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Under the Spotlight - Grip Profile - SARAH CHAPPELOW


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It is my honor and pleasure to write the grip profile for one of the first women to be profiled here, and the 2022 winner of Queen Kong, Sarah Chappelow!

Sarah is no novice to competition or even to King Kong, having won the women’s class in almost every one of the dozen or so grip sports, arm lifting, and strong (wo)man competitions she has been in since starting in the sport in 2018, including the 2019 Queen Kong title.

Sarah routinely beats strong men, so none of this “for a girl” crap.  She’s just strong.  For a human.  Here are her answers to the grip profile questionnaire:

1. What are your stats?

Grip Board name: SarahChappelow (You can see my lifting videos on Instagram @the_crushah)

Age: 43

Height: 6’3”

Weight: 290 lbs / 132kg

Dominant hand, and hand size: I mostly use my right hand for one-handed lifts, but every now and then my left hand surprises me. Hands are 8” / 20.3 cm.

Country/City: Glenrock, WY USA

Relationship Status: Married

Children: None

Occupation: I am a proposal writer for a company that contracts with state and tribal governments.

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

I competed in Strongman at a local level (when I lived in New Hampshire) from 2016 to 2019, and it was through the Strongman events that I learned I excelled at the lifts involving a strong grip. A couple contests featured Hercules Hold, and I was able to hold on the longest among both women and men. One contest included a frame carry, but had thick PVC pipes as the handles and I was one of the only athletes that was able to pick it up.  It was around then that I did some searching and found that there were contests that were just grip events. At the time there were not any grip contests happening in the New England area, but I flew down to Maryland and participated in Maryland’s Strongest Hands in April 2019. I won the women’s division and set a couple of Armlifting USA records there at my first contest and haven’t looked back since then.

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

I’ve been fortunate to take part in some high-level contests over the past few years, all of which include things I’ve been proud of. But being crowned as Queen Kong in 2022 for the second time was my proudest grip accomplishment to date because it reflects the hard work I put into preparing for it and working to correct my weaknesses. King Kong is also a well-rounded contest in the variety of events it offers, and to win you have to be good at everything. For future goals, I am working hard to break 300 lbs on the double overhand axle deadlift. I would also love to lift the Inch Dumbbell.

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

I am the Assistant Coach of the Glenrock Barbell Club in our town, which is a USA Powerlifting affiliate. I lift with the Club’s powerlifting competition team Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. I participate in the lower body workouts as prescribed, and adapt the upper body workouts to be more grip intensive. The grip lifts I practice depend on what I have coming up in competitions, but generally include thickbar, pinch grip training, and building wrist strength.

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

When I moved to Wyoming last year I joined the town library’s book club in an effort to read a better variety of books – I’m doing good if I can finish one book per month. I enjoy exploring around my new home state and seeing the sites. I also compete in Highland Games/ Scottish Heavy Athletics for fun and camaraderie and enjoy doing activities with my husband and three dogs. I also plan to make my powerlifting debut alongside my team next spring.

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

I have experienced first-hand that building strength increases quality of life, and really my longest term goal is to be strong for the rest of my life. I love that grip is something people of all ages and abilities can participate in. Some of my favorite lifters to follow are Betsy and Marianne, two women in their 80’s who train with Dali Zheng, and Joy Brown, who is in her mid-70’s and competes in Canada.

7. Whose Grip profile would you like to see next?

Tammy Stowe McClure is an experienced rock climber and American Ninja Warrior competitor who is new to competing in grip competitions and dominated the 72kg women’s division at this year’s King Kong. I’d love to know more about her!

Edited by Vinnie
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