clarino shot the video for me, Anton Torella provided the venue, and Chez Ricchezza offered expert advice.  Also, the whole grip community is just great, full of encouragement and support and camaraderie.  Thanks to all!


Silver Bullet.jpg


Vincent Rivellese, the114th man in the world to close the Mash Monster Gripper - Level 1


Could you tell us a little about your background in lifting?

I don’t really have a background in lifting.  I should start making one soon, before I get too old.  I can’t even bench press 200 pounds.


-How did you get into grip training?

About 3 years ago I bought a COC 1, 1.5, and 2, and closed all three right away (well, the 2 took maybe a week to figure out just how to hold it).  I looked online and saw that this was a relatively strong result for a newbie, and thought maybe there was something to work with here – I was never the slightest bit athletic and I had never thought of myself as unusually strong, but I felt like grip just fit me.  So I found the Grip Board (thanks, Google), and I posted my intro.  Someone reported that there were guys in NYC who worked out together on Saturdays, and before I could even track them down, Anton messaged inviting me to join them.  I did, the next weekend, and met Anton, Anthony, Chez, and Jose.  They welcomed me as if I had always been part of their group, and since then they have taught me pretty much everything I currently know about grip, which is still much less than them but much more than I used to.


-You are now a GripBoard Mash Monster, what would you recommend to those aspiring to close this gripper?

I found that this particular gripper was easier to set than other similarly hard grippers.  Thus, for someone who is already MM0 and wants to close this gripper, I think working hard on the crush will get you there fastest.  This should be easier to set than your MM0 was, so work on your MM0 gripper or similar and aim for reps.  Depending how easy or hard your MM0 gripper was, if you can set that and then rep that a few times, you will probably be able to close the MM1 once.


-What does your current grip routine look like?

I don’t have a real routine, but I tend to work grip every other weekend either by working out with my friends or by going to a comp.  Those workouts tend to be focused on whatever implements are going to be contested in some upcoming comp.  On my own, in my office, I usually do grippers about twice a week, sometimes three times.  For those workouts, I usually do 20 or so microreps on a COC Trainer, 10 or 20 micro reps on a COC 1.5, 5 or 10 microreps on a COC 2, 4 or 5 microreps on a COC 2.5 rated 127 or 132, one or two singles on a RB280N rated 138, and one or two singles on a RB300N rated 147.  Based on whether I slam the 147 (I just get a good gauge of how strong I am for that day when I close this gripper), I will either try a max attempt on something or else just drop back to the 2.5 for some working sets.  In between sets I do push-ups and/or jumping jacks.  I recently have closed all my goal grippers -- COCs rated 150 and 153 and a RB330N rated 155 – so I borrowed a COC rated 160 that I have not yet closed but feel not too many workouts away from closing, and I have a 3.5 rated 171 that I am nowhere near actually closing and was using just for silver bullet practice, but maybe I will try some attempts on that with deep cheating sets.  My working sets after that ramp up are usually with a 2.5, but I am starting to reliably rep both my 2.5s for more than the 4-6 reps I think I’d like to work at, so I think I am going to have to find a working gripper in that sweet 140 range that no one ever wants to sell … or use my filed 2.5.  I’ll do IM expand-your-hand bands later that day and also just any old day, at my desk or in my car.  I try to make those just a habit, not part of a specific workout.


-How has your grip routine changed since you first started training your grip?

Before I met the guys, I overtrained grippers – at least every other day – and never did extensor work.  I focused always on max attempts and hardly thought about working sets.  I had no idea how important a set was.  Now I focus more on mechanics, working sets, timing of workouts, and how I feel that day, rather than always chasing a max for that day.  Which I still have an urge to do – but I understand that I shouldn’t always do it.


-There seems to be a significant variation in the frequency of grip workouts among trainees. Have you experimented with workout frequency and it’s affect on your training?

