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Under the Spotlight - Grip Profile - IVAN PUPCHENKO


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It is an honor and a pleasure to write the grip profile for 2022 King Kong winner Ivan Pupchenko of Sumy in Ukraine.

Ivan is living under harsh conditions in a country at war, much of his time without electricity let alone internet.  It took a while to get the back and forth done, but we did it, and now you can all hear a bit about Ivan in mostly his own words.  With characteristic modesty – and in perfect English -- he professed that “English is not my native language” and “I apologize in advance if something looks completely funny.”  Nothing funny here – maybe a few slips in the lingo (I fixed just a little but left his voice intact), but no doubt that Ivan is a great grip athlete whose own words can tell us more about his life than mine can.

1.  What are your stats?

Grip Board name: Ivan Pupchenko. Many users of this forum use pseudonyms, but I registered on the GB after the David Horne forum. And there one of the rules was using of the real name. Therefore, I did not come up with anything here. Besides - I am who I am. In this circle of people, I have no reason to hide behind any pseudonyms.

Age: 39 (1983)

Height: 188cm

Weight: 100-102kg

Dominant hand, and hand size: Right with grippers and in vertical grip and left in almost other exercises. 20cm / 7.9 inches

Country/City: Ukraine/Sumy

Relationship Status: free

Children: no (as far as I know)

Occupation:  recent years - coach in the gym

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

My grip training began a long time ago. At school (1998-2000) I was interested in arm wrestling and I tried against classmates. I felt that the strength of the fingers would not be enough for me more than other factors and tried to somehow make them stronger. I didn’t have my own knowledge and I had no advice from anyone, so for several years I quit that training, and concentrated on kettlebell sport... In 2003, I won my first Oblast (region) Arm wrestling Championship among amateurs. Arm wrestling returned to my life and training of fingers with it. Until 2010 I did not know about grip sports as a separate direction and did not train with specific equipment. Although I had 55mm rotating handles - I did pulled ups a lot on them and did static work. For example, with my weight at 93kg, I could pull up with 64kg extra and hang for several seconds with 96kg extra. I also climbed on rope a lot with a reverse grip with an additional weight (over 20kg) in my backpack... At the beginning of 2011, one of the arm wrestlers of my city brought a handmade copy of Rolling Thunder (the difference was that the rotating part was not from a plastic pipe, but from polished stainless steel) to the Sumska Oblast Armwrestling Championship. And after the matches, we held a small tournament in the Last Man Standing format. I won it with a result about 90kg. In addition, this guy brought CoC grippers.... The result with grippers discouraged me - I could not close CoC 2. Yes, I had no idea about the technique, I spent several heavy fights at the table and raised several heavy weights on the RT - but I also felt that I simply could not do the CoC 2 with any technique now. My hands simply did not know how and could not do it... I became interested in grip and it turned out that in Ukraine there were several tournaments on RT and other devices and there are people who show very serious results. One of the organizers of amateur powerlifting tournaments, which I and my friends participated, also planned to hold competitions on RT. I contacted him, went to the neighboring region to the Ukraine Powerlifting Championship - first of all, to lift original RT. This hooked me and further training for the increasing grip strength on specific devices has become a part of my life...

After some time I got into a car accident, and as a result of injuries... for some time only grip was a thing what I could train.  Thanks to this training, I was able to largely restore the conductivity of the nerves and the work of the joints and return to arm wrestling again. My health will never be 100%, but grip training and gripsport competitions give me the opportunity to compete with healthy athletes at any level. I feel like a full-fledged person - not everyone who does not have my restrictions can beat me and this gives me motivation to engage in and not lose faith in myself. If in the arm wrestling I do what I can, feeling the shackles of my health state, then in the gripsport my progress does not stop. Now it’s hard for me to plan something even for tomorrow .. But if it is in my power, I will make all possible efforts so that my participation in tournaments makes them more interesting and tense for those who share my love for this sport and compete on them with me!

3.  What are you most proud of accomplishing in grip already, and what is/are your grip goal/goals?

My result on KK22 and the results in SB-holding in the David Horne's ranking list  - probably these are the peaks that now give me hope that I did something... interesting in this sport. For the sake of the result, I had to postpone training with grippers into the second plan. But I really want return to them and improve the results. I do not post everything in the Internet - several times I managed to surpass my best results in holding bullet, without violating the preparation for the KK exercises. Therefore, I hope that I can choose those methodological techniques that will allow me to move in both directions!

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

My training is changing, at the same time how I get new knowledge and new experience, and how the exercises that I focus on are changing. For the past few years, I have been doing one hard workout for grip per week and one very light. In addition, I do one training a week for arm wrestling, and depending on how I recover - one relatively easy general workout. Training at the table and grip is hard to combine, especially closer to the competition. I work with quite large weights and my recovery resource is not always enough for everything. Therefore, I always move the loads towards the priority, depending on which competitions are closer. And I managed to choose such exercises for arm wrestling, which do not interfere with training of grip, or maybe they help them. I tried to give these combinations to other people - they work more often than not. Therefore, they have a rational and scientific basis, and not just my subjective restoration and training capabilities. In any case, an indicator of the effectiveness of training is the progress of the results. I progress in both directions, albeit slower, but I do not want to give up one of them. Therefore, at this stage, the pace suits me.

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

This is probably reading and music. I try to read 300-400 pages per day. In addition to pleasure from the process, this is a brain training. I read scientific literature in various directions and science fiction - is not the worst way of evading reality in fictional worlds. In any case, it is better than alcohol or drugs... Years ago I participated in organizing underground parties as a DJ. Now I have neither time nor a big desire to live club life due to the marginalization of its many aspects. But on my computer I have some DAW (digital audio workstation) and various virtual DJ’s devices. When inspiration comes to me, I “make sounds” or help with the mastering of tracks to those comrades who are more productive in this direction... And, like a big fan of science fiction, I have one of the largest collection of "Star Wars" characters board game-miniatures in Ukraine . Because of what is now happening in my country, the collection has not been growing, but I do not lose hope for its replenishment!

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

At first I also answered this question... But the answer turned out to be too long, not very funny, and unobviously related to Gripboard and its subject, so in the final version this field remained empty...  (NOTE: Ivan, feel free to update any time by answering this question in a future comment on this thread!)

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

I do not want to call the names, suddenly I will forget someone, and this will somehow hurt people. First of all, it would be interesting for me to read about those who train grip for a long time and still in progress. Does not lose his motivation and sees in this sport not just what accidental does well, but sees in the grip sport a full-fledged sport, requiring the application of knowledge and willpower, patience and will to victory, to achieve high goals!

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