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Derek Palmeri - Level 1

Bill Piche

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The GripBoard Proudly Certifies:

Derek Palmeri


GripBoard Mash Monster Level 1 (both hands)

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: Derek Palmeri
Age: 33
Height: 5ft 8"
Weight: 186lbs
Date of Feat: 2/2/2023
How Long Grip Training: 1.5 years since the summer of 2021
Current Grip Training Program:  For grippers, I recently started doing the Cadence Based Training program within the past 6 months and am just about done doing it for the 2nd time (I have not been non-stop training grippers year round). I was able to get up to 152 RGC CoC 3 GHP block set without any programming, but the first time I did an actual grip program I got up to 173 RGC Grip Genie 6 & 167 RGC CoC 3.5 with GHP block sets.
Other Training Info:  My other current grip certifications are GHP7 with 4 reps, & Ironmind Crushed to Dust.
Other Info: My Gripboard/Youtube/IG username is C8Myotome. For those that don't know what my username means, a myotome is group of muscles that share the same ventral (motor) root of a spinal nerve, and C8 is the spinal nerve (between C7 & T1 vertebrae) that is most majorly responsible for gripping muscles. If you've ever had a neurological screen done to you, when ask you to squeeze something, this is the myotome they are testing.
Acknowledgements: The flying spaghetti monster


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

I started trying to figure out how to lift at age 24 as I wanted to gain weight. I ended up getting pulled out of my comfort zone by having somebody drag me to a gym for the first time. I started off with 6 months of personal training to get the basics down. I completed a CPT (certified personal trainer) program as a backup career option at the time but never used it for anything & it has since expired. I originally did bodybuilding style but got bored quickly then did powerlifting, and did one competition in 2016 to see what it was like. My best all time powerlifts in training are a 465 lb squat, 350 lb bench press, & 530 lb deadlift. At the moment I mostly just maintain a decent strength level on powerlifts & focus on grip training, as I don't get to train as frequently as I would like to. So I have been lifting about 9 years now, & I have taken up to 6 months off before from just being busy.

How did you get into grip training?

Well, I tried to years ago with one of those plastic grippers from Amazon that I ended up snapping the handle of and then didn't think about it for years, as I didn't know that better equipment existed. I later accidentally got into grip training at age 31; I was having elbow pain during/after bench pressing and thought it might have something to do with grip muscles as they attach near the elbow. I ended up figuring out that it was just a tight bicep, but by that time I had ordered a 5 piece Captains of Crush set from Rogue (Trainer, 1, 1.5, 2, 2.5) to use for grip training, & closed them all the first day I got them (TNS style because I had no idea what I was doing). I posted a video to a group online and someone told me the 2.5 was actually considered quite heavy, which I didn't know anything about, and told me about the number 3, etc. I ended up getting a 3 shortly after and was almost TNS'ing it within a couple of months then asked in another group what I should do differently, someone told me to try to set it so I did an awkward wide pinch and closed the 3 with a credit card my first time trying. So by this time, I figured this was something I could be good at.

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

Well, those monsters aren't going to mash themselves. I would recommend defining what your goals are and then having every decision you make throughout every day go towards supporting that. This would involve the things that you eat, how much you eat, when you eat, your hydration, your sleep duration, and quality, your stress levels, your personal time and space, etc. I also find it important to record videos and watch at least your top sets to see it from another perspective and learn from it. I find that training by myself also gives me the opportunity to try new things or techniques and tweak things on my own without worrying about being watched, which has allowed me to improve. Grippers require an extremely high amount of neuromuscular output, which makes me view them as a brain exercise more than an arm or hand exercise because, without the brain, there is no arm or hand movement at all.

What does your current grip routine look like?

Currently, I train grippers a little less than twice a week, about every 3-5 days depending on what I have going on.

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

I also used to use way too many implements on the same day, and try to max on all of them. I briefly got ECU tenosynovitis from this and had to take some time off. I have had better results with using fewer implements in the same session, and viewing movements done later as accessory movements that I can still do maybe not as heavy as if they came first in the session, which is fine. I place first what I prioritize most. I also never train grip alone, I always superset it with powerlifts.

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 used to train it more frequently, as in every other day. If I am doing deadlifts and crush grip at the same time, I typically deadlift with straps so that I can save my actual gripping for the specific type of grip that I am working on that day. If I have already gotten my crush work done, then I don't mind doing regular grip for other exercises.

What are your favorite grip exercises?

I like dynamic crushing movements. I like grippers the most, I like my Ironmind Go-Really crush machine, and I like my Ironmind Titan's Telegraph Key pinch machine quite a lot. I still do some regular static-type grip work here and there, but I don't find it nearly as exciting as crushing movements.

Who do you most admire in gripdom?

I don't really spend much time watching other people do grip stuff, there is just only so much time in one day, but some people that I am always amazed and inspired by are Carl Myerscough, David Shamey, & Nathan Holle.

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

I would tried to find out sooner who was credible to get grip advice from and to get on quality program way sooner than later, as this could have saved me a lot time that I had spend starting to plateau on grippers and never really knowing what volume to do or how often to train. For a while I would just get frustrated at gripper maxes not going well, and just go nuts on my grip machine which didn't really require any technique to use. I tend to be stubborn and prefer to figure out things on my own which is not always good, but having a solid program to use based on years of knowledge and experience is now something I always recommend to everyone else to do too.

What do you believe is the most difficult grip exercise?

For me personally, I would say friction-type lifts such as pinch blocks or Saxon bar. My hands are 7.25" long so while I can still lift them, I'm not nearly as good at them as I am with grippers, although they are also something I have never really spent a long-term amount of time training and being dedicated with.

What are some of your personal bests in grip exercises?

My best gripper closes in training are a 173 Grip Genie 6 with GHP block although these have 18 mm handles so I don't consider it equivalent to 19 mm handle gripper closes. My best 19 mm handle closes are a CoC 3.5 rated 167 with a GHP block. I also recently did a 20 mm block hold with a 213-rated CoC 4, and just being able to set it much less close it that deep were both PR's for me.

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

Because grippers are pocket-sized, they should be used like fidget spinners. I see this all the time, of office workers asking about which gripper they should get to use in their cubicle all day, or asking why their hand hurts after doing hundreds to thousands of reps for several hours every day for weeks in a row. I try to explain that you wouldn't treat a bench press or deadlift like this, but it seems that people viewing grippers as a fidget spinner often don't have a background in actual lifting either. I try to get people to view grippers with the same respect that you would for putting other pieces of gym equipment into your routine, as they aren't any different. It is a very common mistake for beginners to do way too many reps, train every day, use poor setting technique, and not stretch their forearm muscles. I would also consider it a bit of a beginner mistake to just only do click-and-touch reps. Because grippers increase resistance as they are closed, if you just do reps you spend a very small amount of time actually using the heaviest part. I have gotten significantly stronger from holding reps longer, or as long as possible.

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

Well I haven't seen them all so this is a bit of a difficult question.

Do you have any parting advice for readers?

If you're trying to get better at grippers, train hard when you do use them, but take your recovery seriously. Maintain your flexibility through stretching, eat well (read the book Bodybuilding Nutrition by Franco Columbo), and don't just do grip training, do full body compound movements also (squat, bench, deadlift, row, overhead press). I would also recommend not just doing reps but working on timed holds, to increase the amount of control you have over a gripper after it has been closed. Also, do dynamic thumb work on the TTK because this is the motion that you use when setting grippers.




Derek Palmeri, the 124th man and 14th man to close off-hand in the world the Mash Monster Gripper - Level 1



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