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Ross Hilton - Level 1

Bill Piche

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The GripBoard Proudly Certifies:

Ross Hilton


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.



Name: Ross Hilton
Age: 35
Height: 6ft 2"
Weight: 235lbs
Date of Feat: 9/29/2022
How Long Grip Training: 2 years
Current Grip Training Program:  Rotating grippers, pinch work, and wrist work (1 a day) daily through the end of the year.
Other Training Info:  I primarily train for health now with thick bar deadlifts thrown in for full body strength.  Lots of running and bodyweight calisthenics, thick bar deadlifts of all types (one/two handed, axle/fat grips/rolling handle), and accessory work to get my axle deadlift up.  My weakness on the axle is my back strength, not my grip strength, and I hope to correct that.
Other Info: I'm a proud father of two young children that I hope will enjoy this hobby in the future!
Acknowledgements: Thanks to my dad and brother--I'm looking forward to seeing their names on the Mash Monster ladder in the near future!


Could you tell us a little about your background in lifting?
Thanks to my father, I grew up doing a lot of trap bar deadlifts, overhead dumbbell presses, chinups and running.  I played recreational team sports and was a track and field thrower until college.  I played rugby through college and a year for a men's club while in grad school.  Lifting has always been a hobby of mine, a stress reliever, and was necessary to improve my performance in my athletic endeavors.

How did you get into grip training?
My dad owned all of the COC grippers as long as I remember.  Thanks to all of the deadlifts and chinups, I closed a #2 while in high school and a #2.5 out of the package as soon as they were released.  Like a lot of folks, I got into serious training for Grip Sport and Armlifting when the COVID epidemic started--I had all of the equipment handy and it was something I could do from home.

You are now a GripBoard Mash Monster, what would you recommend to those aspiring to close this gripper?
I think some semblance of full body strength training is a necessity to close this gripper.  Beyond that, I cannot recommend RRBT (Radical Reps Baseline Training) enough.  Anytime I want to quickly add 10-15 lbs (RGC scale) to my crush strength, I perform a couple of cycles of RRBT.  Improvements on grippers and other grip events seem to be mutually exclusive so focus on grippers for a while then drop them completely and do pinch and thick bar.

What does your current grip routine look like?
Through the end of 2022 I will be focusing on grippers for 3-5 days a week.  I thrive on lower intensity higher volume programs.  I'll throw in some Hub lifts and key pinch exercises as well as my weekly thick bar deadlifts, but my primary focus for the next three months is grippers.  I plan to rotate 2-3 weeks of high reps with Zenith grippers, 2-3 weeks of lower volume/higher intensity work with the COC grippers, and 2-3 weeks of RRBT (Radical Reps Baseline Training) training.

At the end of the year I'll transition to a focus on the Rolling Thunder to hit my goal of 200 lbs on that implement, ideally at the Arnold.

How has your grip routine changed since you first started training your grip?
I now focus on one aspect of grip and only do the minimum to maintain other areas.  This year I had a Rolling Thunder focus in January/February, pinch focus from March to August, and grippers from September to December.  The only constant is hitting some thick bar deadlift at least once every two weeks.

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 can do pinch work almost daily.  I do Rolling Thunder 3-4 times a week when focusing on that lift and grippers 3-5 days a week when those are in focus.

What are your favorite grip exercises?
I like grippers, Rolling Thunder, blob/block lifts and plate Hub lifts.

What kind of starting routine would you recommend for a trainee new to grip training?
David Horne's beginner routine is what I used when getting into grip two years ago.

Who do you most admire in gripdom?
Eric Roussin, Adam Glass, Tanner Merkle etc. are super impressive on a lb for lb basis.  Watching Odd Haugen and Carl Myerscough compete at the Arnold was an amazing experience.

If you were to start over again with your grip training, what would you do differently?
I would have (and still need to) improve my wrist strength.

What do you believe is the most difficult grip exercise?
For me it's wrist strength (hammers, plate curls, etc.)

What are some of your personal bests in grip exercises?
This is my best gripper close under cert conditions.  I've lifted a Fatman blob to knee level, lifted a 45 lb deep dish plate + 20 extra lbs hub style, and done ~190 on the Rolling Thunder.

What do you believe is the most common mistake made by new grip trainees?
Trying to improve in all areas at once.

What do you consider to be the greatest grip feats of all time?
I think the Saxon Deadlift is the best all around grip strength exercise.  I saw Carl Myerscough set the world record in this lift at the Arnold this year.

Do you have any parting advice for readers?
Patience and specialization is a necessity to make progress.




Ross Hilton, the 123nd man in the world to close the Mash Monster Gripper - Level 1



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Congrats man 

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