I trained more than every other day at the beginning and made significant early improvements but then plateaued, and also hurt myself.  I then came back a little more carefully working grippers maybe once a week, and learning all the other implements and the whole grip community thang, and got my MM0 – but I plateaued again.  More recently, I moved to training grippers two or sometimes three times a week, with more focus on working sets as the meat of the workout, and have gotten some gains again (this last two months are where I progressed from hit-or-miss flirting with grippers in the 150 RGC range to reliably closing 153-155, and getting the MM1).


-What are your favorite grip exercises?

Grippers and all kinds of pinch implements.  I am not a big fan of thick bar and v-bar, although I still prefer those events to powerlifting and general weight training.  I am not really an overall athlete, more a grip hobbyist and fan.


-What kind of starting routine would you recommend for a trainee new to grip training?

I am not experienced enough to give such advice, other than to say that a new grip enthusiast would be wise to introduce him or herself on the Grip Board or other forums, to meet more experienced enthusiasts and athletes, and to learn from them.


-Who do you most admire in gripdom?

Although everyone admires the big strong dudes with the world records, and so do I, I am most impressed by those folks who do the most proportionally with their physical assets:  people like Juliet Lancaster Avila, who weighs 145 and can outgrip most men and holds several women’s world records; Tanner Merkle who is an average-sized man but still won King Kong as against everyone of every size; and Yves Gravelle, who may be the best grip athlete ever, pound for pound.  And similar kudos to guys like Chris Rice and Mike Rinderle, who approach world class even while in the Masters category.


-If you were to start over again with your grip training, what would you do differently?

I’d start at 20-something years old instead of at 48!


-What do you believe is the most difficult grip exercise?

For me, the wrist wrench feels especially awkward and is harder for me than it seems like it should be.  I also find the lifts that involve the heaviest weights very difficult, like DOH axle and some of the two-handed thick bar pulls, because I am not as strong overall as I am with just grip.  For example, I can DOH axle only about the same weight that I can deadlift mixed grip with a standard barbell -- because my limiting factor is what my legs and core can budge off the ground.


-What are some of your personal bests in grip exercises?

My best yet gripper close has been a RB Spectrum 330N rated 155, and my best silver bullet hold has been 12 seconds on a 3.5 (I have done this three times in competitions actually, on two different 3.5s); my best DOH axle is 305 pounds, Rolling Thunder 167 pounds, Flask 82 pounds, 2.5 inch Saxon Bar 205 pounds, Euro 193 pounds, Jug 173 pounds. 


-What do you believe is the most common mistake made by new grip trainees?

I don’t know enough to opine on that, but in my case it was overeagerness, impatience, and overtraining. 


-What do you consider to be the greatest grip feats of all time?

Maybe Yves Gravelle lifting the Inch, or Tanner Merkle Silver Bulleting a COC 4 for an hour (lol), or Juliet Avila hubbing two 45-pound plates at the same time, one in each hand.  I’m not a grip historian, so I don’t know what everyone has done before, but those three things happened while I was involved in grip (Juliet’s in my presence), and they simply astounded me.


-Do you have any parting advice for readers?

Yes.  Find the online forums, the organizations, and the comps.  Meet the participants, at least online, and even better, in person.  This is a small, organic sport with good, interesting people sharing a common interest that is a healthy pastime if not passion, mentally and physically.  I am grateful that I found this sport, where I have made some good friends, made myself happier and healthier, and closed the MM1!


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Hey Bill - @Wannagrip - I'm not sure if I forgot to replace the age on the form when I pasted the bio questions, but I am 50.  May as well add that in if this is editable, because I might be the second oldest to cert this gripper (I think Michael @Kluv#0 was a few months older when he did).  It was my personal goal to cert this gripper at age 50.  And also the IM cert, but that one I think I have to revise to, um, 51 or so lol ...

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29 minutes ago, Vinnie said:

Hey Bill - @Wannagrip - I'm not sure if I forgot to replace the age on the form when I pasted the bio questions, but I am 50.  May as well add that in if this is editable, because I might be the second oldest to cert this gripper (I think Michael @Kluv#0 was a few months older when he did).  It was my personal goal to cert this gripper at age 50.  And also the IM cert, but that one I think I have to revise to, um, 51 or so lol ...


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2 minutes ago, Wannagrip said:


Thank you!

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