Jump to content

2021 October - International King Kong Grip Challenge - Eric Roussin

Eric Roussin

Recommended Posts

With my near complete wrap up of all things King Kong, I can finally put together my contest write-up.

As the date approached, I was hopeful King Kong would have a strong international turnout. With 25 venues, it was the biggest year to date in terms of total venues. Unfortunately, we aren’t out of the pandemic just yet, and many venues had lower attendance levels because of this. For the past few years I’ve been looking forward to reaching the magic “300”, but it was not to be this year. The contest had 222 open division entries, almost exactly the same amount there was in 2020. This said, it was a record tournament for female competitors, with 50 in all.

In Ottawa, 11 people took part in the fun. I was particularly excited to see the return of Yves Gravelle – he hadn’t competed in a grip sport contest since January 2020. But more than anything, I was excited to see what I could do at my new weight.

Earlier this year, I decided to make a concerted effort to get really lean for the first time in my life. I’ve been relatively lean over the years, but I wanted to see if I could make it to single-digit body fat at least once. Working from home during the pandemic, I have at least an extra 1.5 hours to my day by eliminating my commute, so I figured if I was ever going to try to get ripped, this was the time to do it. Between April and June my diet was quite strict and I did cardio every day, in addition to my regular strength training. I gradually went from about 200 lbs down to 185 lbs. While I didn’t measure my body fat levels, I estimate that I was close to 10%. I actually didn’t find it that hard, and it got me thinking about competing in King Kong in the 83 kg class (183 lbs). 

The contest was still over four months away, so I decided to be a bit less restrictive with my diet over the summer. Once September hit, I realized it was time to start being disciplined again. I was about 192 lbs. I started eating very clean, restricted my calories, and trained religiously: cardio in the morning, strength training at night. I was happy to see that I was able to make strength gains despite losing weight. As the weeks went by the weight started coming off more slowly. And it was important for me to weigh in at 183 lbs, hydrated. For armwrestling tournaments, I’ve often cut about 10 lbs of water weight for weigh ins, but only when weigh-ins were on the day before the contest. For King Kong, where weigh-ins are done no more than two hours before the contest, this type of tactic would have been detrimental to my performance. So I wanted 183 to be my true weight on contest day.

Over the last couple of weeks, I was doing cardio two to three times per day. I was a man on a mission. The day before the contest I weighed 184 lbs, so I just significantly cut down on my carb intake and drank just a bit less than usual. On the morning of King Kong when I woke up, I was 181.5 lbs. And while I didn’t measure, I estimate I was about 9% body fat. It was the lightest I had weighed since I was 18 years old (I’m now 44).

So having made weight, it was time to see what I could do in the contest. First up was the Crusher. I was very confident with this lift, and thought I had a very good chance of beating the existing 83 kg class world record. My target was a lift of 230 lbs. On my third attempt I had a successful lift of 221 lbs. But it was just a bit more difficult than I expected. So for my last attempt I tried 227 instead of 230. I got it off the ground, but it wasn’t to be on this day. I came up a bit short of my objective for this lift, but in terms of my position in the contest, I suspected I was in the lead.

Next up was the Grab Ball. This is my weakest of the four events – I just am unable to find a comfortable way to grip the implement. I had only ever lifted in the low 160s in training, but I was hopeful I might reach 175, simply based on my ability to peak for contests (i.e., allowing by muscles to fully recover for eight days before a major contest). I managed to lift 165 lbs, a PR, but failed at 170. I knew that several competitors in my class would be able to lift more, so I had to make up as much ground as possible in the last two events. Yves dusted everyone in Ottawa in this event, with a lift that was 50 lbs above his body weight!

The third event was the Finnish Ball. In the month leading up to the contest, I made big gains on this lift, almost entirely because I figured out how to get chalk to stick to the ball. I’ve never been good at mastering the use of chalk, and have felt somewhat disadvantaged in multi-venue comps because of this. But after discussing chalking technique with a few people, I was able to get the Finnish to become more “grippy” than slippery. My goal for the contest was 85 lbs, and this is exactly what I was able to lift. Happy times.

The Little Big Horn was last. Training had been going very well, and I expected to lift in the neighbourhood of 220-225 lbs with it. This might not have been the best lift in the class, but I suspected it would be close. But for whatever reason, the LBH just didn’t feel right on the day. It just didn’t feel as “grippy” as it did in training. Consequently I could only muster a lift of 206 lbs. Don’t get me wrong, this is still a respectable weight, but I was hoping for significantly more.

By the end of the contest, I thought it was possible that I had done just enough to secure the class win. Turns out I was wrong. The 83 class just happened to be populated with many very strong individuals this year. I finished in fourth, but the scores of the top four were very close. Each of us won one of the four events. Though a bit disappointed by my placement, overall, I can’t say that I was disappointed with how I performed. I had PRs in three of the four events, plus I broke the weight class record for the 2.25” Crusher. I also finished first overall among Ottawa venue competitors.

That night, I celebrated by ordering Chinese food, and I ate a lot of it. Sunday was Halloween, and I wasn’t not going to eat some of my kids’ candy. Man, it’s ridiculous how easy it is to put on weight compared to how much effort is required to lose it. This morning I was already back up to 190…

The days following King Kong were very busy for me. Sunday was dedicated to checking scoresheets (Andrew did all the initial data combining and cleaning, so he was even busier than me that day). By Sunday evening we were able to post the open division results, only to soon discover a few small errors that required the numbers to be re-run a couple of times. On Monday Andrew produced the youth division results while I entered all the data into the GSI database, calculated the venue standings, and did an analysis of pound-for-pound performances. Tuesday and Wednesday were spent packing and shipping out the awards to all the winners. By Thursday they had all been shipped, with the exception of those going to Ukraine (looking for a more economical option), and Australia (border currently closed to shipments). In posting this write-up I can now relax and enjoy a break for the next couple of months.

Thank you to all the promoters and competitors who make the International King Kong Grip Challenge the amazing event that it is each and every year!

FYI – I know a lot of people look forward to knowing what the King Kong events will be in 2022. Andrew and I have already been contacted with several questions. Please note that we like to take November and December completely off from discussing King Kong and only start making decisions in the new year. What I can announce now is that the main contest date will be October 29th, with individual promoters having the option to host the contest up to two weeks before this date. Stay tuned in 2022 for the rest of the details.

  • Like 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for sharing your weight loss story. Seeing your name pop up in the 83k class, I was curious about how and why you ended up there. What's been your go-to morning cardio?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

33 minutes ago, DAVE101 said:

Thanks for sharing your weight loss story. Seeing your name pop up in the 83k class, I was curious about how and why you ended up there. What's been your go-to morning cardio?

I just jump on my elliptical trainer for about 45 minutes.

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.